Network Under 40
Join Network Under 40 on June 21 at AJ’s Good Time Bar, country music star Alan Jackson’s restaurant and bar, located in the heart of downtown Nashville. With
Growing up in a small town in Southeast Georgia, Dr. Mark Aaron closely watched the town’s sole family practitioner. This admiration made him want to become a physician.
“I saw how many lives he touched,” says Aaron. “It looked like the path I wanted to take.”
Although he originally saw himself going into primary care—like the physician hero of his youth—he was drawn to cardiology because of its logic. “Cardiology is like plumbing and electricity,” he says. “It makes sense. I became fascinated by the technology and treatments available.”
Aaron came to Nashville to join the cardiology team at Saint Thomas Hospital in 2000. He was drawn to Saint Thomas because he was trained in transplant cardiology. In a little over a decade, he has seen huge strides in heart health care. “People used to have a heart attack and stay in the hospital for a week,” he explains. “Now someone who has had a heart attack can often go home the next day. We are able to keep heart patients living full lives.”
But, according to Aaron, the paperwork in medicine is stressful. “Documentation and electronic medical recording are very important, but as physicians we were not trained to deal with the high volume of paperwork in medicine today,” he says. “I don’t want technology to be a barrier to my patients. I worry that the paperwork associated with patient care takes time away from the patient.”
Time is something Aaron likes to give, to his patients as well as to his family. With three children—two of them teenagers—he’s always looking for chances to connect, to just “hang out.” Although a busy practice is demanding of his time, Aaron says he tries to keep his personal and professional lives separate.
His ability to separate work from home is evident in his support of the local music scene. He and his wife host house concerts in the fall and spring, inviting local musicians to play.
“I’m not a musician myself; I guess I’m just a groupie,” he laughs.