Who's Who

HomeATS CommunityWho's Who ▶ Who's Who: David A. Kaminsky, MD
Who's Who: David A. Kaminsky, MD

  • Give us your ‘elevator pitch’ biography.

I have been a Pulmonary and Critical Care physician at University of Vermont since completing my fellowship training at University of Colorado in 1995. I have had the great privilege of being a part of the development and growth of our division over these many years.  I spend about 50 percent of my time seeing patients in the hospital on the consult service, in the medical ICU, and in clinic, and I spend my other time teaching, doing research in pulmonary physiology and clinical trials in asthma and COPD, and serving as Chair of the University of Vermont IRB.  I am very involved in the ATS, presenting research and teaching in post-graduate courses, chairing the Proficiency Standards for Pulmonary Function Laboratories Committee, participating in writing committees related to pulmonary function testing, and spearheading an effort to create a Pulmonary Function Laboratory Accreditation Program.

  • What would you tell yourself as an Early Career Professional?

One of the challenges of being an early career professional is that there are more opportunities than there is time to accomplish everything.  I remember feeling overwhelmed at times, particularly with academic and administrative issues, but all it took was one good day in clinic or the ICU to remind me of why I went in to this profession.  So, I would tell myself back then to always keep the big picture in mind, and appreciate the excitement and challenge of teaching and research, as well as the privilege of caring for patients.

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

I have always loved math and physics, and teaching, so I imagine that I would be a high school physics teacher.  Alternatively, I might also have been an astronomer, as I have always been fascinated by the universe.

  • What is your favorite way to spend a day off?

My favorite leisure activity is to spend the day in the mountains hiking with my family and dogs.  I’m also an avid rower, love sailing, and have started to explore backcountry skiing.

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

I am intrigued by the concepts of systems biology and machine learning.  I would like to see medicine evolve to encompass both of these disciplines to enhance our understanding of disease and care of patients.  I am particularly intrigued by how approaching disease from a systems view allows an understanding that cannot be gained by using a reductionist approach only. I suspect this is why so many promising targeted therapies found in animals fail or are only partially successful in people.  But, at the same time, I think this approach can only be successful if we maintain the human element of medicine.

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

We are learning more and more about how to characterize asthma on a molecular scale, but we must not lose sight of the underlying physiology. In particular, the role of small airways and airway closure appears to be significant, but we need reliable ways to detect these abnormalities non-invasively, and then be clever enough to develop treatment strategies that optimize therapy based on different physiological phenotypes of disease.

  • Ok. Which statement did you make up?

Vermont is known for both maple syrup and cows, but I don’t actually milk my own cows.

David Kaminsky, MD with dogs