Q&A with Dan Gillette, MD
Dan Gillette, MD, SM, DFAPA, FACHE
Where you work:
My primary office is with Dean and Associates in Sioux City, but I work for 14 different entities in the course of a month, not including forensic work. I am medical director for one hospital unit, 2 mental health centers, 4 rural geriatric IOP programs and a few other entities.
Typical day in your shoes:
No such thing as a typical day. I may see patients in clinic one day, the next be on-site at a residential setting for head injuries or intellectual disabilities, and the next flying to a little town half-way to Denver, with all of that peppered with insurance reviews (in my other role as evil insurance company doctor). If the calendar in my phone failed, I would probably lie in fetal position on the floor all day whimpering...
What inspired you to pursue psychiatry?
I chose psychiatry using the Dog Method. If you are not familiar with the Dog Method, it involves asking your dog what you should do with your life. Your dog, after all, has no idea if what you did during the day pays well, has high prestige or is what your parents wanted for you. Your dog only knows if you came home motivated, engaged, inspired and happy to be alive. I found during medical school most of the JAMA articles I saved, the extra reading I did and the coursework I found most stimulating had to do with psychiatry.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Any time I work with a multidisciplinary team.
How do you spend your free time?
I play guitar (and six string banjo), sing and write songs once in a while. I had a band along with my wife and two youngest kids until they abandoned our budding music career to (*scoff*) pursue higher education. My most recent performances were in Zoom meetings early in the pandemic, following an update for staff in various offices about what was known at that time and what to watch for going forward. I ended those meetings by suddenly donning a coonskin cap, pulling out the banjo and playing "Covidian Rhapsody" (not written by me, but adapted for banjo by me, sung to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody).
I love flying in formation, when able to see other pilots I do that with. Since they range from across the country, we only get together a few times a year.
I do leather work. I skied until my right knee disintegrated in Jackson Hole in 18 inches of powder, then did the sensible thing and took up scuba diving last year. I will actually do my drysuit certification dive this weekend in Atlantic. (Atlantic, Iowa, that is. There is a rock-quarry lake on the edge of town).