Member of the Month: Irvin Sulapas, MD
New physician enjoys sports medicine
Though the breadth of family medicine is what initially drew him to the specialty, Irvin Sulapas, MD, now particularly enjoys the sports medicine aspect of his family medicine practice. Sulapas completed a family medicine residency and sports medicine fellowship both at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at Lubbock. He is now an assistant professor in the Family and Community Medicine department at Baylor College of Medicine, and acts as a team physician for Texas Southern University and local Houston high schools.
Why did you choose family medicine, and what’s your favorite aspect of it?
I pursued family medicine because I enjoy the diversity and flexibility that a family physician can provide, whether it’s inpatient care, outpatient, obstetrics, or urgent/emergent care. Personally my favorite aspect of it is being a primary care sports medicine physician. I take care of active individuals who want to stay active, or individuals who want to be active. I enjoy treating the high school athlete to the weekend warrior to the professional athlete in whatever sport they enjoy participating. I discuss everything from injury prevention, to rehab, nutrition, exercise prescription, and even managing a patient’s chronic disease during exercise. The wide skill set of being a family physician allows me to provide comprehensive care to athletes.
Were you inspired by anyone?
Dr. Fiona Prabhu inspired me to go into academics, and Dr. David Edwards inspired me to pursue a subspecialty in sports medicine, as he showed me that a physician can handle inpatient, outpatient, and sports medicine care.
It is important for me to be a member of AAFP and TAFP because:
The resources! AAFP is a great source of medical knowledge through the American Family Physician journal and CME, but staying involved with the TAFP and AAFP allows for networking that can help you with your career. Whether it’s choosing a residency, what kind of practice you want to pursue, practice improvement, fellowship opportunities, there is a member that has gone through the same issues and is willing to help out!
What is the most interesting/memorable experience you have had when dealing with a patient?
The best experience is delivering a baby, and at their follow up appointment the parents want a picture of you with their newborn to share in their baby book.
What one sentence advice would you give a new family physician?
My suggestion is to learn from your peers at work, or keep in touch with your residency class. I noticed that we were all going through the same issues, and talking them out with fellow colleagues makes the transition to practice easier.
What advice would you offer to medical students discerning their specialty?
Keep an open mind during every rotation! You might end up liking something that you never realized! In medical school I was strongly considering med-peds, but during my third year I actually enjoyed my OB rotation and prenatal care, so I ended up going into family medicine instead!
If you weren’t a family physician, what do you think your career might be?
I would likely be an engineer or a dancer.
How do you spend your free time?
I enjoy staying active with exercise, and travel!
TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in TAFP News Now and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting TAFP by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (512) 329-8666. View past Members of the Month here.