A graduate of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Dr. Bobby Buka operates four offices in New York City and is the author of Buka’s Emergencies in Dermatology. His articles have been published in dermatology and plastic surgery textbooks as well as medical journals. His expertise has been featured on The Today Show, The Huffington Post, Inside Edition, and inHealth Magazine, among others. Dr. Buka has his own line of paraben-free skin care products, First Aid Beauty, which can be found at Sephora.
What do you do best?
Connect with each patient. My job depends on making unique, meaningful first impressions hundreds of times every week. This means being present in that exam room and listening, for however long is needed. The challenge is to make people feel understood – after that, the medical part is easier.
What makes you the best?
I'm always open to learning from the patients I treat. I still recall a patient with cystic fibrosis whom I met in residency. He was subjected to frequent blood draws and taught me how to insert needles with less pain. Sure, I had learned phlebotomy from nurses, professors and senior residents, but being open to learning another approach made me a better carer. I never believe my way is the only way.
How will you stay the best?
By never just going through the motions and always approaching each patient with fresh eyes. I may have seen acne thousands of times, but I've never seen it in this patient in front of me. Every seemingly banal case has its own constellation of environmental and personal features, so i'm always learning and being challenged.
What are your aspirations: business & personal?
Personal: To instill a quiet confidence in medical students and, one day, my own children. To become unflappable in the face of noise and adversity. To flow through it all, sometimes finding a way around, sometimes bravely going right through. To wake up with the same presence and peace of mind with which I fell asleep.
Business To take the practice of dermatology out of the realm of hospital medicine and into the realm of comfortable, collaborative health. To move from a paternalistic view of healthcare into a shared, multi-disciplinary space for healing.
What fascinates you?
Lives. I’m usually fifteen minutes of a patient’s day – a brief opportunity to play a small role in that person's life. It’s fascinating to me that the eighty patients I see each day will then go on to work and family and very personal issues. We'll overlap for a fleeting moment in time before continuing with our separate lives. The massiveness of our respective human experiences thrills me.
“Being new at things is both the most uncomfortable and most necessary thing you can do for yourself.”
John Muir (environmentalist), Jim Hackett of Hackett Farm Supply (farmer), Matthew Timms (creator takedowns.com), Howard Stern (radio), Krishna Das (musician), and Chester Brown (cartoonist)
Cabo Polonio, Uruguay. Prana Farms, Staatsburg, NY Vasa Museum, Stockholm, Sweden) Any Brooklyn Green RooftopVasa
First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Facial Moisturizer with SPF30 Jack’s Stir Brew Iced Coffee Black Elastic Hair Ties BriteTap Chicken Waterer Stutterheim Raincoats Peppermint Oil Logitech UE Boom Speaker
I’m passionate about breadth of talent. Being great at what you do is a gift that comes from hard work. Once you hit that mark, do a 180 degree turn, find something completely out of your comfort zone – maybe its farming, maybe it’s flying, maybe it’s surfing – and start over.