Two Generations of Cardiologists

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Dr. David Truitte and Matthew Truitte share more than just a last name They are a father and son who share a passion for cardiology and patient care. Dr. Truitte started as a cardiologist in Lynchburg in 1993. Matthew is a Cardiology PA Fellow at Centra as part of his doctoral program in Cardiology at the University of Lynchburg where he graduated from the School of PA Medicine. We were curious how the son was perhaps inspired by his father and if the father is inspired by his son.

Matthew, how did you end up going into medicine?

I injured myself quite a few times when I was younger (such is what happens growing up with 4 brothers), and several of those injuries required interaction with medical professionals. Broken bones landed me in the orthopedics office where I learned about and admired the care of a PA from the other side of the interaction. In high school I shadowed a cardiac surgery PA and saw the extent to which they could practice and be involved in patient care. I was inspired by these experiences and decided my senior year of high school to pursue a career in medicine as a PA, and that started at JMU as a health science major with a minor in pre-physician assistant studies.

Why did you choose your specialty?

I chose cardiology because it is a specialty that is always evolving and uses some of the newest medications and technologies. They were some of the kindest, smartest, and wisest physicians I worked with as a PA student, and I was delighted when I heard they wanted to train me.

Did your dad’s career have anything to do with it? 

My dad always encouraged me to pursue whatever career in which I was most interested; he never pushed strongly just for a medical career. I can remember a specific instance when he suggested I look into the Physician Assistant route as opposed to the longer training required of becoming a medical doctor, sharing his personal experience. 

Have you learned anything about your dad now that you are working in the same place?

He apparently acts just as goofy and kindhearted with his patients as he does at home. All of his patients and colleagues speak very highly of him at work when he is not around.

Dr. Truitte, what is exciting to you about cardiology now as opposed to when you started?

Cardiovascular medicine has seen revolutionary changes in care delivery to patients since I started 30 years ago. The tools to diagnose and treat cardiovascular (CV) disease have fundamentally changed the field, allowing more accurate and timely assessment of patients’ problems.  From these changes comes the ability to offer more useful therapies leading to better outcomes for patients, including lessening symptoms and greater longevity.  The diagnostic tools of advanced imaging coupled with newer therapeutics are now at our disposal to aid patient care.  However, the cornerstone of providing this care remains history taking and examination of the patient, discussing options and defining goals. 

Has Matthew given you a fresh perspective?

Matthew being in the University of Lynchburg PA Program has allowed me to reflect on myself and how the field of medicine has changed during my involvement.  Matthew and his fellow PA’s youthful enthusiasm for medicine is palpable–their intensity and curiosity are stimulating, and teaching them keeps you on your toes.  Many fields of medicine have developed a “Team Care” approach to patient care. Team Care allows orchestration of care by leveraging each member’s talents and expertise; while the roles may seem distinct, there is much overlap.  This rapidly evolving field leads to efficient, high-quality care for our patients.

I’m honored that Matthew chose to do his doctoral work with the cardiovascular group.

Why do you think it is a good career path for young people?

I can think of no other field that is in greater need of enthusiastic young talent than medicine.  Caring for a person at a vulnerable time in their life is a gift, whether theirs is a physical or emotional need.  The roles vary from therapists (OT, PT, Respiratory), social workers, technologists, Physicians, PA’s, NP’s, and most importantly nurses.

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