Buddy Creech, M.D., MPH
Pediatric Infectious Diseases
How did you go about picking your specialty? Any advice?
Going into medical school, I already had a good sense that I wanted to be a pediatrician. I had worked as a camp counselor and with middle school kids for several years. A combination of things led me to choose infectious diseases – faculty members working in ID who mentored me and my father who developed a significant infection when I was a pediatric intern. Pediatric ID seemed like the place where I could simultaneously be most fulfilled and have the most impact.
How does research play a role in your career?
I never thought I would work primarily in a research capacity – I simply wanted to take care of children. But during fellowship, I realized that having a research career provided the opportunity to do things that could help kids that I’ll never meet. It also gave me a chance to work within a research team, each of us pursuing a new discovery, a new application of science, etc. This has been tremendously fulfilling.
Any advice on how to keep life balanced in medical school or with a medical career?
Medical school is a good chance to practice what personal balance looks like. During training, my close friends and I were very intentional about protecting at least one day each week, even when things were incredibly busy, like during exams. From Saturday night to Sunday night, we reclaimed that time and simply took some rest, unless of course we were on clinical rotations that included weekend call. By doing that we were able to recharge, regain perspective, and reconnect in meaningful ways with each other and with friends outside of medicine.
What is your favorite thing about Nashville? Any recommendations about activities, restaurants, etc. for prospective VUSM students?
Nashville is the biggest small town there is. It’s really fun to come home to the airport and see people that I know when I’m walking out. My wife and I also love the choices in restaurants that have popped up in the last five years, especially around the Gulch, 12 South, and East Nashville.
What is the best piece of advice you have received during your training or medical career?
The best advice I received during medical school was from an attending who encouraged us to “act as though no one will come behind us as students; as a result, never be your patient’s student, pretend to be their doctor.” Of course, we still introduced ourselves as medical students and had all of the constraints inherent to that; however, it caused me to go a bit further as a student – building as complete a differential as possible, recommending a treatment plan (that was often really, really wrong) for the team to consider, and doing some of the administrative work (like discharge summaries or patient education). It made medical school so much more fun because it provided a sense of patient ownership that is sometimes hard to have.