Name: Matthew Peter Liakos
Hometown: Malverne, NY
Specialty: Internal Medicine
Place of Practice: Montefiore Medical Center, New York, NY
Why did you want to become a doctor?
I decided to become a doctor at a very young age. The biggest influence on my continued drive to go into medicine was my brother, Thomas Liakos, who started medical school when I was 13. He would call us every day to share with us new stories from his day working in the hospital. He was motivated, optimistic and compassionate. I found myself sharing a lot of the same qualities when I started working in the hospital. Every day my goal is to remain as optimistic as he was when he was fresh in the hospital and experiencing everything for the first time.
What sets you apart from other doctors in your field?
My colleagues always comment on how optimistic I am. We work with a very difficult patient population. In medicine, you deal with death and dying on a daily basis. The other residents that I work with find it uncanny how I can continue to be optimistic and show up to work every day with a smile on my face despite the emotional and physical hardship that accompanies residency training.
What are your tips for living longer?
- Drink coffee: A recent article in the NEJM 2012 shows that drinking coffee is inversely associated with all-cause mortality.
- Eat a Mediterranean diet: There is good evidence that eating a Mediterranean diet (plant-based food, fish, olive oil, red wine) reduces fatal and nonfatal heart attacks and all-cause mortality.
- Lose weight: Many patients have multiple medical problems would have no medical problems if they maintained a healthy weight.
- Laugh more often: People stress out too much. Laughing is a good way to shatter the stress and to unwind.
- Stay on top of chronic illness: Most chronic illness can be successfully managed with lifestyle change or low-dose medicine. Chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol that are well-maintained have a much lower risk of harm. See your doctor regularly. Find one that you feel comfortable with, has enough time for you and listens.