/ by UK HealthCare
Meet Dr. Roberto Cardarelli, the chair of UK Family & Community Medicine. In this Making the Rounds Conversation, Dr. Cardarelli discusses why he decided to specialize in family medicine and what inspires him every day as he cares for patients.
When did you become interested in the medical field?
The linchpin to go into medicine was when my grandmother passed away with congestive heart failure when I was a child. She was a second mom to me. I was relentless to find out what went wrong with her heart. I got passionate about medicine at a very young age.
Why did you decide to pursue family medicine?
I realized I love to do everything. I get bored doing one thing only, and I love taking care of kids to elders. Family medicine was just a perfect choice for me with the opportunity to develop lifelong relationships with individuals.
What do family medicine providers treat?
We have an incredible, stellar faculty and providers here in the Department of Family & Community Medicine. We serve all aspects of primary care. We do prenatal care all the way to taking care of geriatric populations. We have a clinic specifically for the LGBTQ community. We have a full scope of practice to serve anybody’s needs.
Our approach is very holistic. We look at the patient, looking at their social factors, looking at the whole dynamics in their personal life and incorporate that into the care plan for any individual. Plus, we take care of the whole family. It’s common to see not only the kid, but I’m the primary care doctor for the mom, grandmother, grandfather, uncles and aunts.
What do you like best about your work?
I specifically enjoy managing complex chronic care issues with patients that are probably some of the most vulnerable in our society. I like to engage them as a partner in care versus me dictating what they should do. What inspires me is my team, the people that I work with. The patients that I’m given the opportunity to take care of really inspires me.
What do you enjoy doing outside of medicine?
I love rebuilding classic cars. My dad’s a mechanic and worked on our cars since I was real young.
I have a 1966 Plymouth Fury III that I rebuilt. I have a 1968 Bonneville two-door convertible that I rebuilt. My kids and I show those cars at car shows. It’s our hobby as a family.
I could buy a car that’s already been completely redone, but I like to buy that really inexpensive, needs-a-lot-of-tender-care car. I guess that’s why I’m attracted to chronic disease management – because those are patients with complex needs, and I love to coach them and do my best to make them better.
Watch our full interview with Dr. Cardarelli where he explains what family medicine is and why patients should be seen at an academic institution.