Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Collin Stewart

Monday, February 14, 2022

Get to know Dr. Collin Stewart, MD, an alumnus of the University of Arizona the College of Medicine who has continued work at Banner - University Medical Center Tucson. Originally a critical care, trauma and acute care fellow in the Department of Surgery, Dr. Stewart is now a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns, and Acute Care Surgery.

Why did you want to go into surgery, and specifically trauma?

I liked trauma and critical care. Trauma is the last true field of general surgery. In larger hospitals, trauma surgeons operate on any part of the body because injuries can happen anywhere. Aspiring trauma and critical surgeons learn as much as possible about everything. Trauma patients come with all of their preexisting medical conditions in a way that other surgical specialities don’t see. Patients aren’t medically optimized before their trauma, so knowing how to take care of their other conditions becomes important as well.

How did your training at UArizona prepare you for your career? Did you have any mentors who helped shape your experience?

I was initially interested in the strength of training and diversity of clinical exposure at the University of Arizona. The mentorship and breadth of experience during training provided for a good basis for moving forward. I knew I would be prepared for whatever job I pursued after finishing training. Dr. Bellal A Joseph, MD, FACS, Head of the Trauma Division, and Dr. Michael Ditillo, DO, FACS were influential in my experience and training at UArizona.

What do you think is most important when you are helping a patient?

A strong team approach is the most important thing. Everyone has their area of expertise and job to play in the team, but without any one of the parts, patient care falls apart. Each member of the team is just as important as another, and without the nurses, technicians, and even the people who clean the room nothing works and the team breaks down. Working in a pandemic was difficult; I think the pandemic has been hard on everyone. Trying to keep our humanity and compassion during the pandemic has been difficult, but it is necessary to continue to provide the care that our patients deserve.

Why did you want to stay here in Tucson, at B-UMCT and the University of Arizona?

I’ve always liked Tucson, and so does my wife. We decided it was a good place to continue to raise our kids. I like to run, cycle, and generally do outdoor things, and there’s a breadth of opportunity for that here in Tucson. Spending time with my family and watching my children grow up is what provides me joy and refreshes me when I go home. Without them at home, I’m not sure I would be productive at work. As for working, I love the collegiality within the trauma division, and I like all my partners I work with since I’ve met some of them from my fellowship. There are also a lot of opportunities for growth for a physician at Banner-UMC Tucson. Trauma and critical care is extremely busy in Tucson because the catchment area for our trauma center is very large. In addition, we see a large number of trauma transfers from Mexico, which adds a level of complexity to those patients given the time delay to presentation.