What inspired you to become a healthcare provider?
As a young boy I dreamed of becoming a dentist. I actually studied dentistry for 2 years in Germany but soon realized that I did not have the technical skill set necessary to be a dentist. I took a year volunteering as a nurse's aide in a local university hospital and felt a growing compassion caring for people and studied medicine instead.
Why did you focus on addiction medicine?
I am actually an addiction specialist and was motivated to understand the disease of addiction, which was so prevalent in my family and caused the early death of my sister.
Who were your mentors?
In 1983 I volunteered in a hospital in Israel and met an American surgeon who gave up a successful, well paid career in the US, emigrated to Israel, and dedicated himself to practicing medicine in a small community hospital. An addiction specialist in Miami who cares for his patients with neverending patience and compassion and who became my friend and mentor also inspires me.
If you weren’t a healthcare provider, what would you be?
I actually thought about becoming a full-time writer and still have not given up the idea.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Perseverance and a healthy dose of stubbornness.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
To stand up against my father, a highly decorated German WWII tank commander and Nazi officer involved in the killing of civilians. I rebelled, converted to Judaism, and emigrated to Israel.
What is your favorite language?
If you had to choose one book, one film, and one piece of music to take into space for an undetermined amount of time, what would they be?
Book: The Book of Abraham by Marek Halter.
Film: Blade Runner
Music: Tangerine Dream album Optical Race.
What would you like your legacy to be?
That an individual can make a difference.
What is your motto?
Against all odds change is possible.