Name: Burton J. Tabaac, MD
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Current Position: Comprehensive Stroke Director, Renown Health, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Nevada Reno
Q: What made you interested in a career in stroke?
A: The acuity and pace of emergent stroke care is unmatched in the field of medicine. In staying current with clinical trials, and by following updates to AHA/ASA guidelines, vascular and interventional neurologists can deliver the most forefront and up-to-date evidence-based medicine as it pertains to management, treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation. I share in the passion and dedication to this field, supported by a vast, dedicated, and engaged community of providers.
Q: What has been your career path into this field?
A: After graduating with a bachelor of science degree in neuroscience from Lehigh University, a career in neurology was inevitable. There is so much that we, as clinicians and researchers, understand about other organ systems; the brain is the final frontier. After residency training at Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, I was honored to have the opportunity to train with the most preeminent and esteemed vascular neurology team at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Since graduation, I have been working with a highly dedicated and passionate team of neurologists to build and direct a Comprehensive Stroke Program in Reno, Nevada. Renown Regional Medical Center is Renown Health’s flagship hospital and the largest non-profit institution in northern Nevada with 808 beds.
Q: Who is your stroke mentor or stroke hero?
A: As with most physicians and health professionals, I have had many mentors and advisers throughout my career. Two individuals stand out. Victor Urrutia, MD, the current Comprehensive Stroke Director at Johns Hopkins, is my stroke mentor. Exemplifying clinical expertise, professionalism, and dedication to patient care, Dr. Urrutia serves as the vanguard in demonstrating how best to care for stroke patients and build integrative programs. Dr. Urrutia is an expert and taught me how to incorporate a multidisciplinary approach while leading with passion, attention, and care. Steven Zeiler, MD, PhD, the Director of the Vascular Neurology Fellowship at Johns Hopkins, and Head of Stroke Research at Johns Hopkins Bayview, is my stroke hero. He has played an instrumental role in my development as a clinician, physician, and educator. I am grateful for Dr. Zeiler’s tutelage and owe a great deal of my professional success to his teachings. My steadfast approach to clinical excellence, dedication to patient care, and focus on interpersonal relationships is inspired by Dr. Zeiler.
Q: What is a piece of advice you would give to a trainee?
A: Ask questions. Observe and absorb as much clinical volume as you are permitted and able. Get involved. Seek opportunities. Find a mentor. Never stop reading, and always continue to learn throughout your lifetime.
Q: What is your favorite hobby or way of de-stressing?
A: Physical fitness is key. I enjoy cardiovascular work, weightlifting, and participating in any activity that gets me outdoors: hiking, scuba diving, wakeboarding, and skiing. Now that I live in Reno, I’ve really taken an appreciation for mountain life.