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Q&A With Curi’s Senior Vice President, Physician Liaison 

By: Curi Editorial Team
3 Minute Read

Curi recently hired Dr. Damian McHugh as our new Senior Vice President, Physician Liaison. As the first physician on our leadership team in quite some time, Damian brings a perspective that will help us better understand doctors’ lived experience in the changing healthcare field and deliver on our mission of helping physicians in medicine, business, and life. 

Q: Please tell us a bit about yourself: 

A: I come from very humble roots and grew up in a small town in northern England. I was fortunate enough, with lots of family and external support, to embark on a journey to the Victoria University of Manchester Medical School when I was 18 and graduated with an MD at 23. Since then, I’ve had a long and successful career as an emergency  physician both in England and the United States. 

On a more personal note, I’m most proud of being the father to my two teenage boys, Connor (19) and Bradley (17). I remain indebted to my dear wife Marion, herself a capable ER nurse, who has supported me in all of my professional roles. I’m an avid (yet still poor) golfer, and I’ve had the pleasure of playing beautiful courses on both sides of the Atlantic. I remain interested in sport, and was a keen rugby player as a younger man. Today I have a deep passion for the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team, and view head coach Rod Brind’Amour as one of my heroes and a truly inspiring individual. 

 

Q: Tell us about your career to date: 

 A: While I was in England, I became a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners after an initial focus in primary care. Twenty-seven years ago, I changed paths and began working as an emergency medicine physician. I made that transition after recognizing that I genuinely enjoy caring for people of all ages and backgrounds, and valued the different presentations of medical problems with urgent and life-threatening undertones. I consider myself fortunate having met some wonderful mentors who shepherded me through residency at the University of North Carolina Hospital in Chapel Hill and onward to my partnership at UNC-Rex Hospital in Raleigh, NC, where I practiced emergency medicine for 21 years, concluding last December.  

 Throughout my career I’ve always tried to be a patient advocate. I believe that we should all pursue a heart of service, and I worked to do that with every individual entrusted to my care. As I’ve amassed greater leadership roles and gained a wider sphere of influence, I’ve not only remained a patient advocate, but also became passionate about physician advocacy. After successfully navigating through my own destructive “burnout” journey, I was able to rediscover my joy in the full-time practice of medicine. To give back to the state and to my healthcare colleagues, I’ve served on the North Carolina Medical Board. 

 

Q: Why did you decide to join Curi and what will your role be? 

A: Let’s start with why I decided to hang up my stethoscope after 31 years of practicing medicine. I realized that rotating shifts, working nights and weekends in the ER, was no longer a burden my aging shoulders could handle, so I decided to depart intentionally and gracefully from clinical practice. It became time for me to openly embrace my second half of my career—to contemplate playing the “back nine,” to use a golf reference. 

I explored several opportunities where my clinical experience could be married with my interest in physician advocacy to focus on the betterment of my community. During that time, it became apparent that Curi was the place I could go to learn, grow, and innovate in ways that will improve the lives of our members. Curi shares my passion for physician advocacy, and I’m thrilled to be welcomed as part of the team. 

 As it’s been a while since a physician has been a figure on Curi’s leadership team, the precise definition and boundaries of my role are still being worked out. It’s very exciting to me that the Curi enterprise, our board of directors, and our leadership team saw fit to hire a physician colleague to expand on our ability to serve physicians. 

 

Q: What do you see as the biggest priorities in your role? 

A: First, for right now I’m simply staying curious. I’m listening and learning about all the ways I can serve doctors’ needs as a member of this team. And in doing so, I welcome the opportunity to better understand the different business units within our organization—Curi Insurance, Curi Advisory, and Curi Capital—and lend my voice as a valued advisor to Curi and our customers. Secondly, my priority is to assist the senior leadership team to continue an organic growth process, helping the organization fulfill its mission of serving physicians in medicine, business, and life even more passionately. 

 

Curi Editorial Team
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