Dr. David Isaacson is the only person in his family to enter the medical field. In fact, inspired by his father, he initially majored in Electrical Engineering. “I was also passionate about the craft of model making,” he explains. “My father and I would spend hours creating replicas of ships and airplanes.”
During his freshman year at Virginia Tech, however, all that changed. He had the opportunity to shadow a local physician on a few overnight shifts in the emergency room. “I realized that the human body presented some of the most complex problems that could be solved through physical intervention. This is what drew me to the craft of surgery and a career in medicine.”
In particular, it was the challenges and diversity presented by the face and neck that drew him to specialize in otolaryngology. “In addition to being the primary means of how we are perceived by others,” he says, “the face is the means through which we see, hear, smell and breathe. Even a smile can be lost because of trauma, cancer, or a congenital defect in the face.” As an otolaryngologist, he is often called upon to restore form and function to this critical and complex area of the body.
From the newborn to the elderly, Dr. Isaacson believes in treating each patient with the same care and concern as he would his own family member. “When they are in my care, patients have my full attention and commitment to their health and well-being. They motivate me to continuously improve and to deliver the best care possible.”
Who is or was the most influential person/role model in your life?
My residency director, Dr. Scott Stringer. Dr. Stringer emphasized the importance of an in-depth knowledge of the human anatomy and how this is a prerequisite for optimal patient care.
What was your first job growing up? What do you remember about it?
I was a violin instructor and played as a professional violinist through college. I enjoyed meeting other musicians and having the opportunity to partake in performances like operas and ballets.
In addition to medicine, what are you passionate about?
I am passionate about being the best father I can be to my three children. Teaching medical students at IU School of Medicine has been another passion of mine since moving to the South Bend area 21 years ago. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, cycling and cooking with my kids.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
While I was on faculty at the University of Florida, I served as a physician to space shuttle astronauts. Also, I provide pro bono care for many of the animals at the Potawatomi Zoo. My most famous patient at the zoo is a chimpanzee called Babyface.