During his 9th Grade introduction to biology class, Mark Supino, M.D., looked at a goldfish tail under a microscope and was utterly fascinated to see individual red blood cells moving through a capillary. It was at that moment that he forewent his aspirations of becoming a lawyer and decided healthcare would be his path. To this day, he still fondly remembers his chemistry teacher Ms. Fiegel and his biology teacher Ms. Novak, both of whom were fundamental forces in developing and nurturing his love and appreciation for the sciences. “The year 2020 has been a challenging year for many of us. COVID aside, we have seen some of our fellow human beings torn apart by the infringement of basic rights on multiple levels,” he says. “I believe that we can one day achieve true equality, but in order to do so, it is incumbent upon us to take this responsibility personally and seriously. The diversity of the fabric of human society is what makes us all better individually. Only by working together can we ever hope to eradicate racism, gender bias, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, bullying and all other forms of hate.”
When not at the hospital, he likes to relax with a rousing game of backgammon or chess, in addition to running, cooking, creating PowerPoint presentations, video editing and engaging in public speaking. But his first love will always be medicine.
Throughout his career, Dr. Supino has met and worked with many people whom he will always remember and often thinks back to for inspiration. Once such recent patient encounter that will forever remain ingrained in his memory involved a 50-year-old woman who presented to the ED for chest pain. She had a history of heroin abuse and HIV and had been previously homeless. In speaking with her further, she explained that a social worker had long ago gotten her out of the streets and found her help for her addiction. She was now 15 years sober, raising her daughter while working full time, and taking her HIV medications religiously, leading to her disease being perfectly controlled. She remained so thankful to the social worker and doctors who had believed in her and pulled her out of her darkest moments. Her chest pain work-up was negative, thus her symptoms were likely due to COVID-induced anxiety.
To Dr. Supino, her story was inspiring, and he was touched by her tenacity and resolve. He felt reminded that heroes come in all forms. “As a society, we do best when we take care of each other,” he says. “If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that it’s really hard to predict the future. It’s essential to always aim to do what you feel is right, to strive to be the best you can be and to consciously try to be self-compassionate.”