Role Model: Amar PuttannaBMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l2236 (Published 21 May 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l2236
It was the ability to combine an interest in science and people that drew Amar Puttanna to a career in medicine, and led him to his current role as a consultant in diabetes and endocrinology and acute internal medicine at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. “I couldn’t just be a pure scientist—it was always the interaction with other people, combined with the scientific, that I liked,” he says. “Medicine seemed to be the one thing which combined both, and that’s what I gravitated to.”
Puttanna graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2009 and, after rotating through various specialties, he decided that endocrinology and diabetes was the area he wanted to focus on, having already considered it in medical school. “It took what my interests were and expanded on them,” he says. “For a specialty, it’s not so focused on a singular aspect. It’s about how you link everything together to create a plan with the patient. By looking at all the different complications and benefits, you aim to improve things.”
The specialty is undersubscribed, something that Puttanna wants to change. “There isn’t as much exposure to diabetes for students and junior doctors as there should be, considering that diabetes is one of the main conditions affecting the population,” he says.
Puttanna’s enthusiasm for his specialty has led him to be involved in organising career events to bring together some of the UK’s experts in endocrinology and diabetes to sell their specialty. “I’ve always been keen on careers advice, partly because I never got it!” he says. “My heart is in diabetes and endocrinology and I just want people to think about it as a possibility and to showcase it.”
He believes medical students and junior doctors should try to find something within medicine that really enthuses them. “Don’t hesitate to take advantage of the experience and knowledge of other people doing different things in your hospital and ask for help and opportunities,” he says. “I’ve not had a single regret choosing diabetes and endocrinology. There is so much technological and therapeutic development with a focus on patient care. It’s one of the most rapidly changing specialties with a lot of opportunities to branch out and have various interests. It’s a wonderful specialty.”
Nominated by Adam Ali
Amar Puttanna is a relatively newly appointed consultant. He was the previous chief registrar at our hospital and he won awards for patient care from the Royal College of Physicians.
He is a mentor figure for junior doctors, highlighting the benefits of specialising in diabetes and endocrinology, and he has been involved in organising career events bringing together some of the UK’s leading experts in endocrinology and diabetes to sell their speciality.
Adam Ali is a medical senior house officer in cardiology