Edward D. Fein, M.D./ Thomas A. Schwartzer, M.D.
A closeup of Edward D. Fein, M.D., and Thomas A. Schwartzer, M.D. about humble beginnings and leadership moments.
Edward D. Fein, M.D., wears many hats during the course of a day. Board-certified in internal medicine and pulmonary and critical care, he joined Saint Peter’s University Hospital in 1995 after medical school, residency and fellowship training, all at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He also runs the Central Jersey Lung Center in Jamesburg, and a side business in medical technology. Dr. Fein, 46, grew up in Brooklyn and now lives in East Brunswick with his wife, Susan, and children, Rachel, 15, and Matthew, 12.
Q: Were you always interested in medicine?
A: I was interested in both taking care of people and solving problems. I do a lot of both now. Along with managing my practice and my critical care work in the Intensive Care Unit at Saint Peter’s, I also work as a hospitalist for other physicians. I help them with admissions, patient contact and in-hospital care, so they can spend more time in their offices treating other patients. I run it as a private service-they call me to help, and I do.
Q: Tell us about your side business.
A: It’s called LongCall Technologies, and it’s a secure e-mail network just for physicians. Regular e-mail is not secure at all, so you can’t talk about patients and their cases without violating privacy laws. I wanted to be able to review cases with my colleagues, so I created this service about four years ago. There are now about 300 doctors who pay to use it. My wife has an MBA, and she helps manage the business and my medical practice as well.
Q: Do you have a technology background?
A: I was chief medical informatics officer at Saint Peter’s until last year. I was involved in bringing in new information systems and training the staff, so I learned a lot about technology. The e-mail network evolved out of my own personal needs.
Q: Is it tough to balance all these duties?
A: Well, when people ask me how many hours a week I work, I say, "All of them."
The first member of his family to graduate from high school, Thomas A. Schwartzer, M.D., worked by day to pay for his undergraduate degree at Thomas A. Edison College in Trenton; his master’s in bacteriology at Wagner College in Staten Island; his Ph.D. in microbiology at Rutgers University/University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-Rutgers Medical School; and a postdoctoral research fellowship and his medical degree at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
He completed his residency at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, where he has privileges with his practice, Central Jersey Internal Medicine Associates, in Somerset and Monroe. Dr. Schwartzer, 56, lives in Milltown with his wife, Susan. They have two children, Andrew Thomas, 20, and Maryelizabeth, 22.
Q: Did your family encourage your interest in becoming a doctor?
A: There was antagonism. My family members were blue-collar factory workers, but medicine was my dream. So after high school I became certified as a medical technologist and took a job as a microbiologist at Saint Peter’s. I studied for my other degrees at night.
Q: Even through medical school?
A: Yes, by then I was the director of the AIDS lab at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. I worked there part-time through medical school.
Q: And has it all been worth it?
A: Oh, yes! I think medicine is the greatest vocation there is. Trying to help another human being-that’s what it’s all about. Our practice strives to provide comprehensive care from adolescence through the end of life.
Q: You must be very proud of your accomplishments.
A: Well, I wouldn’t want my kids to do it that way. Actually, I tell my story to show any young person who is told "You can’t do that‚" that it’s not true. If you really want something, pursue your dream, no matter what it is.