Why Did You Become a Physician?
Sometimes you know exactly what you want to do or what to be. Ultimately, I decided to become a physician because I thought the best way to help people was in the medical field. I grew up in a medical family, my father was a pharmacist who owned his own drugstore and my mother’s father was a doctor in Connersville. I worked in my father’s drugstore, as a boy, delivering medicine and supplies to a hospital and talked with many doctors in the pharmacy. Dad was called “Doc Collins,” and I was “Little Doc.”
My thought my senior year in high school was I wanted to be an architect or engineer but shifted to wanting to pursue a medical career after seeing the dedication of my father.
Tell Us About Your Educational and Professional Background.
My first year at the University of Kentucky was in architecture which I enjoyed but was not sure that I wanted to spend a lifetime designing buildings. I did enjoy the artist part of the field of study. I decided to go into the sciences and take courses that were prerequisites for medical school and at the same time take art classes. I earned a degree in chemistry and biology and was admitted to the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
I became interested in Ophthalmology and was able to spend time with an Ophthalmologist in Hopkinsville. I wanted to specialize and received an offer to residency UK College of Medicine Ophthalmology Department.
After residency I accepted a position as instructor of Ophthalmology at Vanderbilt University while doing a fellowship in Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery. After one year at Vanderbilt I returned to UK Department of Ophthalmology as Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology.
After 2 years at UK I was approached by the Lexington Clinic Ophthalmology, and I decided to join the group in 1984 practicing 50% comprehensive Ophthalmology and 50% Ophthalmic plastic surgery (which I had fellowship training at Vanderbilt). While at the Lexington Clinic I served on multiple committees including the Lexington Clinic Board. I was part of a Center of Excellence for Ophthalmology sponsored by Humana Hospital (now St Joseph East).
What Are Your Interests Outside of Medicine?
One of my main interest outside of medicine was how politics affected the medical field. I also became active in organized medicine by getting involved in the local medical society.
I was also involved in KMA serving as delegate to KMA and service on the Kentucky Physician’s PAC board, serving a term as chairman. My comment is that doctors as a group are splintered in politics as only 5-8% of KMA members donate. Also, too few doctors are members of LMS/KMA.
My main interest outside medicine is family. My wife Peggy and I have been together since college. We have 3 children, all married, and 6 grandchildren. We enjoy traveling and have been to many foreign countries over the years.
My hobbies include hunting, fishing, and skiing. Presently, golf is a primary diversion along with collecting toy soldiers.
I have been active in community including UK Alumni Board both for UK College of Medicine and UK Board. I have been on the UK Art Museum Advisory Board (serving as chair), the Art Museum Collectors Board. I have interest in medical history and serve on the McDowell House Board of Directors (presently Vice Chair).
Why Did You Join the Lexington Medical Society?
Growing up I watched my father become engaged in local organizations and his knowledge of the community. I believe the best way to know what is going on is to be informed. The medical field is my business, so it made sense to be involved and have a voice. Many of my generation are “joiners” and I have found joining LMS has enabled me to meet and work with many talented people and expanded my life. I recommend every doctor join our society. I recognize many of us have specialty organizations which may seem more important, but we all have similar goals to keep our patients healthy and active. We need a core unit so we can all be represented locally.
Lastly, I remember how the LMS Foundation had some seed money to help start the Blood Center and Dr Franklin Moosnick started a lay person CPR training program. The LMS and its Foundation are perfect ways for doctors to join for the better good of our citizens.