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HomeATS CommunityWho's Who ▶ Who's Who: Renee Stapleton MD, PhD, ATSF
Who's Who: Renee Stapleton MD, PhD, ATSF

Renee Stapleton MD, PhD, ATSF

  • Give us your ‘elevator pitch’ biography.

I’m a physician-scientist in pulmonary and critical care medicine whose research program focuses on supportive care therapies and communication methods for critically ill patients, with an emphasis on randomized controlled trials.  The remaining 20% of my time is spent seeing patients in pulmonary clinic and attending in our ICU; overseeing medical student research; and teaching students, residents, and fellows.


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

There will be times when you feel very discouraged, but you will get through them with hard work and the support of your outstanding mentors and sponsors.  Focus on what you feel the most passionate about, and the rest will fall into place over time.


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

First and foremost, I adore my job – it’s the best job in the world and I would do it all over again if given the chance.  I do have many interests outside of medicine, though, and I have pondered what my lives would look like if I had 9 lives to live.  I would definitely spend one of them as a chef – I love to cook and strongly considered going to culinary school before medical school but knew it wasn’t my primary career choice.  I would spend another as a local sustainable farmer.  I’ve also always been drawn to the American judiciary and legal system, and I might spend another life as a constitutional lawyer focused on non-profit advocacy and civil liberties.


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

Travelling or being outside with my family (husband and 3 kids) – skiing, camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking, etc.


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

The revolution in treatments for patients with cystic fibrosis has been phenomenal, and it’s really just beginning.  I’m not a CF specialist so only rarely see these patients, but this has been a joy to experience.


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

I think I would note two priorities here.  First, I would like to see universal comprehensive health care, for all the reasons we’ve been hearing for decades.  I would also like to see America experience a dramatic change in the ways we approach, think about, discuss, and prepare for death.  We live in a culture of fear and unpreparedness, and the experience for so many patients and families could be remarkably improved with better communication, open discussion, education, thoughtfulness, and guidance from providers.


  • Ok. Which statement did you make up?

I actually grew up in Montana and am a New England transplant (or Flatlander, as Vermonters kindly refer to people who were not raised here).