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.
As a teen, Prentiss Taylor, MD, FACP, lost his two beloved uncles to preventable diseases in the span of just three years. That’s pretty much all it took to cement his desire to enter the medical profession.
At first the internist, who serves as Vice President of Medical Affairs at Doctor On Demand in Chicago and Chief Medical Editor at Oakstone, did a stint in pulmonary medicine. But after some time, he realized he was spending the bulk of his time treating the end stage of these illnesses. “I wanted at a more system level to help prevent these diseases, so I decided to make a small change and reorient to general internal medicine,” said Prentiss.
His desire to do even more, along with encouragement from a mentor, led him to pursue management courses and eventually go to business school. After that, he became certified in preventive medicine. Prentiss had a knack for achieving whatever he set out to do, like becoming chief of the specialty division at a well-known community hospital. But once he attained it, he felt in some ways it was a hollow victory.
“I had this title, but in my mind, I wasn’t doing enough to prevent the end state of these chronic illness that I was seeing all the time,” he said. “That was a revelation for me.”
He also became a proponent of healthy living in his personal and professional life. When he’s not working you can find him doing all types of outdoor activities such as running, bicycling, and golf with friends
His commitment to physical fitness extends to speaking as much as he can about cardiovascular disease prevention. (His one uncle died at 47 years of age from a massive heart attack.)
“I enjoy talking to people whether it’s in community groups or national webinars in my current day job,” said Prentiss. “I speak on a variety of subjects, but many of my talks are about cardiovascular disease prevention.”
In fact, a high point of his career was when he spoke at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting. “It was kind of like speaking at the republican or democratic national convention with thousands of people out in the audience,” he recalled.
Another topic he’s been called on to speak about lately is healthcare disparity. “Since George Floyd’s murder, a lot of our society has pivoted to think more and do more about these kinds of disparities, realizing we could be a more equitable society,” he said.
But Prentiss isn’t just a top-notch internist and speaker, he’s a prolific writer, too.
He’s recently been published 17 times in various media. And he’s extremely proud of the paper he published in the February 20, 2022, issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings on the topic hypertension control through telemedicine for which he was the project’s lead physician.
Prentiss’s passion for writing started in high school and has continued through all stages of his life.
During college, he did a summer internship at Newsweek magazine. “They offered me a job to be an entry level journalist on their staff. Apparently, I had some writing talent that could be nurtured,” he recalled with a chuckle. “Writing and journalism has been a long interest of mine, and I seriously considered being a full-time journalist.”
In fact, when Prentiss was in medical school, he had the honor of being an assistant to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, Franz Ingelfinger, MD.
“It was a part-time job, but Dr. Ingelfinger took an interest in me. I didn’t write in that position, but being in that culture and around him made a tremendous impression on me. I’ve been very privileged.”
Prentiss doesn’t take the opportunities he’s had for granted. He pays it forward by mentoring students and various student programs. He’s also on the board of community programs that scope out young people from disadvantaged communities.
“Being able to help raise and promote the next generation in medicine gives me a lot of satisfaction,” said Prentiss proudly. “I encourage them to experiment with the options in their career path to find the thing that really resonates with them. And then to think about how they can contribute to it. It’s part of living a purpose driven life – finding your purpose, knowing your purpose, magnifying your purpose, and sticking to it over a prolonged period to make significant contributions.”
Prentiss’s passion for medicine, public speaking, writing, mentoring and learning seem to make him the perfect fit for Chief Medical Editor at Oakstone. And he uses this position to mentor even more.
“I encourage young physicians and other healthcare professional to get involved with and give their input in the world of CME,” he said. “It’s a very exciting project that we’ve gotten involved with very recently at Oakstone. We’re looking at the next generation of clinicians and how CMEs need to be innovative to make sure the programs resonate with and are appealing to the generation of doctors who are in their 20s and 30s now.”
And, according to Prentiss, there’s no better time to get involved with CMEs because there’s so much going on.
The internet and app-based programs have made CMEs more accessible. And webinars and podcasts make it more entertaining. People can access them anywhere, anytime on their personal devices.
If there is one message that Prentiss wants to pass on to the younger generation of doctors, it’s “devote yourself to holistic and healthy practices in your personal life because that helps you avoid burnout and helps you reflect the joy of medical practice with your patients and colleagues.”