Adrian Dobrowolsky, MD, works to build a connection with each patient he treats.

Dobrowolsky, assistant professor of clinical surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, was named the resident/fellow winner of the 2017 USC Choi Family Awards for Excellence in Patient-Centered Care.

“I think of my patients as part of my family,” Dobrowolsky said. “How would I want members of my family to be cared for?”

Adrian Dobrowolsky (Photo/Ricardo Carrasco III)

A native of Ottawa, Canada, and a graduate of the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University in Chicago, Dobrowolsky joined Keck Medicine of USC under a fellowship in minimally invasive upper GI, general and bariatric surgery.

Dobrowolsky, whose mother is an obstetrician, said he works to ensure patients understand the care they are receiving — especially if they are unfamiliar with treatment options or have had a difficult diagnosis.

“I make it a priority to sit down with each patient, not rushing any discussion and being real with them like they are a member of my family,” Dobrowolsky said. “I think they appreciate that extra effort.”

Taking extra time — despite a busy schedule — to sit down and connect with a patient helps put them at ease and builds trust, Dobrowolsky said.

“Just by taking an extra minute or two, our patients are better informed, more comfortable and we reduce risks,” he added. “Being in health care is not a selfish endeavor — it’s a community, patient-based endeavor.”

The Choi Awards are part of the USC Choi Family Excellence in Patient-Centered Care Endowment, established in 2016 by Keck Medicine of USC through a generous gift from the Choi family. The endowment provides funding for education and training focused on compassion, empathy, advocacy and patient-centered care.

Each Choi Award winner received $2,000, along with an additional $2,000 for their department to be used for programs, training and activities that support and foster a culture of excellence in patient-centered care. Additionally, each recipient’s name will appear on a “perpetual plaque” installed in a place of prominence at Keck Medical Center of USC.

The Choi Family Awards are open each year to all health care professionals at Keck Medicine.

Dobrowolsky said he’s honored to receive the Choi Award, but doesn’t feel he is necessarily deserving over his colleagues.

“We all work hard, but I don’t know if I do anything different from other people,” he said. “I’m very grateful for my colleagues and having people support me through tough times.”

— Douglas Morino