A Conversation with Anthony Martinez, MD
In this issue, HCV Next asks five questions of Anthony Martinez, MD, clinical associate professor at Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at University at Buffalo.
Martinez attended Providence College for his undergraduate degree before heading south to Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara to complete his MD. A residency and internship at Boston University’s affiliate in Providence, Rhode Island followed, after which he moved on to Weill Cornell Medical College for fellowships in both addiction medicine and Hepatitis C evaluation and management. He also holds a certification in infectious diseases from the American Academy of HIV Medicine.
His employment history carried him from an assistant clinical professor position at New York Presbyterian Hospital, at Weill Cornell then across the country to work as an associate clinical professor at University of California, San Diego, before moving back east again to Buffalo. In addition to his post at University of Buffalo, he is the medical director of hepatology at the Erie County Medical Center and practices addiction medicine at the VA Western NY Healthcare system.
In 2003, he earned Intern of the Year and then in 2004 he was Junior Resident of the Year.
What are your hobbies outside of practicing medicine?
I play a lot of ice hockey and I enjoy cooking. I also have a six-year-old daughter so anything new that she picks up tends to extend to me. I’ve become a modern dance aficionado.
Who has had the greatest influence on your career?
Patients in general, no question. The population of patients that I love to work with actually led me to various disease states (HCV, HIV and addiction). They’ve been responsible for the niche that I’ve had the honor to exist in. There was also a guy named Jerry O’Leary who was my professor in college. One day I was doubting my ability to get into med school and to become a doctor. I was a janitor at the time. He told me to find a way or make one. He changed my life that day.
What was the defining moment that led to your field?
I was rotating in the immunodeficiency clinic at St. Clare’s Hospital in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC working with HIV patients. I’d see the same patients in the detox unit and then the hepatology clinics. I always walked to the hospital and the same individuals would be hanging outside playing checkers on the sidewalk. I used to always stop, play and talk with them. Over time I grew close to many of them and I always knew that this was my population. It’s been a circuitous route but the patients led me to the field I suppose.
What advice would you offer a medical student?
Keep your motivation pure. This is a way of life, not a job. Never lose sight of that fact that you have the great privilege and responsibility of looking after patients. You will never take a wrong turn in anything that you do if you maintain that premise. When you walk into a room and sit with a patient, never forget what a privilege that is.
What’s up next for you?
Well, being the 6th defenseman for the Boston Bruins isn’t looking good so I guess I’ll keep taking care of patients. Man, I cried when I got my first paycheck as an intern because I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do what I get to do. I thought I made it the day I got into medical school. Everything that’s happened since then has been pure icing on the cake!