2023 Top Doctor: Christopher Pullins, M.D.

Editorial StaffMarch 1, 2023
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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft

Family Medicine

Med School/Year Graduated: Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, 2000

Years in Practice: 20 

What has been the biggest development in family medicine in the last 20 years? How do you see it shifting in the next 20?  

The team-based care model has been a significant change. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are now a central part of the clinical team. We’re starting to integrate behavioral health specialists and pharmacists to the team, too. I see this becoming the norm in the next 20 years.

For a primary care physician such as yourself, it must be a huge benefit working at Mayo, with all its myriad specialists under one roof. Are there any times when you need to refer outside the hospital?  

At Mayo Clinic, we’re known for our team-based, interdisciplinary approach to care. I value my ability to consult with my specialist colleagues when patients are managing serious and complex health challenges. Above all, the needs of the patient come first. We consider the patient’s personal needs and preferences, timing and other factors. At times, that may mean we make an outside referral.

Why is preventive health care important to your practice, and how do you explain its importance to your patients?  

We know people live longer, healthier lives when they prioritize preventive health care. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 40 percent of annual deaths from five leading causes in the U.S. are preventable. In addition to explaining its importance, I empower my patients with the knowledge they need to best manage their health.

You’ve worked toward and written extensively about increasing access to health care for African Americans and improving their participation in clinical research. How are things trending now? Biggest obstacles? Biggest triumphs? 

The pandemic further revealed the consequences of health disparities. Two large obstacles we still face are unaddressed social determinants of health and mistrust, partly due to an underrepresentation of minorities in our physician workforce. Mayo Clinic is a leader in working to close the gap on health disparities, with our commitment to equity, inclusion and diversity. 

What are your hobbies and interests outside medicine?

Faith, family and golf. 

What are you watching on Netflix these days?

I’m actually an Apple TV guy. Slow Horses, Foundation and Severance are some of my recent favorites.

“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…”

Working at a wildlife park, since being a PGA golfer is out of my reach.