Faculty Spotlight: Sharon Rubin, MD

RubinHow long have you been at Duke? How long have you been at the Division?
I’ve been at both Duke and at the Division since 2008. I started at Durham Primary Care at the Pickett. as an attending and at the Duke outpatient clinic precepting three sessions with residents.

What does your work at the Division entail?
I am the Ambulatory Residency Site director for the program at Pickett road clinic, where I’m currently teaching first and fourth-year students. I’m also part of the Ambulatory Care Leadership Track. This started in 2012. This track in Duke’s Internal Medicine residency program’s efforts to build leadership in the ambulatory care setting. This helps teach residents skills needed to be leaders in an ambulatory career. This is a two-year track. Residents apply their intern year.

What do you enjoy most about teaching medical students?
The rewards of teaching medical students are very year-dependent. The first years are a refreshing reminder of why I wanted to join medicine. Everything is new to them–they’re humbled and honored just to be in the clinic, and they’re very eager to learn.

Teaching fourth year students is also rewarding. By that point they’re at the intern/resident level, where you can start to see how much they’ve learned and see them starting to become more independent. Of course I hope all my students stay in general medicine, but even students in other specialities, whether it’s ophthalmology or psychiatry, bring their own energy and expertise.

You practice what you preach when it comes to preventive medicine. Any tips for how busy faculty members and residents can integrate healthy habits into their hectic routines?
I teach my residents exactly what I counsel my patients. You have to make an appointment to exercise or carve out time to exercise. You can start with Saturday or Sunday and plan out from there. No matter how busy you are, there’s no excuse for not finding a some time to exercise (a walk around the block, walk to work).

Being flexible is also important. I try not give up if I can’t get in my exercise at a certain time. I also look for alternatives. I used to mostly just run, but I joined a gym recently so I can still exercise if it’s raining or if it’s dark outside. If I’m really busy I’ll bring my iPad so I can read for pleasure or for work while I’m biking. Also having a partner who understands and respects the importance of exercise, who is willing to work with me to find time to exercise.

Planning also applies to nutrition. If you’re busy and you want to eat healthy you have to plan out your menu and snacks. When I go shopping on Saturday I think about breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I like to have some variety and excitement for what food I am going to cook or pack for work. I like experimenting with new recipes.

You’ve run numerous races. What’s the toughest race you’ve ever been in?
I did a triathlon two years ago. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done even after training for four months. Nothing compares to the transitions your muscles go through when you go from swimming to cycling, or from cycling to a run. I cramped up pretty heavily after both changes. I was so happy when I finished. I never thought I’d do one again but I’m training for the same “sprint” triathlon in a couple of weeks.  The sprint triathlon is in Smithfield, the 3 little pigs: 250 meter swim, 14 mile bike and 5K run. I came in 10th in my age group 2 years ago (35-40 year olds). My goal this year is to improve my swim, run and transition time.