Jack Collins '88, physician at Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and former chief of staff at Sarasota Memorial Hospital
“New College influenced every part of my life,” says Collins. “It was a place where excellence is more expected than sought-after."
Dr. Jack Collins graduated from New College in 1992 with a degree in biology. As a young boy in Lakeland, FL, he had always been interested in the sciences.
“My father was ill and I spent a lot of time around physicians and hospitals,” recalls Collins, who is the chief of staff at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and an assistant professor at Florida State University College of Medicine. “I gravitated to the medical sciences because I could see how my family benefited from good advice and caring physicians.”
Upon arriving at New College, Collins felt sure he wanted to become a marine biologist or embryologist, so he tailored his courses accordingly. “I was pretty hot and heavy into cell biology and the environment,” recalls Collins. “My mentors at New College were professors John Morrill, Sandra Gilchrist, Paul Scudder and Al Beulig.”
Once in medical school (the University of South Florida), Collins used his experiences with scanning electronic microscopy, cell culture and cytobiology preparation to get into research labs that were typically inaccessible to medical students. “I even wrote a couple of papers on cancer biology using the techniques taught by Professor Morrill,” he remembers. “He always encouraged me to take things a little further.”
At New College, Collins learned about independent study and the value of lifelong learning, which he says is “exactly what it takes to be a good physician,” since medicine is changing all the time.
A typical Novo Collegian, Collins followed a unique path, choosing to pursue both internal medicine and pediatrics. After graduating from USF Medical College, he completed a four-year MedPeds residency at the University of Texas, Houston.
“In medical school I was fairly certain I wanted to be an internist,” he says. “But when I saw kids coming in so sick and how their resilient bodies bounced back quickly with stellar care, I couldn’t make up my mind, so I decided to get board certified in both. It turned out to be perfect training for the future.” Today he is a partner in a three-person medical practice, MedPeds of Sarasota, which serves the entire family, from babies and their parents to retirees and the elderly.
Collins feels that his practice is well matched to what is happening in health care today.
“We’re moving in the direction of treating the whole patient,” he says, “and I believe that you can’t do that without treating the whole family. “Seeing all ages helps me understand the dynamics of the whole family. We’re a medical home for families.” His own family consists of his wife, high school sweetheart Michele, and sons Jackie, 15, and Joey, 7.
Collins looks back on his New College experience with something like awe. “I met some of my best lifelong friends there,” he says. “They were exceptional people with whom I shared common goals and principles. I truly believe that New College is an asset to Sarasota and our entire area.”