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Celebrating Healthcare Professionals - Lyle Larson

Posted by Dean Celia

Apr 7th 2022

Oakstone CME is excited to celebrate healthcare professionals like you this month! Each week we will be spotlighting one of our own contributors so you can get to know the people behind the content.

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Oakstone CME is constantly on the lookout for expert clinicians to help in its effort to offer quality continuing medical education programming. Recently, we were introduced to Lyle Larson, PA-C, PhD, DFAAPA , a Seattle-based physician assistant who specializes in cardiology. After a bit of discussion, it became clear that Oakstone’s cardiology programming could benefit from his input. He’s jumped in head-first, conducting an in-depth assessment of Oakstone CME's CMEinfo Insider cardiology program. For good measure, he participated in a recent Medication Matters segment covering heart failure.

We will soon begin meeting with Lyle monthly to figure out the best programming to add to CMEinfo Insider for cardiology, and how to make it practical. As you will read below, Lyle’s educational approach is to “make complex things simple and simple things obvious.” That, obviously, makes the decision to work with him an excellent one.

We recently sat down with Lyle to learn a little bit more about his background and personal interests, and asked what advice he would give to up and coming clinicians.

What led you to the medical field, and how long have you been practicing?

While in undergrad school, I began thinking that although chemistry was interesting and intellectually stimulating, something was missing. As I learned more and more about the practice of medicine, it checked all the boxes I expected of myself as a productive member of society; the opportunity to serve, be a lifelong learner, to work as a team toward the greater good, the expectation to contribute to my community, career flexibility, and job security.  Over the last 38 years, my career has provided all of this for me and more.

Why did you choose to focus on cardiology?

In many ways, my specialty chose me. Electrophysiology was a new specialty in the early to mid-1980’s. When I first heard about this specialty, I thought, as a new practitioner, that this would be an ideal opportunity to enter a new specialty on the ground floor and contribute to its growth. That’s exactly what happened.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?  

What I find most enjoyable is the diagnostic and procedural challenges associated with cardiac arrhythmias. The field has evolved in ways I never would have imagined, and it’s been quite the ride. I also find it personally rewarding training fellows in surgical procedures related to pacemaker and defibrillator implantation, watching them as they have their “ah ha” moments.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give a student pursuing your field?  

My advice over the years has always been to be curious, never stop learning, ask why, and don’t succumb to dogma.

How did you get involved in continuing medical education (CME)?  

My entire career in medicine has been in an academic medical center. I’ve always been exposed and have been expected to be active in medical education. I’ve also been very involved with the administrative side of medicine and have been fortunate to have had excellent mentors.

How do you make earning CME fun/entertaining?

My greatest joy in earning CME is having those “ah ha” moments myself when finally understanding something that I had previously struggled with. When I teach, I always try to make complex things simple and simple things obvious. It is immensely rewarding when I am on the receiving end of the same philosophy. This is what makes lifelong learning fun and entertaining.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?  

I am an avid cyclist. I’ve recently gotten into bicycle touring and distance riding. I also love any sort of winter sport, particularly cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

If you had to pick another profession outside of medicine, what would it be?  

I would likely have been an architect as I really enjoyed mechanical drawing in high school. I worked as a draftsman while in undergrad school.


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