CALTCM Member Profile: James Mittelberger, MD, MPH, CMD

What are you passionate about in long term care? How are you pursuing your passion?
I believe a skilled physician can make a huge impact with a long term care team.  The patients have complex medical needs, and it is so rewarding to see how we improve their care working together. I am passionate about the need for strong interdisciplinary teams to provide really effective care. I am also passionate about the need for systems to consistently discuss and communicate about intensity of care preferences (as with POLST) and to improve quality with continuous quality improvement.

What advice would you give to a new graduate contemplating a career in long-term care?
In addition to a clinical setting which is rewarding, I would suggest getting involved in CALTCM and AMDA to find support for some kind of project that is meaningful for you.  Find a mentor and establish a work/life balance.

What additional training do you wish you had that may help with your current practice?
I went from my internal medicine training to become a clinic medical director.  In retrospect, more formal training earlier, with a mentor, would have been helpful.  Try to get involved with an exciting mentor as early as possible. CALTCM and AMDA can help you find a leader who is a good fit for you.

How has CALTCM impacted your practice?
CALTCM has provided a network of colleagues with a passion for quality in long term care. It is a bulwark against the sense of isolation that can develop in LTC and home care practice. It provides the best source of information about issues in LTC practice in CA, especially at the annual meeting. CALTCM also provides stunning exposure to the leaders and trends in LTC in California and nationwide.