(201) Health 2022 Edition | Page 17


The subspecialist



At 33 , medicine isSean Wilen ’ s second career . Formerly infinance , he says he realized he wasn ’ tinterested in making money for people , and wanted to have abigger impact on their lives . “ Going back to school was ashort-term commitment for long-term gain ,” he says .“ The rewards you reap are second to none .”

Wilen attended St . George ’ s University School of Medicine in Grenada , West Indies , and had his residency atIndiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis . He went ontodoaprimary care sports medicine fellowship there , and became certified in that sub-specialty as well . He is currently on the faculty at Hackensack School of Medicine .
“ I discovered pretty early on that an important health goal istobe active , and oftentimes there are challenges like muscle joint pain that prevent patients from that ,” he says . Treating his active patients from a family medicine perspective , he uses the methods at his disposal sothey can avoid surgery . These include medications , physical therapy , and injections and injections such assteroids to manage pain . He hopes to soon be able toinject orthobiologics such as platelet-rich plasma as well ; while PRP has become increasingly accessible over the last decade , he says , its use isn ’ t covered byinsurance .
Being afamily medical practitioner with asub-specialty has grown more
common over the last 25 years , Wilen says . “ The emphasis now is on primary care because prevention saves the country money , and the community is healthier , so folks are more interested in some of these niche categories ,” he says , adding that in his group , family physicians specialize in geriatrics and sleep medicine .
Wilen says that since there ’ s a shortage of health care workers in the U . S ., preventive medicine “ is the name of the game these days . Getting out into the community , teaching patients to be active and outdoors , that ’ s where family medicine comes
in ,” he says .“ There are two questions I always ask patients : What is your diet , and how much exercise do you get ?” Often the best way to be healthier is not to join agym , he says , but to park further away from the entrance to the mall , or to take the stairs instead of the elevator . “ Seemingly trivial decisions accumulate ,” he says .
“ Family medicine is such a fantastic specialty ,” he says . “ The other day , I saw a 55-year-old man with chest pains , and then three patients later , a 97-year-old woman with a cough . I just want to be a community doctor . It ’ s a privilege to do what I do .”
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( 201 ) HEALTH 2022 EDITION 13