Former chief resident Dr. Joshua Goldman will be returning to the UNLV School of Medicine this summer after completing a two-year craniomaxillofacial and microsurgery fellowship in Michigan.
A native of Texas, Goldman received an undergraduate degree at Stanford before earning his medical degree at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. He finished his six years of residency training at UNLV.
The UNLV Residency Experience
The opportunity for full-scope training is simply unparalleled. From working with world-renowned aesthetic surgeons to complex trauma, congenital, and oncologic reconstruction, to burn, hand, and adult and pediatric craniofacial surgery, I saw all of it. The curriculum design includes progressive autonomy, which makes certain that every resident leaves the program a confident plastic surgeon capable of performing at the highest level in any practice setting.”
Fellowship work in Michigan
I have performed more than 100 microsurgical breast reconstructive procedures. On the craniofacial side, I have run a clinic, treating pediatric and adult patients with cleft and craniofacial conditions.
In April I traveled to Belgium to learn from the masters of microsurgical techniques that are used in gender-confirming surgery.
What makes a good doctor?
Once you have all the certification and experience that make a competent physician — these are a necessary foundation — what makes a great doctor is personality, compassion, drive, individuality, and sincere desire to connect with, and care for, patients. It is a mixture of knowledge of, and adherence to, evidence-based medicine and dedication to patient-centered care.
It means advocating for patient and physician wellness, involvement in professional societies, scientific pursuit, engagement in quality improvement, giving back to the community and the world of medicine at large, late nights studying for tomorrows, really knowing the people I work with, making the hospital and (operating room) home, and going the extra mile to leave a place better than I found it. An innovative mindset in all of these pursuits is paramount. Driving the future of health care is just as important as its provision in the present.
On becoming a doctor
When you are applying to medical school everyone asks why you want to be a doctor and then quickly qualifies the one thing you can’t say in your application because it’s considered generic: “I love science and I want to help people.”
But there is truly no more clear and distilled version of my core reasons for pursuing medicine. I was always fascinated by math and science.
Choosing plastic surgery
The scope of plastic and reconstructive surgery is so wide that I regularly operate on a patient’s vertex scalp and the next patient’s doral foot — so the specialty literally goes from head to toe. There is a creative aspect and a pursuit of perfection that appealed to my personality originally, and my early interest in oncology has an outlet in oncologic reconstruction.
Returning to UNLV’s School of Medicine
Dr. (Richard) Baynosa (chief of plastic surgery and the residency program director) exemplified consummate professionalism and leadership throughout my residency training, and his patience for teaching difficult tasks like microvascular surgery and commitment to providing Southern Nevada with the care and attention to detail it deserves from its health care providers inspired my choice to pursue further subspecialty training — and to return.
All of the faculty acted as mentors in different ways, and I have tried to incorporate the things I admire most into my own practice of plastic surgery. They have set the plastic surgery program on a path of exponential growth with unlimited potential, and I could not be more excited to be part of it.
I’ll be working with the rest of the faculty to build and grow a gender affirmation surgery program. Over the last several years, a classically marginalized group has built a strong voice with growing acceptance, which has resulted in a global push to provide much-needed surgical and medical services to the population. My training in general plastic surgery, coupled with sub-specialization in microsurgical and craniofacial techniques, will allow me to provide both top and bottom surgery as part of my practice.
The challenge in building a program is the need for interdisciplinary teamwork. We certainly have the surgical expertise among us to perform surgeries, but we will have to build a team of physicians and health care professionals that are as passionate as us about serving this community. The new medical school will help bring a lot of those providers together, and I look forward to spearheading these efforts.
My fellowship experience has afforded me a lot to bring back and add value to our existing program and to build new programs for currently underserved patients. With the medical school and the efforts of Dean (Barbara) Atkinson and other founding members, Vegas is set up to become a leader in the nation across all specialties and I’m thrilled to have something unique to contribute.
The final key is demonstrating the value of that to the community. I really believe the plastic surgery department can be to medicine in Las Vegas what the Vegas Golden Knights was for sports. I’m excited to be part of the group building a community around health care advancement.
Despite winning several scholarships, Dr. Joshua Goldman funded much of his education through student loans. A winner of an essay contest sponsored by the American College of Surgeons, he calls the student loan debt situation “nothing short of an epidemic crisis.” Read his essay “Residentured Servitude” on Medium.