Jaideep Talwalkar, MD, practices primary care for children and adults, and serves as associate director of the Yale Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program at Yale Medicine’s Winchester Chest Clinic.
In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Talwalkar is an associate professor of medicine (general medicine) and of pediatrics, director of clinical skills at Yale School of Medicine, as well as associate program director of the Yale Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program. “Teaching students and residents provides me with constant reminders about the privilege of caring for patients and the importance of lifelong learning for physicians. Teaching makes me a better doctor for my patients,” he says. “It is important to show empathy. Patients want to be heard and understood, regardless of the clinical situation or the prognosis.”
Medical advances have allowed doctors to provide better options for patients with cystic fibrosis and other diseases, but Dr. Talkwalkar acknowledges that while curing the patient is often the goal, it is not always possible. “In some circumstances, my role is to allow people to find quality of life and dignity at the end of life. Working with a patient and family at this stage is enormously gratifying, but can also be emotionally taxing,” he says. “I had a family member of a patient who passed away years ago reach out to me to express gratitude for the care I had provided and to remind me of the patient's strengths in life. This gesture reinforced for me the importance of humanism and patient-centeredness even in difficult circumstances.”