Passing on lessons to help save lives

Dr Jason Kaplan is a leading Australian physician and cardiologist, an expert in heart health, longevity and sports cardiology. With a busy Sydney CBD practice and young family, he could be forgiven for not taking on extracurricular responsibilities. Yet for Kaplan, making time to teach is a way to pass on the wisdom of medical knowledge.

As Clinical Lead of the Cardiovascular program at Macquarie University, as well as clinical senior lecturer in medicine at the university, Dr Kaplan instructs undergraduate and post-graduate students in cardiology and medicine.

He was honoured by the American College of Cardiology earlier this year with an invitation to become a fellow of that organisation for his contribution to cardiovascular teaching and education.

“No matter how much you read in textbooks or journals, there’s no substitute for hands-on clinical experience in taking care of patients,” he says.

“I have been fortunate enough to have been mentored by some of Australia’s finest cardiologists while training at RPA and I feel lucky I have the opportunity to pass on some of that knowledge to the next generation of doctors.”

The cardiac program at Macquarie University focuses on cutting-edge areas of research and practice, including robotic surgery and minimally invasive valve replacement.

Kaplan’s role is a mix of clinical work in cardiovascular medicine, supervision of postgraduate medical trainees rotating through cardiology, and mentoring aspiring young cardiologists. He is involved with development of the university program’s clinical and academic focus as well as connecting with outstanding young academic clinicians to be involved in the faculty.

Mostly teaching about the areas he specialises in at his clinical practice – namely cardiac imaging and general cardiology – Kaplan runs a weekly teaching clinic as well as a weekly training session in echocardiography, the main tool used for non-invasive assessment of the heart.

He is supervising trainee echosonographers and training two sonographers.

Kaplan says he also sees his role as helping disseminate new information to his primary care colleagues. He does this by regularly giving talks to general practitioners. Recently a masterclass on cardiology at the university was attended by more than 60 GPs who came to hear the latest updates from six leading cardiac specialists.

“I hope that some of what I teach, not just about the knowledge which can be obtained in books, but rather how to care for patients with certain heart conditions, will be enduring,” Kaplan says.

The benefits go both ways, with Kaplan energised by the interactions with his students. He says that being in a teaching facility and having students and trainees doctors around translates into the practice of better medicine.

Students and training doctors are often very well read and this inspires Kaplan to keep up with what’s going on in evidence-based literature.

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This article was published and provided by the Sydney Morning Herald.


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