An Integral Community

Community is defined by a group of people that experience a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. This community supports us during our most difficult times and looks to us for reciprocal support. Furthermore, providing strength to other members of the community allows us to gain further strength to push towards common goals. I have been extremely fortunate to join a number of communities.

I am blessed to be supported by my primary family consisting of my wife, son, sister, parents, and all of my friends outside of work. They are always there to support me even though they often know that my patients and work will come first. Without them, I certainly would not be able to complete my training and the long hours I regularly spend at work. Whenever I am in a difficult situation, I imagine my wife and son waiting for me at the end of the day. This allows me to face any challenge.

Art provided by featured Artist Jen Vallina of One Sock On Photography

My colleagues at work and at other major academic hospitals form an integral network. This community consists of doctors, residents, fellows, nurses, administrators, secretaries, janitors, and technicians. I could not do my job without the help of the entire team. Together we are bound by a common goal: to provide the best possible care for our patients and train the next set of leaders in the cerebrovascular field.

My research laboratory and community work towards a common goal: to develop novel medical therapies, imaging modalities, and minimally invasive treatments options for our patients. This starts at a basic science level and goes through translational research and finally clinical research trials. This includes doctors at my institution and other major centers in a diverse number of fields including neurosurgery, neurology, radiology, vascular medicine, engineering, genetics, proteomics, epidemiology, neuroscience, molecular biology, pharmacology, and regenerative medicine. On the ground floor are those in my laboratory every day and my clinical trials team working towards the next breakthrough in the cerebrovascular field.

Foundations like the National Institute of Health and The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation (TAAF) form an integral community. These organizations support our patients and research. This includes providing education for our patients both in person, on the internet, and via brochures. In-person and virtual (internet) meetings and forums support the complex emotional challenges experienced by our patients and their families. These organizations also focus our politicians to create laws and fight for funding to better serve our patients and research.

My patients form an integral community. Before I treat a patient, I let them know that we will become life-long friends. Regardless of the type of treatment, most patients will at least require long-term imaging follow up. My patients are the bravest people that I am fortunate enough to meet on a daily basis. Only a patient and their families can begin to explain the endless challenges they face. Seeing patients overcome these challenges and watching them work hard every day to attain exceptional outcomes provides me with the strength to give 110% every day.

To all my communities, thank you for your hard work and support!

Click the photo to learn more about Dr. Starke, MD.