2020 marked the 30th year that Dr. Robert Kadas has served as Symposia Medicus’ Chairman of the Board. In September 2020, Symposia Spotlight connected with Dr. Kadas to get insights on his medical career, tenure as Chairman of the Board, and overall ethos.
Dr. Robert Kadas is anything but a cliché. However, he has admitted being guilty of some familiar physician stereotypes.
“I enjoy playing golf,” quipped Kadas. “But I am a much better doctor than I am a golfer.”
Dr. Kadas has been in the medical profession for over 50 years. He attended medical school at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California before serving his residency also in Los Angeles. He then entered the military and served as a pediatrician in the U.S. Navy. Afterward, he moved to Northern California where he has maintained a private practice and serves as Associate Medical Director for John Muir Medical Center/Stanford Children’s Health Pediatric Partnership and continues to see patients a few days a week. For the past 30 years, Dr. Kadas has also served as Chairman of the Board for Symposia Medicus.
Stereotypes aside, the typical practicing physician may look different according to Dr. Kadas. From starting at a practice of six pediatricians to partnering with a hospital that manages the practice and over 300 physicians, Dr. Kadas suggested that this may be an ongoing trend. “I think we will continue to see fewer physicians in private practice,” said Kadas. “It is hard to run a business and take care of patients in today’s world. Also, newer physicians want to see patients without having to open an office. I see continuing larger entities employing providers to provide care.”
Dr. Kadas also noted the challenges he has seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I think the biggest challenge is to make sure that you and your staff remain healthy while continuing to provide care,” said Kadas.
And to keep up with the changing times, telemedicine is another trend in medicine that Dr. Kadas learned to navigate. “I have always wanted to do telemedicine because it was a way to help patients who weren’t able to make it into the office,” Kadas remarked. For the past few years, Dr. Kadas had wanted to do telemedicine in his practice, but since his health network had restrictive policy for telemedicine, that was not possible.
Then entered the COVID-19 pandemic and a prevalent need for virtual patient care. Policies were revised in response to the pandemic and telemedicine was implemented into Dr. Kadas’ practice. “We had a great transition in my office to allow telemedicine video chats,” said Kadas. “We are doing video visits and only doing face-to-face care (with masks) for well visits or preventative care. Just because we all have to shelter-in-place does not mean that routine medical care isn’t necessary. It has been important to make sure that patients are keeping up with their immunizations, especially now.”
Dr. Kadas has also seen the challenges that face CME providers, like Symposia Medicus. “Continuing to provide CME in the COVID-19 era will be a challenge,” Kadas noted. “We are going to have to become creative. I know that this is foremost in the thoughts of the Board and staff of our organization.”
Dr. Kadas has a long history of providing CME, almost as long as he has been in the medical profession. “I became involved with Symposia Medicus in the ‘80s when the mother of one of my patients went to work for the company. She was in charge of pediatric meetings and I became her sounding board to find out what pediatricians were interested in learning,” said Kadas. “It was my entry into an amazing organization of which I’m glad my involvement continues. I joined the Board a few years later and have served as Chairman since 1990.”
“I have learned a lot and have always been impressed that quality is the most important part of our conferences with respect to both content and location,” recalled Kadas. As Chairman of the Board, Dr. Kadas has also traveled to and attended many Symposia Medicus conferences on pediatrics and benefitted from the education. “I always take away new things and take them back to my practice,” commented Kadas. “I love how practical the things presented at our conferences are for a provider who does patient care.”
Quality and resilience are two attributes that Dr. Kadas would use to describe Symposia Medicus. Since Symposia Medicus was founded in 1978, Dr. Kadas noted one of the biggest challenges the organization had faced was the recession during the late 1980s. “We were able to survive and what we learned during those years has helped us weather various storms,” recalled Kadas. “Some literal—hurricanes, for example. Other figurative storms—more recessions and also post 9/11, Symposia Medicus has made it through a lot over the years.”
Even now, Dr. Kadas has confidence that Symposia Medicus will persevere through the most trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic and sheltering-in-place. “Fortunately, we [Symposia Medicus] are in excellent shape, have a great staff, and will get through the crazy COVID-19 epidemic,” said Kadas.
Over the past 30 years Dr. Kadas has seen a myriad of challenging times like the present, but he has also been present for the more enjoyable moments travelling with Symposia Medicus.
Deciding on a Symposia Medicus “favorite destination” of his proved to be an impossible task for Dr. Kadas. From lounging on a beach in the Caribbean, to taking in a Broadway show in New York City, or running the slopes at any ski destination from Big Sky to Beaver Creek, there were too many favorites to choose from.
It seems that Dr. Kadas can find excitement at any Symposia Medicus conference; even if he has to create the excitement himself. “I went to a conference in Barbados, where they drive on the opposite side of the street—like in England. Between that and all the roundabouts, I ended up driving on the wrong side way too many times to count,” Kadas reminisced. “Amazing that nobody was killed.”
Dr. Kadas’ dry humor and levelheadedness suggests that he does not waste time feeling malcontent. He finds balance in his life by managing work and time with his family. “I have a wonderful family,” said Kadas. “Great kids and grandkids, and a wife who keeps me from getting bored.”
“For me, success in life is being happy with who you are,” asserted Kadas. “It’s not very complicated, but sometimes hard to do.”
Sarah Reagan is a Conference Planner for Symposia Medicus. She lives in Concord, CA.