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Faculty Spotlight: Timothy Collins, MD

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

In addition to being a neurologist, Timothy Collins, MD, is also a retired major in the U.S. Army, an experienced candy maker, and an amateur beer brewer. In this week’s Faculty Spotlight interview, Collins talks about these experiences, his work treating patients with headache and facial pain at our Morreene Road clinic, his plans for improving the clinic facilities and starting a new headache fellowship over the next year, and his collection of fedora and Panama hats.

What are your responsibilities within the Neurology Department? What does your average work day look like?
I am responsible for overseeing the headache clinic at the morreene road neurosciences clinic as the Chief of the Headache division. I see patients in clinic four days a week, so my typical day is spent in clinic visits with patients. I often have residents or fellows working with me in clinic. On Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons I have a Botox clinic for migraine treatment.  I have administrative meetings mostly on Friday, and generally deliver two or three education lectures per month.

This July you were officially named the Medical Director of our Morreene Road Clinic. What does this work entail?
As medical director, I represent the interests of the  providers at Morreene Road when discussing the clinic with administration. I also try to ensure the providers learn of changes in the building environment and staffing changes that may impact their work in the clinic.

What are your top goals for the Morreene Road Clinic this year, and how do you plan on reaching them?
One of my goals this year is to make sure the coming improvements to Morreene Road go smoothly. There have been discussions for several years about repairs and improvements to the clinic building, and it is finally looking like some of the changes will happen. This is going to mean temporary changes that will affect both patients and providers while we are improving the clinic building.

A second goal this year is continued recruiting for our headache fellowship program. Our first headache fellow, Sweta Sengupta, MD will start in July 2018, and our goal is to have one fellow per year. This year we will be recruiting for a start date of July 2019.

How did you first get interested in neurology? What made you decide to focus on headache and facial pain?

I was first attracted to neuro-anatomy, and while in medical school worked in the lab of a PhD who was doing neuro anatomy research. My work mostly involved slicing mouse brains on a microtome and staining them, then laying the entire brain (in slices) out on a series of 2 x 4 inch slides. My interest in headaches and face pain started during residency, when we had one of the pioneers in headache treatment as an occasional attending on morning rounds. After residency, headache was one of the most common complaints in my clinic, and I discovered I enjoyed treating headache more than other areas in neurology.

Your career includes a stint as an officer in the U.S. Army. Can you tell me more about that experience?
I was in the Army for 12 years total, between medical school, residence and working at Darnell Army Community Hospital (Ft. Hood, Tx). I was the chief of the neurology  division at DACH for the last two years there, and was promoted to major while at Ft. Hood.

How long have you been wearing hats? What’s your favorite style and type of hat?
This is a hard question to answer, as I grew up in Michigan, and everyone wore warm hats in the winter. After I left the Army in 1996, I started wearing hats to keep the sun off. I have a couple of Stetson wool felt fedoras and usually wear a panama hat in the summer.

What passions or hobbies do you have outside of the Department?
I have been making candy since medical school, mostly chocolate truffles and hard candies. Some of my candy making equipment belonged to my grandfather, who was a professional candymaker. I've been making beer one or two times a month for almost 10 years. My favorite types of beer to make are porter's and Belgian style beers. I started scuba diving about four years ago with my wife, and usually do one or two scuba trips each year.

Grotto
Collins explores the blue grotto during a scuba trip.

Collins daughter
Collins and his daughter strike an underwater pose during a scuba trip in Bonaire.