I am ASCPT: Walter Kraft

Author: [AUTHOR] Published on 6/1/2023 12:00:00 AM

Walter Kraft
Walter Kraft, MD, Professor of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA

What are you looking forward to as you begin your term as President?
People are the power in a society. I have repeatedly seen dedicated members and staff work through ASCPT to bring the best science forward. Collaborating with such smart and dynamic people all along the axis of clinical pharmacology is what I look forward to. ASCPT really does help catalyze medicine to improve human health, and I am excited to contribute to this goal.

What is the most important leadership lesson you have learned the hard way?
I have learned many bruising lessons in my career, but the earliest was to get all sides of the story. The larger truth behind this nugget is that leadership involves information management. One needs to know as much as reasonably possible when making a decision. This also means knowing where uncertainty exists and what one's blind spots are. When I see patients, I almost always need to make decisions based on incomplete or ambiguous data, and such thinking has informed other professional tasks I have. It also means defining what “best” means when we seek to make the “best decision.” All decisions are statements about values and involve trade-offs.

What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
At the beginning of my career, my medical internship was quite a challenge. More recently, COVID-19 required me to spend increased time in the hospital. At the same time, I needed to make dramatic changes in how we educated our trainees, oversaw institutional research regulation, I managed a remote research staff, and I kept my own research afloat. Neither epoch was “fun” at the time, and I would not willingly repeat either, but like all the challenges it certainly taught me a lot and time has sanded off some of the rougher aspects of the memories.

When you aren't working, how do you spend your free time?
Riding a bicycle has so many things going for it, but freedom is the key appeal. I do 4,000 miles a year, mostly commuting to work. I follow some of my fellow ASCPT members on the Strava app and would love to connect with others. My other love is live music and the power of connection between the audience and the artist. The best part of the ebbing of COVID for me (other than fewer critically ill patients) has been the reopening of concert venues.

What is your favorite society memory?
It is not a single event. Instead, time and time again I have been at an Annual Meeting session and been amazed at the presentation. The real magic of ASCPT is this repeating every year.

Walter has been a member of ASCPT since 1999.

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