How a Former Army Physician and Surgeon Enjoys the Lifelong Learning Adventure of Medicine

A Q&A with Scott R. Steele, MD

Scott R. Steele, MD, graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served 25 years in the Army. The self-discipline and time management skills honed during that time serve him well today as Cleveland Clinic’s Chair of Colorectal Surgery.

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“I had a wonderful time in the military and my four deployments taught me as much about myself as a person as it did about me as a surgeon,” says Dr. Steele. “They also taught me more about the power of the human spirit and what it means to take care of one another. I miss the people, but we remain close and I am honored to have served alongside men and women of such high quality and character.”

Consult QD sat down with Dr. Steele to find out more about his experience and career path:

Q: Do you find similarities between the military and Cleveland Clinic’s philosophy of “to act as a unit”?

A: I am struck by the incredible efforts that people, no matter the location, will go to in order to care for others. Whether it is giving advice, helping out in the operating room or a research project, or simply listening and being there during difficult times, both institutions exemplify teamwork and camaraderie.

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Q: You are the host of the new Cleveland Clinic Butts & Guts podcast. How is it being a podcast host?

A: I got into podcasting with my original one, Behind the Knife. Hosting a podcast is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I found that people are interesting to talk to and I get the bonus of getting to know them a little bit better. Through a conversation, I can share their wealth of knowledge, expertise and personal experiences with my audience.

Butts & Guts is a patient-facing, entertaining and informative podcast that talks about everything from end to end. Our guests are world-leading experts who give providers and patients the ‘bottom’ line of what they need to know about surgery and digestive disease.

Q: Favorite podcast, besides your own?

A: I like ESPN’s 30 for 30 series.

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Q: What sparked your interest in your specialty?

A: Colorectal surgery is the greatest of all fields. You care for patients of all ages, with a wide variety of conditions ranging from anorectal disease and pelvic floor disorders to inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. There is ongoing cutting-edge research and the ability to do major operations or outpatient procedures. Plus, with many of the patients you develop lifelong relationships that can span generations. It truly is awesome.

Q: What keeps you excited about the future of healthcare?

A: Medicine and surgery is a lifelong learning adventure. The constant effort to do things better and be more efficient while leading to better outcomes for our patients is an incredible joy.