To succeed you need to work hard, work smart, and work focused.
Rod J. Rohrich, MD, is The Distinguished Teaching Professor and the Founding Chair of Plastic Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and is an internationally known surgeon and innovative leader/educator in plastic surgery. His interests span the entire spectrum of plastic surgery, from cranio-maxillofacial surgery to aesthetic surgery, and have resulted in over 750 publications in peer reviewed scientific Journals He has served as one of the Founding members and President of The Rhinoplasty Society . He has been the President of the ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons), which is the largest society of Board Certified Plastic Surgeons in the world. He is the current President of WAME (World Association of Medical Editors) and has been President or led most of the prestigious Plastic Surgery or Graduate Medical Education Organizations in the USA. Dr Rohrich has been a Visiting Professor to over 150 organizations/societies and chaired over 100 plastic surgery educational symposia worldwide. He is the Chair of the Dallas Rhinoplasty Symposium which is one of the leading global educational meeting teaching Rhinoplasty to over 10,000 surgeons over the past 25 years.
Dr. Rohrich received his medical degree with high honors from Baylor University College of Medicine; completed a plastic surgery residency at University of Michigan Medical Center, and did subspecialty training in pediatric plastic surgery at the Radcliffe Infirmary/ Oxford University and hand/microvascular surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Rohrich has repeatedly received the top prestigious national research, teaching and distinguished service awards career from his professional societies both in the USA and globally. He is Editor-in-Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the most prestigious peer reviewed medical journal in the world for plastic surgeons.
Where did the idea of becoming a plastic surgeon come from?
I love science and art. When you put the two together, you can “sculpture in the living”. The most challenging and yet most satisfying medium to work with to mold and shape – the human face and body!
What is a typical day and how you make it productive?
First, sleeping is a true waste of time in life as we are only here once. We need to maximize our time on earth each day. Time is our most valuable commodity, and we don’t get it back ever again!! So I rise at 5:30am or sooner, exercise and shower, and go to the Journal office. I am Editor-in-Chief of the most widely read and respected Plastic Surgery journal in the world – Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Then I go to work. I operate from 6:30am to 1-2pm each day, although many days I operate all day long. In the afternoon I see 20-30 patients (both new and post ops) and complete fillers and botox as well. At 5 pm I usually have a meeting or conference call, which generally allows me to be home by 6:30pm for dinner with the family. I answer roughly 200-300 emails during the day. After dinner I write and organize lectures (I travel around the world 10-15 times a year teaching Plastic Surgery) and go to bed by midnight. Before I go to sleep, I always plan the top 3 things I will do the next day! It helps me to stay focused and efficient.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I do so by first dreaming about them, thinking about them, and then accomplishing them. I always repeat the cycle until I have perfected my idea. A few examples include developing new surgical instruments to refine the Plastic Surgery industry and also brainstorm new innovations In how to perform surgery each day.
What is one trend that excites me?
The trend “more is less and less is more” in the field of Plastic Surgery. Major surgery is being replaced by less invasive or minimally invasive surgery each day. Soon we will not be doing large and challenging procedures. The result is better performance with new technology including but not limited to robotic surgery, spare part surgery etc.
What is one habit that makes me an entrepreneur?
I often ask myself how to accomplish things more effectively. This leads to new innovations about performing Plastic Surgery and other procedures.
What was my worst job and what did I learn?
I have never had a “worst job”. Whether it was a Rancher, Farmer, truck driver or scuba tech;
every position I have held has taught me valuable lessons and helped turn me into the person I am today: focused, appreciative of others, with a desire to learn and excel in all I do.
Would I do anything different today if I started over?
Not a thing! Hard work and perseverance has served me well in my life. Lessons taught by my parents who raised me on our ranch in North Dakota.
What is one lesson I would teach to others?
To succeed you need to work hard, work smart, and work focused. Make 3 obtainable goals each day and always reflect on what you learned before you go to sleep.
What is one strategy that helped me grow my business?
Never give up even when you fail. Surround yourself with great people who are loyal and smarter than you are.
What is one failure I faced, and how was I able to overcome it?
I wasn’t a great writer when I started Plastic Surgery, so I focused on writing, lecturing, and teaching early in my career. Now I’m responsible for the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive surgery. Remaining focused helped me overcome my weaknesses and failures.
What is one idea I am willing to give away?
That is easy! I would give away all the knowledge I have learned in 30 years of Plastic Surgery to my residents and fellows. I want them to become smarter, safer and competent enough to carry our great specialty to the next level of excellence in their career. I would like to leave the Plastic Surgery industry a little better off than when I came into this great specialty.
What is the best $100 I ever spent?
Giving away both money and talent to help others is critical in life because you always get more than you give! For this reason I started a non profit foundation call AIRS to help women with breast cancer get the reconstructive surgery they need if they cannot afford it.
What software or websites do I use?
I use PC based software, and I use Google as a search engine. I prefer Google because it opens the world of information to everyone which levels the playing field for all people.
What is one book I would recommend?
Good to Great by Jim Collins. It shows you how to succeed in life, in business and in dealing with people.
Who are your role models?
George Washington for his courage, his leadership, and his strength to recognize when to stop leading. Abraham Lincoln for his perseverance and his ability to lead during adversity. Jesus Christ because he guides me when I fail and when I fall down. He is always there to pick me up and lead the way to victory!
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