Faculty Focus: Joshua Radke, MD

Date: Monday, June 4, 2018

Joshua Radke, MDWhat is your hometown?

I grew up in Clinton, IA.

How/when did you become interested in science and/or medicine?

I think that being a doctor was the first real career that I was interested (not counting the standard fireman, astronaut, etc. that every little boy wants to be at some point). I never really had a very good answer to this question during the interview trail for medical school, either! I was always interested in science, and as a kid, being a doctor seemed like it was a great job, and doctors were well respected. So medicine seemed like a way to use my interest in science and have a decent job.

When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?

I started in August 2017.

How or why did you choose to join the faculty at the University of Iowa?

It was combination of things, and the job just happened to come up at the right time. We were living in California after finishing our residency and fellowship training in Sacramento, and we had just had a kid. My wife and I met in medical school here at Iowa (MD class of 2009), are both originally from Iowa, and coming back to Iowa had never really been in the plan, since we had finally escaped! But we were vacationing with a group of med school friends, which included Dan Runde who works in the Emergency Department as well. He had mentioned that the department was looking for a Toxicologist. We initially brushed it off as not anything we would be interested in. But over the next few weeks we thought about it a little more, and it seemed to make a little more sense. We weren’t totally happy with either of our jobs in Sacramento, I wasn’t doing much Toxicology, and we thought that it would certainly be nice to be a little closer to family. So we came out and interviewed, and both of the jobs sounded like a great fit, and here we are! We definitely haven’t regretted the move. My colleagues are great, as are the residents and department as a whole. Plus, now I’ve got plenty of time set aside for Toxicology and have been starting a service from the ground up, so I can essentially make the program what I want it to be.

Is there a teacher or mentor who helped shape your career?

Mark Sutter, who was my fellowship director, definitely played a big role in where I am today. I had never thought of toxicology when I started residency. After a few shifts with Mark early on in residency, I started to think that maybe Toxicology was a good fit. The way he managed critically ill patients with ease always impressed me, both in the Emergency Department and with Toxicology. He was always a role model for me in how to approach a sick patient. And he truly made me feel like I was part of a family during fellowship. He was always willing to help me out and give advice, whatever the situation.

How do you see your faculty role impacting medicine and/or science?

While I’m a little early in my career to think about impacting medicine or science as a whole, I definitely hope to have an impact on medicine here at the University. One way I hope to do that is just to provide good Toxicology education to the residents. Certainly to the Emergency Medicine residents, but to other residents throughout the hospital as well. Maybe even start a fellowship at the University. I also want to help hospital throughput by improving resource utilization for toxicology patients.

What is the biggest change you've experienced in your field since you were a student?

The biggest change has probably been the huge push to focus on evidence-based medicine which goes hand-in-hand with all of the available online resources. EBM ensures that we are doing what’s right for our patients, not just doing what we learned in residency. And with all the podcasts, FOAM/FOAMed (Free Open Access Medical education), and websites available for Emergency Medicine, it has been easy to stay up to date on the latest literature even when I was out in the community.

What one piece of advice would you give to today's students?

Make time for yourself. No one else is going to do that for you, and you have the rest of your life to work. A good work/life balance is important for any job, especially medicine.

In what ways are you engaged in professional activities outside the University (i.e. population based research, mentoring high school students, sharing your leadership/ expertise with organizations or causes, speaking engagement off campus, etc.)?

I haven’t had many chances to do much outside the University (yet!). I have done quite a bit of education for other departments within the University, however. I’ve done several lectures for pharmacy classes as well as other specialties at the hospital. I have done some lectures for EMS groups in Montana and will be helping out with EMS here at UIHC. I also work alongside the Iowa Poison Control Center to manage any poisoned patients at the University.

What are some of your outside (personal) interests?

Where to begin! My most recent hobby is beekeeping. I have my first 2 hives this year! Other hobbies include cycling (mountain, touring, and road), skiing in the winter, canoeing/kayaking, camping, hiking, gardening, brewing beer, traveling the world, and playing the guitar. And, of course, hanging out with my family. We currently have a son and one dog, and will be having a baby girl in late June!