Trinity alumnus Henry DePhillips III, M.D. began his November 14 Common Hour presentation to students, faculty, and staff by dedicating his talk to his dad, Trinity Chemistry Professor Emeritus Henry DePhillips, Jr., who was among the audience of about 75 crowded into a room in Mather Hall for the fourth in the “Science for the Greater Good” series.
Like other alumni speakers in the series, DePhillips has led a distinguished career in the realm of science since graduation from Trinity. He took time out from his responsibilities as chief medical officer of Teladoc to return to campus to share his perspective about how those in science can contribute to society.
Like many speakers, DePhillips set ground rules for the audience, the first regarding the use of smart phones. To everyone’s surprise, his directive was to go ahead and use a phone to send texts or e-mails or to check facts online during his talk. In granting this permission, DePhillips swiftly introduced three key themes of his presentation: Think differently; be impatient; and make the best use of the access to information and people that technology provides.
“In a world where the pace of change is increasing all the time, those with access to knowledge have the advantage,” said DePhillips, noting his more than 1,000 LinkedIn contacts and his daily use of mobile and cloud-based technology in his work. He said that he has not worked in an office in about eight years, other than his home office, located two barn-stalls down from where a horse beds down on the farm where he and his family live near Nashville, Tennessee.
He enjoys the fast pace of his work, which involves a good deal of travel, and he is proud of how “Teladoc uses technology to help millions of people get the care that they need, efficiently and cost-effectively.” He showed a two-minute video from Teladoc, demonstrating how the company provides patients with U.S. Board-certified doctor consultations by phone or video chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for a range of non-emergency medical issues.
After earning his Trinity B.S. in biochemistry, DePhillips graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine. In detailing his career path, which included 10 years as a family physician, eight years in the health insurance industry, and, more recently, several shorter stints in a variety of healthcare and information technology management roles, he recommended that students should never be afraid to leave a position after less than a few years on the job.
DePhillips said he subscribes to the wisdom of Wayne Gretzky of professional ice hockey fame, who said “skate to where the puck is going to be,” not where it is already. By taking full advantage of technology, and always keeping one’s eyes open for the next big opportunity, said DePhillips, there is no limit to what a person can accomplish professionally, as well as in one’s personal life. “The world is at your fingertips and every day you get to choose how you’re going to use technology,” he said, noting as well the importance of living a life of integrity.
Senior neuroscience major Jessica Fortin ’14 said that while DePhillips’ message at times may have been controversial, it was pertinent to the workplace today. “He touted the benefits of being less ‘well-rounded.’ He also encouraged us to be comfortable leaving a position in which we are not utterly fulfilled and to embrace the discomfort in change.”
Fortin, who has already received word of her acceptance to two medical schools, added, “I found his talk to be inspiring, but down to earth. I spoke with him after his talk because I would love to work as a physician for Teladoc in the future. The opportunity to make a connection with an alum like Dr. DePhillips is amazing.”
DePhillips complimented the Trinity science faculty in the audience on what he saw during his visit and tour of the College. “I was impressed with the way the sciences faculty are guiding students to look at the bigger picture of how science works,” he said, citing the College’s excellent Interdisciplinary Science Program and the strong technology resources for students he saw when touring the Raether Library and Information Technology Center.
The fifth and final speaker in the “Science for the Greater Good” lecture series will be Dr. David Weinstein ’90, who visits during Common Hour on Thursday, November 21. Weinstein is associate program director for research and director of the Glycogen Storage Disease Program at the University of Florida College of Medicine.