What inspired you to become a healthcare provider?
Growing up in a rural Kansas community, I frequently heard my elders lament the ardent scarcity of family doctors in the area. When challenged by friends and family during an increased paucity of medical care, a discussion was initiated by my mother. "You should be a doctor" was her sole comment. My mother's foresight was never questioned. I thank her for her encouragement, support, and pride.
Why did you focus on pain management?
In the early 1970s as a public health postdoctoral fellow at ucla, I assisted in developing their methadone clinic for heroin addicts. We became aware of a need for clinics throughout Los Angeles County. While administering care in the clinic, I realized that some nonaddict, severe pain patients attended the clinic. These patients didn't belong there, so I designed a special intractable pain and palliative care program in West Covina, California. This program's progress has been an opportunity to educate patients, doctors, pharmacies, and insurance companies.
Who were your mentors?
As one goes through a long career, many mentors from different fields are special gifts. I have been grateful for so many. I list a few here.
Business: Hugh Moore, President,
Mark Four Companies
Medicine: Frank Frazier, MD,
US Public Health Service, Lexington, Kentucky
Achievement: Zig Ziglar,
Motivational Speake and Author
Public Relations: George Strachan,
Executive Director, Chamber of Commerce,
West Covina, California
Real Estate: Forest S. Tennant, Sr., President,
Jayhawk Realty, Co.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention my mentoring and caring wife of 51 years who taught me the joys of a balanced life, love, and simple fun.
If you weren’t a healthcare provider, what would you be?
Actually, I have a parallel, second career as a real estate investor. While I was serving as a US Army Medical Officer overseas during the Vietnam War, I started sending money home to invest in Kansas real estate. My original intent was to prepare for retirement or a time I couldn't practice medicine. I've been blessed to have two avocations that I dearly love.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I have an innate need to be constantly physically and mentally active. I must always be pursuing goals and education.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
In looking back over a long medical career of over 50 years, my basic achievement has simply been to develop better diagnostic and treatment tools for the setting I was in--be it military, sports, public health, addiction, primary care, or pain. I suspect the medical achievement, for which I'll be most remembered, will be the initiation of hormonal and neuroinflammatory treatments for severe, chronic pain problems.
What is your favorite language?
English is my sole language. However, I intensely studied Latin while in college. A continuous abundance of writing projects both professional and for enjoyment creates an impetus to expand understanding and usage of both languages.
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 Bible
Film: The Thomas Crown Affair (Pierce Brosnan)
Song: Soft Summer Breeze by Eddie Hayward
What would you like your legacy to be?
In pain practice I would like to leave a legacy as one who sought to treat the underlying causes of severe, chronic and intractable pain rather than just throw symptomatic drugs at it. I especially hope to leave behind a solid understanding and treatment approach to adhesive arachnoiditis, which is often a horrible disease. In my local community of West Covina, California, I want to leave a legacy through the Tennant Foundation that supports philanthropic activities and some very special antique collections and museums. I want my legacy to be simple:
"Service Above Self.
What is your motto?
In business, don't set big goals, but do a little something each day to improve your enterprise.
As an old-time and older physician, don't retire but give back part-time in a caring endeavor where you can pass on not only your medical experience but spirituality and life skills.