Dr. Jonathan Giftos, a resident in the Primary Care and Social Internal Medicine Residency Training Program, earned a BS in Chemistry at Boston College and a MD at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. During medical school he was elected to the Gold Humanism Honor Society and the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society, and was awarded the Ellen Parker Memorial Award for Outstanding Service in Geriatrics. As a first-year resident at Einstein/Montefiore, he was selected for the Bechtel Geriatrics Scholarship Award Summit at University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He recently submitted a proposal to the Harvard Macy Institute to develop a practical skills-based palliative care curriculum for Medicine interns at Montefiore.
Why I Chose Einstein/Montefiore
I was attracted to Montefiore for many reasons: its location in the Bronx, its reputation for training outstanding general internists, and its historical commitment to social medicine.
Before medical school I worked as an immigration social worker in Camden, New Jersey and at Abraham House, an organization providing alternatives to incarceration in the South Bronx. I also worked at Montefiore on a project titled "A Collaborative Approach to Control Hypertension in Diabetes", a pilot intervention to improve blood pressure and related diabetes outcomes in the Bronx. During those five years, I began to see the dramatic way that social forces such as poverty, substance abuse, and unstable housing affect health outcomes. This interest, combined with the opportunity to practice in an integrated care-delivery system that prioritizes prevention and public health, attracted me to Einstein/Montefiore and the Primary Care & Social Medicine Residency Program.
What Matters to Me
My clinical and academic interests have evolved to include aging, primary care and palliative care for vulnerable populations—communities of color, non-English-speaking patients, substance users, and the incarcerated. As medical care has become more complex and therapeutic interventions have become more sophisticated, the choices that patients need to make at the end of their lives have become more difficult. While these moments can be very challenging for both patients and families, good palliative care can make these moments less stressful by bringing renewed focus to the person behind the illness.
Being sick can be destabilizing, and as physicians we often meet patients at their most vulnerable moments when advanced age, illness, or poverty has robbed them of their dignity. In small but meaningful ways we can restore that lost dignity through compassionate, patient-centered care. Equally as important, we can leverage our position as physicians to advocate for institutional and public policies that better serve our patients and their families.
My Residency Experience So Far
My residency experience has exceeded my expectations. The patients at Montefiore are diverse and resilient and they teach me something new every day. My co-residents are smart, compassionate and deeply committed to patient care and advocacy. I couldn't ask for a better place to learn and practice medicine.