Dr. Mike Martin, a board certified orthopaedic spine surgeon, says friends and family often told him he should become a doctor due to his academic excellence. His grandfather and mother inspired him to actually take the leap. “They both wanted to be physicians but due to life circumstances were unable to fulfill those dreams.” He had an interest in orthopedics from volunteer work in college. “I started in sports medicine and decided I wanted something more meaningful.” His fellowship training at St. Mary’s Spine Center was in orthopedic spine surgery. “It was a young field that was technologically and intellectually challenging.”
He enjoys working with patients and staff. “A kind word from a patient makes all the challenges worthwhile. Helping patients regain the function to lead a healthy life is satisfying.” Innovations such as “big data” excite him. “It allows us to look at large numbers of patients and help us make better decisions on how to treat patients, both surgically and non-surgically.” He says it’s also an exciting time with the mapping of the human genome, although we are “at least two generations away from genome-type treatments.”
Though now an empty nester, while raising his two sons he volunteered over 300 hours a year with Bellarmine Preparatory School and Commencement Bay Rowing Club. He will continue his work with Bellarmine and Shirts Across America (http://shirtsacrossamerica.org/about-us/), a non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. “Imagine an area the size of North Tacoma just gone. A random occasional home survives but everything else is gone. They are still trying to recover all these years later.”
Dr. Martin enjoys bike riding although since a serious accident last year he has become “less aggressive”. “I don’t do any road riding anymore due to traffic. I still enjoy mountain biking.” He also enjoys Sci-fi and fantasy movies and novels. He is currently reading Winston Churchill’s “The Second World War” six-volume set. “His leadership and intelligence fascinates me”, says Dr. Martin. He also enjoys hunting (birds and deer) and fishing, being outdoors and playing a game of pinochle now and then.
Who would he most like to trade places with for a day? “The President (of the United States). But only for one day, no more”, he chuckles. “I’d also like to be in LeBron James’ body at an NBA game. Being an elite athlete would be fun.” When asked where in the world he wants to go: “I’d love to sail across the Pacific. I’d take my wife (Pam) and motion sickness medication. But that’s a pipe dream. I love the water, but I get terrible motion sickness. I’d never make it.”