Gwendolyn Poles

Her advice for medical students

“You have to have a passion and enjoy what you’re doing,” Dr. Poles says, noting the increasingly high costs of medical school and the fact that many students are saddled with high student loan debt. She stresses the need for primary care physicians and the importance of primary care and encourages students with an interest or passion to consider this path.

On keeping busy after retirement:

Dr. Poles says her mission in medicine has focused on the inner city and the underserved population. Even though she’s retired from active practice, she can often be found at PAMED sharing her perspective with other Pennsylvania physician leaders.

She also has a non-profit entity that’s been keeping her busy. Dr. Poles is looking to realize her vision of “whole-person health care.” That vision includes understanding factors that impact health such as religious beliefs, education level, and nutrition. She’s looking to find ways to link patients to appropriate resources, not just health care resources but also education, for example.

Dr. Poles’ hopes for the future of medicine:

Dr. Poles would like to see the reinstatement of a health care model in which business is not the primary driver of health care. “Patients are not widgets,” she says. Her hope is that we can find a better balance between good business and patient-centered health care.