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6.13.2019

Father and Son Alumni and Faculty Share Dedication to Curing Diseases of the Pancreas

Jodie Barkin, M.D. ’11, admires his father’s commitment to patients with pancreatic diseases and other gastrointestinal disorders.

“My dad is a godfather in the field of pancreatology,” he says. “It’s very special for me to work with him as a partner, mentor, and colleague. He’s a great role model for having an accomplished career in academic medicine.”

In turn, Jamie Barkin, M.D. ’70, is impressed with his son’s love of clinical care, research, and teaching.

“I am fortunate in being able to practice with my son, who is already a leader in the next generation of pancreas specialists,” he said.

Together, the Barkins practice at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine — father and son physicians and alumni, who share not only a deep connection to their alma mater, but an unrelenting commitment to state-of-the art treatments and cures for patients suffering from pancreatic illnesses.

A Family of ’Canes

Both Barkins have many things in common, including double-board certifications in internal medicine and gastroenterology, and are part of a long and growing ’Canes tradition that stretches throughout their families.

Jamie, professor of medicine and an internationally recognized gastroenterologist, earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Miami, followed by internship and residency in internal medicine and fellowship in gastroenterology at UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital.

His wife, Faith Barkin, M.D. ’74, completed her undergraduate and medical degrees, as well as residency and fellowship, at UM and practiced nuclear medicine until her retirement.

Their son, Jodie, assistant professor of clinical medicine, also earned his undergraduate and medical degrees at UM, followed by residency in internal medicine, fellowship in gastroenterology, and advanced pancreatology fellowship at UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital.

His wife, Heather Barkin, M.D. ’13, is a practicing anesthesiologist, who also completed her education at UM. It is far too early to say whether their son, Jacob, born in 2018, will follow their ’Canes tradition.

A Distinguished Career

Jamie grew up in Miami and earned an undergraduate degree in accounting and economics at the Miami Business School.

“One of the first people I met on campus was Rick Barry [an all-star basketball player who starred for the San Francisco Warriors],” he said. “I swam inter-collegiately and learned a lot from the wonderful faculty. By my sophomore year, I had decided to go into medicine.”

As a medical student, he decided to specialize in gastroenterology for two reasons.

“It was a field where you could help patients through the cycle of diagnosis, treatment, and management,” he said. “I also had two great mentors,” referring to Arvey Rogers, M.D., now professor emeritus, and the late Martin Kalser, M.D., who has been recognized by an endowed chair in his name.

Jamie soon became interested in the pancreas, and it became the focal point for his clinical and research career at the Miller School. Throughout his career, he has written or co-authored more than 500 articles, abstracts, and book chapters, as well as textbooks. He is a past president of the Florida Gastroenterologic Society, past president of the American College of Gastroenterology, and a former member of the Board of Regents of the American College of Physicians.

He also distinguished himself as a U.S. Army Reserve Major General, in charge of the 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) before and during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The MEDCOM team was responsible for medical treatment of all American military personnel in Kuwait and Iraq, as well as the care of coalition soldiers.

“Being in the military teaches you the value of taking care of the people under your command,” he said. “You want to make sure the soldiers are healthy and well-prepared for battle, and their needs are met if they are injured or fall ill.”

Jamie spent several years as UM’s chief of gastroenterology at Mount Sinai Medical Center on Miami Beach, before moving his clinical practice back to the medical campus in 2014. His list of accolades includes a George F. Paff Teaching Award, presented annually by Miller School students, the Department of Medicine Outstanding Clinician Award, and selection into the Miller School Alumni Hall of Fame.

In his research, he has studied the management and complications of acute and chronic pancreatitis, the management of pancreatic cysts, and the use of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy.

A Young Professional

Like his father, Jodie came to medicine in a roundabout way.

“I had thought about law and government, particularly on the policy side,” he said. “Even though I had decided to pursue a career in medicine, I kept my undergraduate major in political science, and wrote my senior thesis on health policy and disaster preparedness.”

He has continued on the path of advocacy, serving his patients and profession on the state and national level. He serves as a representative of the Florida Gastroenterologic Society to the Florida Medical Association, and has been the course director of the Annual Meeting for the Florida Gastroenterologic Society.

On the national level, he has served the American College of Gastroenterology as a member of the National Affairs Committee focusing on advocacy efforts of the organization, and currently serves on the Educational Affairs Committee, Annual Meeting Subcommittee, and Self-Assessment Test Subcommittee.

That commitment to education reflects his desire to help and educate both patients and practitioners, while delivering clinical care, conducting research, and training the next generation of pancreas specialists.

Jodie remembers attending the homecoming festivities as a kid, going to UM football games, and watching the University grow.

“I learned from an early age that being part of the ‘U’ meant being part of something bigger in the ’Canes family,” he said. “These are words of wisdom I carry with me to this day.”

Their dedication to the principles of leadership, scholarship, character, humility, and love of alma mater earned each of them selection into Iron Arrow Honor Society, the highest honor attained at the University of Miami. Both Jamie and Jodie went on to serve the organization in leadership roles, solidifying their dedication to the ‘U.’

The two physicians will continue to work together, helping patients, while advancing research into new treatments and cures. Their dedication to the field is a major reason the National Pancreas Foundation designated the Miller School as a Center of Excellence for the care and treatment of patients with pancreatic diseases, one of only three such facilities in the state.

“Every day, my father is excited about determining our patients’ problems and helping them feel better,” Jodie said. “He is an inspiration to me and our entire team.”

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