With the COVID-19 pandemic evolving every day, we continue to see the effects and challenges of this unprecedented health crisis on our world and our community. We asked two Chargers, Dr. David Fleece ‘83 and Dr. Adam Prawer '01, to share their experiences during this pandemic and how their Shorecrest experience prepared them for life in the medical field.
As the Chief Medical Information Officer for Temple University Health system, Dr. Fleece ‘83 has found himself in an important administrative position (above his position as a board certified Pediatrician) supporting three hospitals guiding the use of technology during the outbreak and making sure that all information technology needs of the hospitals and clinics are being met. The Temple University Hospital is a three hospital system based in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Fleece shared that they are caring for more COVID patients than any other single hospital in Philadelphia. They’ve had to convert outpatient areas and even a building lobby into inpatient care areas. During these uncertain times, being flexible is essential.
Parent of two current Chargers and a member of Shorecrest’s Health & Safety Task Force, Dr. Prawer ’01, a board certified family physician, has seen first-hand the effects COVID-19 has had on Pinellas County. As the medical director for a number of continuing care retirement communities here in St. Petersburg, Dr. Prawer has been involved in the development and execution of a series of policies aimed to protect our vulnerable seniors. Over the past few months, Dr. Prawer has found himself dealing with a new set of medical and logistical challenges. He spent the last few months serving as a reliable source of information for his patients while dealing with their current infectious concerns. This has required him to have a number of new approaches in hospital-based medicine.
How did you come to work in the field that you do now?
Dr. David Fleece: I started as Pediatric faculty at Temple right out of residency and helped create a large general pediatrics practice that included medical student teaching. Our group also runs the newborn nursery at the hospital. After around 14 years, we switched to an electronic medical record (EMR) and I found I was pretty good at understanding how it could be improved and made easier to use. That led to learning how to program, which led eventually to being internally recruited to be the lead physician for all things EMR related to the health system.
Dr. Adam Prawer: My father was a family physician and I always admired the pride he took in his work. I feel so lucky to care for many of the same patients he took care of for decades.
What is your favorite/most fulfilling thing about your job?
Dr. David Fleece: We’re a three-hospital system with training programs for all adult specialties, and do more lung transplants than any other hospital in the US. At the same time, we serve one of the poorest urban populations in the country. The mix of these things – cutting edge treatment programs combined with a strong sense of mission makes my work interesting and rewarding. Also, in managing the EMR as it relates to our users, I help people get through their day more quickly, find useful insights in the data we store, and use the technology in ever evolving ways. It’s fun to have a role in so many aspects of the organization.
Dr. Adam Prawer: The most rewarding part of the job involves the relationships I have enjoyed with my patients. I have the privilege of caring for a number of multi generational families and it is fulfilling for me to provide insights to them through the various seasons of life. I am always touched when patients express interest in my family as well, often asking about my children, wife, and parents.
I am also honored to participate in the Shorecrest Health & Safety Task Force. The group includes a diverse collection of administrators, educators, physicians, parents, and alumni, with many of us falling into multiple categories. We meet weekly to share ideas and develop policies and procedures to create as safe of an environment as possible for our students, faculty, and staff when we return to school.
How did Shorecrest prepare you for life outside of the classroom?
Dr. David Fleece: It all started with Computer Science in ninth grade, with Mrs. Bickel. We learned how to program Apple IIs in BASIC (none of the current students will know what I’m talking about!) I guess the free reign we had to be creative is something that’s come in handy over the years.
Dr. Adam Prawer: I feel tremendously fortunate to have attended Shorecrest. From an academic perspective, I entered college and medical school confident that I had acquired the skills needed to confront escalating challenges. I learned that the ability to seek out sources of information was often more valuable than simply acquiring a broad fund of knowledge. Some of my fondest memories involve playing sports at Shorecrest. I believe those experiences have helped me to collaborate with colleagues efficiently and build mutually respectful relationships with my employees. Most importantly, I believe that the relationships I built at Shorecrest have prepared me most for life outside the classroom.