Faculty Spotlight: David Halpern, MD

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Dr. David Halpern is a Consulting Associate in our division and was recently appointed Medical Director for Quality for Duke Primary Care. Learn more about his work, family, and interests in our interview below.

Where do you work?

I've been caring for patients as an internist at Durham Medical Center since 2010 and also serve as Duke Primary Care's Medical Director for Quality. In my administrative role, I oversee and evaluate performance on DPC's quality and utilization metrics and help promote quality improvement initiatives across our network of practices.

What are your interests in the field?

After residency, I trained in geriatrics and preventive medicine, but never lost my love for primary care. I really enjoy getting to know my patients and their families over time and feel privileged to share in their care. In addition, I've always been fascinated by bigger public health questions: What about people who might not have adequate access to care? How can we make sure we're keeping everyone in our community healthy? My role as Medical Director for Quality lets me begin to tackle some of these larger issues.

"I really enjoy getting to know my patients and their families over time and feel privileged to share in their care."

What brought you to Duke? 

I came to this area when my wife was offered a faculty position at Duke. Both of us are northerners originally (me from New York and her from Wisconsin). Neither of us really envisioned staying here long-term, but we fell in love with the vibrant community at Duke and in Durham in general. Now we can't imagine leaving!

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?

When I'm not working, I try to spend as much time as possible with my family. I've got a 9 year-old daughter who loves dance and violin and a 6 year-old son who plays baseball and trumpet. So as you can imagine, that's how I spend a lot of my time. When I do get a free moment to myself, I love playing my banjo, taking photographs, reading a good book, or going for a hike in the woods.

Any trips you've taken recently that you would like to share?

Now that the kids are old enough to travel, my wife and I are trying to rekindle our love of visiting new places. We've recently been to visit friends in London and are excited to explore the Rocky Mountains this summer.   

Any recent books you’ve read that you’d like to share?

I read a lot. It's hard to pick just one. If I had to narrow it down, I think the book that's most affected me over the past year is a novel called "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena" by Anthony Marra. It takes place during the Chechen conflicts 20 years ago, but is ultimately about the indelible connections people make in times of strife...gorgeous writing. 

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I used to sing pretty seriously in college and traveled to more than 10 countries with my acapella group. 

What is your favorite food?

Lobster, though to be honest I'm happy to eat any shellfish.

What is your favorite restaurant?

Again, so hard to choose just one! Mateo, M Sushi, Toro Pizzeria, Panciuto, Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen, Picnic...should I go on?