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Who's Who: Alejandro José Videla, MD

Alejandro José Videla, MD
Chief Pulmonary Medicine, Hospital Universitario Austral, Pilar, Argentina
Professor of Primary Care Medicine, School of Biomedical Sciences, Universidad Austral
Past President Asociación Argentina de Medicina Respiratoria

Dr. Alejandro Videla
Do you think Dr. Videla:  

  • Read more than a thousand books?
  • Won a tango competition?
  • Built a hospital from the ground up?
Only two of these are true... read all the way to the end to find out which one is a lie!

Give us your ‘elevator pitch’ biography.

I was born in San Juan, a city in the southern Andean range. My father was a pediatrician and I always looked at him as a role model. So I graduated in medicine at the University of Cuyo in Mendoza and went to Buenos Aires for my residency in internal medicine. Initially, I had no idea that pulmonary medicine would be my area of work, but during my training, I became aware of the severity and impact of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on people. That was the driver for choosing pulmonology as my medical specialty. I then entered the fellowship program at the Hospital of Clinicas in Buenos Aires and did research on pulmonary infections under Dr. Carlos Luna. After finishing my training I was recruited to start a new university hospital from scratch, at the city of Pilar. I also was an advisor for the National Ministry of Health in tobacco control for several years. Finally, I ran for president of the National Respiratory Society with the goal of fostering research, education, and professional development among Argentine healthcare providers. 

What would you tell yourself as an Early Career Professional?

I would advise myself to keep in contact with good mentors. I was lucky to have several people sharing their knowledge with me with generosity. I also advise myself to develop an early career in research. For people living in Latin America, research implies a lot of work and commitment and sometimes you may feel disillusioned or feel wasted. I would also tell myself to look for the opinion of others in every single aspect of professional development. 

If you weren’t in medicine, and were in a different industry altogether, what would you be?

When I was choosing a career I made several steps to become a writer. I am convinced that in an alternate reality, I would have become one. I have read 1010 books that I am aware of, mostly science fiction. It probably would have been my area of work.

What is your favorite way to spend a day off?

Reading, spending time with friends, and biking. Buenos Aires is a great city to sightsee and I usually ride 30 miles on weekends. I also love cinema and love sharing discussions on that. 

Dr. Alejandro Videla's family

What areas of medicine are you most excited to see develop?

After the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe vaccination took a great leap forward and I think new platforms will give us tools to prevent not only infections but immunological disturbances, as well. I am also excited about how artificial intelligence resources are showing up everywhere from lung cancer screening to patient remote monitoring tools. I really believe they will help us manage patients in a more efficient way.

What is one advancement in your field you’d like to see in your career?

A unified vaccine for several respiratory pathogens could help reach a great number of people in a simplified way. I believe we’re on track for that in a short time. 

Which statement did you make up?

I made up the tango competition prize. People in Argentina are not necessarily born dancing tango and I am quite clumsy.