Meet your chief resident: Jason Webb, MD

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Jason A. Webb, MD always knew he wanted to be a doctor. He just didn’t realize his calling towards internal medicine would lead him to psychiatry, global health, or holistic care. But as a resident at Duke, the Las Vegas native learned that medicine works – or doesn’t – on the whole person, not just on a disease.

“When I decided to become a doctor, I realized I wanted to treat the whole patient,” Webb said.  “I wanted to help take care of the diabetes and the depression. The question was, ‘Can I do both?’”

At Duke, Webb found an answer to that question in the school’s five-year combined Medicine and Psychiatry Residency training program, one of the only combined programs in the country. Webb, who attended medical school at the University of Nevada, said the interdisciplinary program attracted him to Duke, and it has afforded him rich opportunities to interact with patients and their families. Now, that bio-psycho-social approach to care will guide Webb as he becomes chief resident of the Durham VA Medical Center (DVAMC)in July.

“The role of the resident in the DVAMC is prominent in regards to patient care and responsibility on the medical team,” said Webb. “I love synthesizing complicated patient care and teaching at the bedside, so I’m thrilled to be chief resident.”

As chief resident, Webb said he will continue the DVAMC’s tradition of providing clinical education for residents through nightly sign-outs, using evidence-based medicine, and, of course, weekly pizza nights.

“It’s also a highlight to be serving this patient population,” said Webb. “They’ve given so much to our country.”

The DVAMC has been a home to Webb for the last several years; currently he works in the Pain and Symptom Management Clinic, co-located with oncology. Webb helps identify the psychiatric needs and challenges of cancer patients.

“At the DVAMC, cancer patients meet with their oncologist, then meet with me,” said Webb. “We talk about if they’re sleeping, eating, and how their family is handling the illness.”

After his chief residency year, Webb plans to pursue a career in academic palliative medicine.  He’s interested in clinician education, symptom management, and psychiatric co-morbidities.  He said his eyes have also been opened to global health and medicine while at Duke.  He spent a summer in Kenya, and “fell in love” with palliative and psychiatric care there.

“The situations that bring us to depression or anxiety disorders are different in different cultures,” said Webb. “But at the end of the day, the whole patient needs treatment no matter where he lives.”

Webb also considers himself a whole person: An English minor as an undergraduate, the doctor writes poetry, which can be found on his blog, Limbic Music.