Leadership

Mark N. Bair, MD, RPh: Emergency doctor lifts his profession

Mark Bair, MD

The AMA “Members Move Medicine” series profiles a wide variety of doctors, offering a glimpse into the passions of women and men navigating new courses in American medicine.

On the move with: Mark N. Bair, MD, RPh, a clinical informaticist and emergency physician at CarePoint Health in American Fork, Utah.

AMA member since: 1988.

AMA Moving Medicine

See how AMA members are changing the culture and stigma associated with physician burnout in the latest issue of AMA Moving Medicine. 

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What inspired me to pursue a career in medicine: As I was growing up, my mother was a nurse and my father was a pharmacist. I heard about the struggles and issues in medicine from neighbors, friends and my parents’ coworkers. 

In my tenth-grade high school health class, the teacher brought in a deer heart for us to inspect and dissect. It was at that moment—as I was enthralled by the experience—that I decided I wanted to be a physician. I was fascinated by the miracle in front of me and I wanted to study medicine, anatomy and the wonder of the bodies we each have. This experience, coupled with a strong desire to help, serve and care for my community, fueled my drive to become a physician. 

How I move medicine: By being willing to stand up and be heard. Willingness to participate is key to attaining positions and opportunities in your community to effect change. In my lifecycle as a physician to this point, I have had many opportunities to move medicine. 

Locally, I find that many of my patients are interested in what is happening in medicine, so I teach them what I have learned. I serve in my community, hospital and state in various capacities where I have the privilege to share what we do as physicians, how our processes work and why it is important to listen and hear physicians when it comes to policies they are shaping. 

And I have had the great opportunity to serve at the AMA level as a student, resident, young physician, and now as a seasoned physician. What we do matters as physicians. We are called upon to do and be more than providers of care. We are also seen as ambassadors of our profession, experts in our fields and leaders in our communities. Physicians move medicine at every level. 

Career highlights:

  • American College of Emergency Physicians Hero of Emergency Medicine
  • HCA Mountain Division Peak Award
  • Utah Association of Emergency Medical Technicians’ Medical Professional of the Year
  • Utah Emergency Physician of the Year
  • AMA delegate from Utah, Resident and Fellow Section vice chair, and Young Physician Section chair. 
  • Utah Medical Association president, speaker, AMA delegate, board director and parliamentarian

Advice I’d give to those interested in pursuing a career in medicine: Love it, live it and lift it.  Medicine is more than a job—it’s a calling for physicians. We work hard, invest a lot of time and, ultimately, commit ourselves to a lifetime of service. We need to love it.

We live it every day and by virtue of our training we are always on call for our patients, families, friends and neighbors. It is a commitment. And, lastly, I believe that we have a responsibility to lift up our profession at every opportunity. We are given a great privilege and responsibility by our communities. We should work with those around us to lift up the profession to new and greater heights.

How I give back to the community: As a physician, director and leader, advocating for patients and physicians is a constant job. At every level, I work to protect and serve our patients to ensure they receive the respect, concern and attention to care they deserve. Physicians are constantly challenged by outside forces that seek to change, direct and modify how we practice medicine.

Many times, it takes a leader to stand up, educate and redirect these administrative, legislative and governmental efforts to ensure physicians are respected and heard, in order to produce a positive effect on the environment and ecosystem of medicine.

I have been provided with leadership positions from which I can advocate in governor-appointed task forces, committees and nonprofit companies that are working on health care policy data and innovation. And I work with my state medical association to effect change in our state and nationally through the AMA.

Aspect of my work that means the most: Caring for those who need me and are grateful for what we can do to make them feel and be better. There is no greater joy than seeing the kind, thankful eyes of a comforted child, or a relieved mother or a patient saved from pain or death. 

In addition, I have enjoyed incorporating my other skills in computers and leadership to help guide, direct and create better systems and policies. As physicians we are privileged to provide care from the womb to the tomb, and in sickness and health. 

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My hope for the future of medicine: That we never lose the patient-physician relationship. The cornerstone of medicine is a patient communicating with—and working alongside—the physician to improve their health. We must embrace innovation and technology and balance that process with personal interactions.

I hope that the pendulum of health care reform will swing back to a center balance with reduced federal regulations, improved technology focused on care, and a respect for the years of training of my physician colleagues.

I hope that as new generations move through their lifecycle as physicians, they will enjoy the opportunities we have had in health care and create their own rewarding memories of the service they provide their patients. 

Visit MembershipMovesMedicine.com to learn more about other AMA members who are relentlessly moving medicine through advocacy, education, patient care and practice innovation, and join or renew today.