Intelligent Must-See TV
This week in Profile: Keeping up with medicine man Jeff Kalina
For most people life as an emergency medicine doctor would be challenging enough. But for Jeff Kalina being the Associate Medical Director for Emergency Medicine at The Methodist Hospital is only the beginning of his credentials. As the subject of this week's Profile (10:30 tonight on Channel 8, Houston PBS) Kalina gave host Greg Scheinman a glimpse of his busy schedule, led by a passion for medicine but also a commitment to family and balance.
"Jeff is just unbelievable," Greg Scheinman says. "He's the trauma guy in town, running emergency medicine for Methodist, so his life is in the ER. He works those ridiculous 12-hour shifts, like 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. or 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. At the same time hes an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Weill-Cornell Medical College. He's also the chairman of disaster response for the Texas Medical Center and he's the trauma doctor for the Houston Texans."
"His energy level is off the charts, and he's one of those one-in-a-million people that when you're around him you feel almost inferior, like, 'How can he do all this stuff?!' but he balances it really well," Scheinman says. "On top of him being brilliant, Jeff's a really good person. He still does find time to play poker with his friends, to play golf, to fly planes.
"And he's a family man, his wife and kids come first — it's not uncommon for him to finish a shift at 8 a.m. and go straight to taking his kids to school."
Just when you thought he couldn't add more to his plate, Scheinman mentions that Kalina is also an entrepreneur.
"Jeff has a very entrepreneurial mind. On top of his day-to-day responsibilities at Methodist, he is always thinking and sees opportunity. He can be prolific not only as a doctor but as an entrepreneur," Scheinman says. "He can process information faster than the average person which comes into his role as a trauma doctor, he has to make snap decisions, with very short time to assess the situation and get the right treatment and move on. You have to be confident and have a grasp on everything and make judgement calls. And I think that applies to his business sense."
Kalina started Dialyspa after his experiences during Hurricane Ike seeing patients were unable to do dialysis because the power was out — a potentially life-threatening situation.
"He realized there was a void in the marketplace. He partnered with a close friend, and the requirement for Jeff to be involved was that it have the largest generator of a dialysis center in Texas," Scheinman says. "So there is always a place these people can go to make the process and the procedures as upscale and comfortable as possible."
For Profile, Scheinman followed Kalina on a full day — tagging along to see Kalina's responsibilities at Methodist to Dialyspa and at home with his family.
"We started at Methodist, seeing what he goes through on a shift. He's not only on the floor on cases coming in and out, he has managerial responsibilities for managing the team and administration," Scheinman says. "He's wearing both hats. He will have case that comes bursting in the door, and an hour later be in a meeting with the CEO of the hospital — pretty amazing. Then we went to visit Dialyspa to see how that was developing, why that was important to him, how it was going — it had just opened when we spoke.
"And from there we went back to his house and spoke to his wife, spoke to his children, got some of that decompress time — the best time for him."