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Announcing New Professors in the Department of Internal Medicine

November 04, 2021
by Jane E. Dee

The Department of Internal Medicine is pleased to announce the following appointments and promotions to professor of medicine: Benjamin Doolittle, MD, M Div; Steven Pfau, MD; and Lisa Gale Suter, MD.

Benjamin Doolittle, MD, M Div (General Internal Medicine)

Director, Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program

Professor, Religion and Health, Yale Divinity School

Resident, Yale-New Haven Hospital (2002)

MD, Yale School of Medicine (1997)

MA Div, Yale Divinity School (1994)

BS, Yale University (1991)

Benjamin Doolittle, MD, M Div, is the program director of the Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program, and the medical director of the Faculty-Resident Continuity Clinic. His practice focuses on addiction, Hepatitis C, HIV, and primary care. His research interests explore the intersection of medicine and spirituality, wellness and burnout. Dr. Doolittle also is an ordained minister, serving a local urban congregation.

What does your promotion mean to you? I’m glad for the support of so many colleagues, collaborators, friends, and mentors, at Yale and beyond. I’ve learned that this process is a team sport. We help each other, work together, cheer each other on, and we all will get there. To be a full professor is testimony to mentorship and collaboration gone well.

What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to professor? I was at a neighbor’s barbecue and my friends asked me what was new. I explained that I was promoted to full professor. They teased me, “What’s that? You were only part of a professor before?” Then we just carried on like we always do. That pretty much sums up the moment: gentle humor, storytelling, and friendship.

What are you most proud of in your career? I’m most proud of the flourishing of the med-peds residents. They are the finest people I know, with kind hearts, a wisdom beyond their years, a devotion to their patients, and a joy for living. To encourage them and support them during this most challenging part of their lives is a profound privilege. I’m grateful to walk alongside them as they grow into even finer people and the finest physicians.

What is your favorite part of academia? My favorite part of academia are the fascinating conversations that arise from my gifted colleagues. I’ve worked on projects with medical device designers, theologians, historic manuscript archivists, big data statisticians, and on and on. There is a welcoming, collaborative spirit at Yale that has deeply influenced my approach to leadership, education, and community. It takes a little initiative to reach out, but the result is inspiring and transformative.

Fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. There isn’t much that my colleagues don’t know about me. In the history of Yale, I might be the first full professor with a joint appointment between the medical school and the divinity school. I’ve poked around and haven’t found anyone else. I think that’s pretty neat.

Steven Pfau, MD, (Cardiovascular Medicine)

Cardiology Section Chief, VA Connecticut

Fellow in Interventional cardiology: Yale University School of Medicine (1995)

Cardiology Fellow: Yale University School of Medicine (1994)

Chief Resident: Presbyterian University Hospital, University of Pittsburgh (1990)

Resident: Presbyterian University Hospital, University of Pittsburgh (1989)

Intern: Presbyterian University Hospital, University of Pittsburgh (1987)

MD: Loyola University (1986)

BS, University of Notre Dame (1982)

Steven Pfau, MD, came to Yale in 1990 as a cardiology fellow. After general cardiology training (1992) and an NIH research fellowship in the lab of Dr. Jeffrey Bender (1994), he completed his training with a fellowship in Interventional Cardiology (1995). He joined the faculty in 1996 as Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at the West Haven VA. He was recently named Cardiology Section Chief at VA Connecticut.

What does your promotion mean to you? To be recognized in this way by the Yale School of Medicine community is very humbling – not something I ever imagined when I started this medical journey.

What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to professor? John Shea was a young faculty member in neurosurgery who was voted best teacher by our medical school graduating class. He ultimately rose to the rank of professor, was chair of neurosurgery, and was a nationally recognized leader in trauma. I’ll never forget his advice to our graduating class: “No matter where your career takes you in medicine, if you dedicate yourself to taking great care of your patients, everything else will fall into place.” Dr. Shea died about six months before my promotion – his advice was the first thing that came to my mind.

What are you proud of in your career? The cardiology section at the VA. I believe we have a group of very talented physician-scholars there who deliver excellent care in the context of the challenges of a publicly funded medical center. For whatever part I had in the development of that section over 25 years – and our collective dedication to excellence - I feel very proud.

What is your favorite part of academia? Dr. Henry Cabin told me when I first came on faculty that July is the best month of the year, “because we get to meet really bright, really motivated, great young people who want to learn everything they can about what we do for a living.” I was in private practice for about 16 months before joining the faculty, and Dr. Cabin is right – the young trainees we meet and get to work with every day make academic medicine the best profession I can imagine. The people I have met along the way have taught me; they have helped me to grow as a teacher, a physician and a person.

Fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. I am addicted to Jelly Belly jelly beans!

Lisa Gale Suter, MD (Rheumatology)

Research Fellow: Yale University School of Medicine/VA Connecticut Healthcare System (2006)

Fellow: Yale University School of Medicine/Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Program (2005)

Fellow: Yale University School of Medicine (2003)

Resident: Yale-New Haven Hospital (2001)

MD: Yale University School of Medicine (1998)

BS: Yale University (1991)

Lisa Gale Suter, MD, is a leading expert in rheumatology performance measurement and currently serves as Director of Quality Measurement Programs at CORE where she directs the MIDS Task Order Development, Revaluation and Implementation of Outcome/Efficiency Measures for Hospital and Eligible Clinicians contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She is the co-chair of the Quality Measures Subcommittee of the American College of Rheumatology's Quality of Care Committee.

What does your promotion mean to you? Honestly, my promotion has been liberating. It provided me with the validation that we all need, that our hard work and late nights and moments of uncertainty carry value and meaning to our peers and our institution. It also offered me an opportunity to step back and reassess my career and the legacy I might hope to leave.

What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to professor? I shared the news with my husband, Lindsay, and our two sons, and we popped a bottle of champagne later that evening to celebrate.

What are you proud of most in your career? All of the letters I have received from patients, their families, and former trainees and mentees thanking me for making a difference in their lives.

What is your favorite part of academia? The people, definitely. Many years ago, when I was contemplating medical school, I worked for a biotech start-up on the West Coast that sold cell pathology products. This brought me in contact with oncologists and pathologists at scientific meetings and conferences, and I asked them what they loved most about medicine. The oncologists said the close bond they developed with their patients, and the pathologists said their colleagues. I figured that any career that could make such seemingly disparate types of people and personalities happy could fit me as well.

Fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. I am one of a large and growing group of swimmers who kept up swimming through the pandemic in Long Island Sound. We are all ages, from under 20 to over 80, from multiple countries, and with many types of careers. I could not imagine a more renewing experience, and I invite everyone to join us!


The Department of Internal Medicine at Yale is among the nation's premier departments, bringing together an elite cadre of clinicians, investigators and educators in one of the world's top medical schools. To learn more, visit Internal Medicine.

Submitted by Jane E. Dee on November 04, 2021