Thomas Vidic, MD, adjunct clinical associate professor of neurology at Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend and practicing physician at the Elkhart Clinic, has impacted the South Bend community for nearly four decades.
“There was no single factor which led me to become a neurologist. Rather, it was a confluence of events over time which led me into medicine,” said Vidic.
A native of Peoria, Illinois, Vidic enjoyed the close relationships which came with living in a small community near family. He also experienced the effects of a grandmother suffering from dementia. Vidic went on to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1976, earning two degrees: electrical engineering and life science. During his time at MIT, he realized research with live participants was quite interesting; he also volunteered at a local emergency department, Brigham Hospital in Boston.
This confluence of events led Vidic to earn his medical degree from the University of Illinois Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine in 1980. He went on to complete his residency in neurology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1984. He joined the Elkhart Clinic the same year as a practicing physician.
“I initially came to Elkhart as there was a need for a neuromuscular-trained physician to run the muscular dystrophy clinic,” Vidic said. “I have enjoyed the camaraderie and mutual respect within the practice and the opportunity to continue to grow as a physician.”
Since joining the Elkhart Clinic, Vidic has immersed himself in the care of his patients. Augmenting his practice, he earned a rehabilitation certification to fulfill the clinic’s needs. He also has advocated tirelessly for his patients’ well-being through the leadership of local, state and national organizations.
“Of course, advocating for the best care for our patients and their families is a shared calling for clinicians, students and researchers. Over the years, through advocacy, we have changed the paradigm of stroke patients’ rehabilitation, defining a new standard of care for more stable, long-term recoveries. I was reminded of this when, on a recent conference call with former Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, he emphasized the importance of understanding the needs of our patients first,” shared Vidic.
Having enjoyed his time teaching in residency, when Vidic was approached with the opportunity to join the clinical faculty at IU School of Medicine-South Bend in 2011, he joyfully accepted. Vidic emphasizes that the South Bend campus affords students one-on-one opportunities to observe medicine. He also enjoys exposing medical students to the administrative, business and political side of being a physician.
“IU School of Medicine-South Bend students are incredibly bright. When I teach, I find myself reflecting more on what I do and the reasons why I do what I do,” said Vidic.
Vidic’s influence can be found across professional associations such as the American Academy of Neurology, American Medical Association, Indiana Neurological Society and the Indiana Medical Association. From his research, he was able to take the lessons learned and form a clinical trial organization, Indiana Medical Research. Vidic also directed the Northern Indiana Muscular Dystrophy Clinic, and co-chaired the IU School of Medicine-South Bend Medicine Ball with his wife, Joan.
With nearly four decades of exemplary patient care, advancing the medical field, Vidic was named the 2020 Outstanding Physician of the Year by IU School of Medicine-South Bend.
Vidic shares the following words of advice for current preceptors and future physicians about the importance of self-care patient advocacy and work-life balance:
“Physicians should prioritize self-care, which includes practicing gratitude and making time for our families and ourselves.”
“In being present with my family, I am also more present with my patients.”
“I give myself permission to take time for hobbies. While I may not make all my cycling group’s weekly practices, I aim for three out of four.”
“In advocating for our patients, we also advocate for each other and our profession, a win-win for everyone.”
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Jordan Lapsley is a Communications Assistant for Indiana University School of Medicine’s Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity.