Spotlight on: Nicholas J. Golda, MD

Dr Golda

Dr Golda is an associate professor of clinical dermatology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. His practice focuses on Mohs micrographic surgery, facial reconstruction, cutaneous oncology, and laser procedures. 

As the medical director of the Dermatology Clinics at the University of Missouri Health System, Dr Golda focuses on performance and process improvement, team dynamics, and workplace culture all with the goal of improving both the patient and provider experience. He founded the University of Missouri Department of Dermatology’s first Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education fellowship training program. As the program director for the Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Oncology fellowship program, he enjoys training and mentoring the next generation of fellowship-trained dermatologic surgeons. He also collaborates with the bioengineering faculty at the University of Missouri on research aimed on improving the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer and making office procedures such as laser and outpatient surgery safer and more efficient. This work has resulted in the development of exciting patented technology.

Dr Golda enjoys camping all over the United States with his wife and 2 daughters, gardening and working outdoors, and all of the other excitement that comes from trying to keep up with 2 little girls and a busy family.

Q. What part of your work gives you the most pleasure? 

A. The social interactions at all levels of my work are where I find the most pleasure. This includes daily interactions with patients, especially the casual conversations that we have with each other during procedures. Additionally, as a fellowship director, there is nothing more satisfying than being able to mentor a fellow through the process of mastering Mohs surgery. In my administrative role, I love the challenge of working with and motivating people to develop an effective team. I also thoroughly enjoy being engaged with my health system and having the opportunity to contribute to the growth and continuous improvement of a system that is relied on by so many people in central Missouri.

Q. Are an understanding and appreciation of the humanities important in dermatology and why?  

A. Thinking about the humanities as being the part of what we do that is less based on hard science and more based on human interaction. I would say that understanding and appreciating the humanities is not important, it is essential. The physician-patient interaction has been cluttered by so much regulation, restriction, and bad process that we now face an epidemic of physician burnout. Many of us grew up with a particular, possibly idyllic, image of what a physician was, and the modern practice of medicine has moved far from that image. The human interaction of being the physician who cares for a patient in need is at the heart of why most (if not all) of us went into medicine in the first place. We need to work to reorient health care toward the goal of supporting the patient-physician interaction and stripping away what confounds that interaction.    

Q. Who was your hero/mentor and why?

A. George Hruza, MD, is both to me in dermatology. He was there for me at a critical point in my life and I owe much of my success to his willingness to train me, invest in me, mentor me, and support my endeavors to this day. He gave me my first lessons not only about Mohs surgery but also practice management, diplomacy, and the importance of engaging on a local and national level in the house of medicine. We all owe a debt to people like him who give so much from their personal and professional time and resources to advance and advocate for our specialty.    

Learn more about Dr Golda on page 2

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