Below are the stories of two Penn Medicine physicians who have found alternative ways to leverage their passions and hobbies into their professional missions to enhance their patients’ well being.
Our clinical and research teams at Penn Medicine have dedicated their lives to improving the lives of their patients and ending diseases.
In addition to caring for their patients, Penn physicians regularly publish research and peer-review articles, moderate panels, and present at medical society meetings, and we couldn’t be more proud of what they do professionally.
As any physician will tell you, this includes a lifetime commitment to many hours of work “off the clock.” That said, the personal missions of Penn’s providers don’t always end when the workweek comes to a close.
The examples of Robert A. Burger, MD, Director of Clinical Research and Fellowship Program in Gynecologic Oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and Robert L. Giuntoli, II, MD, Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital, offer a case in point.
Racing Toward a Cure: Penn's "Together in Teal" Team
While Dr. Burger plays the bass, his colleague Dr. Robert L. Giuntoli stretches to run a race.
Since he joined Penn Medicine five years ago, Dr. Giuntoli has run and fundraised in the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) Philadelphia Run/Walk. Raising money for research and education about ovarian cancer, the event draws thousands of participants each year, include a dedicated team comprised of Penn's clinical staff.
“Penn formed a team that’s participated in the event each year to help our patients break the silence on ovarian cancer,” Dr. Giuntoli said. “I was honored to join. It’s incredible to be able to share with our patients the common purpose of educating the public.”
Dr. Giuntoli is particularly proud to participate in the event since the missions of both Penn Medicine and the NOCC "overlap so perfectly," he explained. “Both Penn and NOCC are committed to improving outcomes in women with ovarian cancer and ultimately curing the disease.”
Because he runs alongside patients, Dr. Giuntoli enjoys meeting them outside of a clinical setting, without the predetermined roles of “provider” and “patient.”
“I think it’s amazing to interact with our ovarian cancer patients on a common goal outside of medicine,” he said. “It’s great to see our patients and have them see us as real human beings rather than frozen in the role of patients or health care providers.”
Seeing his patients outside of the clinic has given Dr. Giuntoli a deeper awareness of his patients’ lives, and changed his perspective on how a cancer diagnosis affects their reality.
“I’ve gained a firsthand view of what’s at stake when we care for our patients,” he said. “They are so much more than just women with ovarian cancer. They’re mothers, daughters, and sisters who are vital to their families.”
As Drs. Burger and Giuntoli prove, Penn Medicine doesn’t stop at the clinic doors. Medicine can be a friendly chat at the finish line. It can be publishing groundbreaking research or using your talents to raise money for the eradication of a disease. It can be educating colleagues at a conference or writing a bass line for a song with a message about cancer.
At Penn Medicine, the only limit is our physicians’ creativity.
Additional Ovarian Cancer Resources from Penn