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Alumni Spotlight: Chad Miller, MD

Friday, June 9, 2017

This week’s “spotlight” interview shines on Chad Miller, MD, who completed our residency program in 2000. Miller talks to us about his current work putting the “intense” in neurointensivist overseeing neurocritical care at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, looks back fondly on the rigor, quality, and family environment that characterized his residency at Duke, and talks about following Ohio State football and Blue Devil basketball when he’s not chasing his three boys at home.

Where are you working now?
I work at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio where I am System Medical Chief of Neurocritical Care and Cerebrovascular Diseases.

How did you first get interested in neurology? How did you decide to specialize in stroke and neurocritical care?
I first became interested in neurology as a medical student. We had tremendous faculty who were very gifted in bringing brain function and anatomy to life. During my residency training, I gravitated toward neurocritical care as I enjoyed the pace, acuity, and impact that a clinician could have in that clinical realm. While at Duke, I had terrific peer mentorship from two colleagues, John Lynch and Augusto Parra who were completing their neurocritical care fellowships at that time. Additionally, Danny Laskowitz and Carmen Graffagnino really went out of their way to allow me to see all of the possibilities that existed within a career in critical care medicine.

What does an average work day for you look like? What do you enjoy most about your work?
I currently split my time clinically and administratively. My clinical time is spent in our 32-bed neurocritical care unit. We have a tremendous team of neurointensivists, nurses, and advanced practice providers who have an exceptional dedication to patient care. Life in a critical care unit is demanding, emotionally straining, and unpredictable, though I believe we really have a system that allows us to work efficiently and influence patient care in a very rewarding manner. In my administrative duties, we have worked to increase the reach and responsiveness of our cerebrovascular neurologist through virtual health. OhioHealth manages the largest stroke volume in Ohio. This volume has afforded us unique opportunities related to research, system triage, and innovative approaches to delivery of patient care.

I am also very involved with the Neurocritical Care Society, serving as the co-chair of the Emergency Neurologic Life Support program and on the societal board of directors. I particularly appreciate this work, as it provides the opportunity to stay connected to prior colleagues at Duke and elsewhere.

What elements of your time as a resident were most valuable to your current work?
I am extremely proud of my time at Duke and believe it has continued to serve me well in my current work. Duke has a culture of personal accountability and responsibility that was quite influential in developing my approach to medicine. Additionally, the rigor and quality of training was such that I feel that I was able to take away skills in particular specialties from my training despite not having formal fellowship instruction in these areas.

What’s one memory or experience from your time as a resident that stands out?
As the result of the efforts of Joel Morgenlander, our training program had a very family-oriented feel to it. I most remember our trips to Satisfactions in Durham where our group would have the opportunity to catch up on all things non-medical, including Duke basketball.

What’s been the biggest change you’ve seen in the treatment of stroke and neurocritical care since you became a resident? What changes do you see coming in the next decade?
Neurocritical care was first created based upon the recognized need to deliver care that accounted for the needs of the brain. Today, we are continuing to move closer toward the goal of further individualizing care. Critical care of the brain is mostly about limiting brain injury and optimizing the capacity for recovery. In the past, we sought therapeutic targets and goals that were similar despite variable injury mechanisms or patient characteristics. Now we are able to measure and begin thinking about the precise needs of the individual patient and are more proficient in catering our care to be responsive to those needs in real time. This is paying dividends for our patients and allowing us to rethink what is prognostically possible for many of our sickest patients.

Miller with his wife Sarah, as well as Bryce, Colton, and Austin.

What passions or hobbies do you have outside of work?
Most of my free time is spend with my family. My wife, Sarah, and I have three young boys, Bryce (5), Colton (4) and Austin (2) who keep us rather busy and entertained. Additionally, we enjoy attending concerts, exercise (chasing children), and following Blue Devil basketball and Ohio State football.