The Singer File Featured

7:00pm EDT February 23, 2010

Born: Los Angeles. I was banished to America’s Siberia for four years — that was Chicago. It was pretty darn cold there.

Education: B.S. in biology from the University of California, Los Angeles; medical degree from Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University; post-doctoral internship residency in internal medicine at the University of Southern California; post-doctoral fellowship in pulmonary medicine from the University of Southern California

What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?

My first job was watching fruit flies have sex. I was studying the mating behavior of drosophila fruit flies. And what I learned from it was I didn’t want to make a career out of that. Being able to identify a male or female fruit fly is not a skill I ever want to maintain. But I can actually tell you if it’s a male or female fly, which is sick.

What got you interested in the medical field?

That would be my father. My father was a surgeon entrepreneur who owned his own hospital, and I started following him in the hospital when I was 6 years old. He always told me that medicine was like a big ball of wax and no matter what you did, if you started with health care, you could do that other thing you were interested in. And that proved to be true.

What’s your definition of success?

Obtaining goals just means I’ve got to set a new goal. I believe when you get to something that you would otherwise define as success, that’s the point you redouble your efforts. Once you climb that mountain, you look for a taller mountain to climb. So I have trouble defining success — and maybe that’s what’s driving me. To me, success is a process and it never ends. So you can obtain a goal and you can call that success, but I just call that a milestone to ultimate success, which is probably never achieved.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

For me, it’s the autonomy to create. I’ve been really fortunate to be placed in a situation where I have the ability — in the business sense — to create a vision that I had in my head 20 years ago, which ultimately is better patient care for people, to save lives.