The Medical Honors Program (MHP) integrates leadership training into the curriculum, and as a result, many leaders in the medical field have emerged from this unique program. Dr. Christopher Cogle, an alumnus from the UF COM class of 1997, represents leadership in the numerous fields of oncology, academic medicine, clinical research, and health policy. When reflecting on his journey through the MHP, he recalls nervously asking a medical question to a faculty professor who answered, “you are going to be a medical student, and you are going to answer that yourself.” Dr. Cogle saw this lesson as an invitation for the responsibility to be a lifelong learner. As one of the youngest medical students in his class, he observed two unique qualities in him and his MHP peers; honesty to themselves and a willingness to help others. Along with discovering values that help you become a better physician, Dr. Cogle remembers the opportunity of exploring the integrative values of empathy, adaptability in communication, and compassion, in which he continues to grow.
The current class has been seeking answers from different MHP alumni to the question: what separates an “A” student from a “B” student in the MS3 clerkships? Dr. Cogle answered that “A” students are highly observant, self-directed, and spread high energy. Meanwhile, the qualities of an exceptional Resident and Attending differ from a medical student in order to create successful dynamics. He remarks on the values of listening, creating a space for others to comfortably express their ideas, and continuing to grow a curiosity to cultivate your medical career.
Last semester, the MHP class read Simon Sinek’s book, “Start With WHY.” Dr. Cogle has succeeded in becoming a leader in medical oncology and more recently, in health policy. Specifically, he helps to direct medical education programs and represents physicians at the Florida Medical Association. When asked about his WHY, Dr. Cogle highlights his role as a policy leader on the topic of physician burnout. His WHY is defined by his passion to design new policies that alleviate physicians from this injury and facilitates their ability to practice medicine with compassion and curiosity. By eliminating barriers which prevent the practice of good medicine, physicians’ innate leadership power will benefit them and more importantly, their patients.
Considering the values that Dr. Cogle believes make him a better physician, we asked him to reflect on any hobbies that translate into any of those values. He recognizes the power of music to teach the importance of listening and harmonizing with surroundings. He and his children are also part of the Cub Scout Pack 416, where he has learned to incorporate the 12 values of Scout Law (trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent) into becoming a better leader for his patients, and the physicians that he represents.