Benji K. Mathews, MD, SFHM, CLHM, is chief of hospital medicine at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., and director of point of care ultrasound (POCUS) for hospital medicine at HealthPartners. He is also the course director for the Society of Hospital Medicine’s 2020 Annual Conference (HM20), to be held April 16-18 in San Diego.
Dr. Mathews, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, is recognized by fellow hospitalists as a pioneer in the use of bedside ultrasound. In fact, his Certificate of Leadership in Hospital Medicine (CLHM) was completed with a focus on ultrasound in hospital medicine, and he is a Fellow in Diagnostic Safety through the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. “While a resident, I took an interest in the field of improving diagnosis and combined it with the 21st-century innovative tool of bedside ultrasound,” he said. “Now, I continue to teach clinicians, educators, and learners.”
In addition to his interest in POCUS and medical education, Dr. Mathews also has a passion for global health, rooted in a commitment to reducing health care disparities both locally and globally. He has worked with medical missions, nongovernmental organizations, and orphanages in Nepal, India, Bolivia, Honduras, and Costa Rica. This led him to complete the global health course at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Mathews spent a few minutes with The Hospitalist to discuss his background and his new role of course director of the HM20 Annual Conference.
Can you describe your journey to becoming a hospitalist?
I’ve been a hospitalist for most of the last decade. I was fortunate to be a part of a great residency program at the University of Minnesota Medical School, which started a hospital medicine pathway that had several nationally recognized hospital medicine leaders as mentors. I was lucky to work with several of them through the HealthPartners organization in Saint Paul, and that developed in me a further desire to practice hospital medicine. The group and mentors provided opportunities to develop further niches in my practice, like bedside ultrasound.
How did you first get involved with SHM?
I entered SHM through the influence of mentors at HealthPartners, especially Burke Kealey, MD, SFHM, senior medical director for hospital specialties at HealthPartners Medical Group in Bloomington, Minn. and a past president of the Society, who encouraged me to participate on SHM committees. I eventually applied for the Annual Conference Committee, and somehow was accepted.
At that time, I was a community hospitalist among a lot of academic hospitalists. I thought that my voice could probably diversify the conversation, and bring the perspective of an early-career hospitalist to the discussion around educational offerings at the Annual Conference. I benefited from good mentorship on that committee, and with that experience I started getting involved with our local chapter in Minnesota. That was very important. I became our local chapter president and was able to combine my efforts with SHM nationally with our regional initiatives.