Mitchel P. Goldman, MD: A Drive for Innovation

Unimpressed with where academia was taking him, Mitchel P. Goldman, MD, created his own path to success.
A Drive for Innovation

When you enter the offices of the Goldman, Butterwick, Fitzpatrick, Groff & Fabi Cosmetic Laser Dermatology Center in San Diego, California, you will be greeted with smiles from both patients and staff—and it’s not just because managing partner Mitchel P. Goldman, MD, treats his staff of 46 to a Hawaiian vacation every other year, or because he offers free pediatric scar treatment. “It goes back to the very beginning of why I wanted to become a doctor. I just really love helping people, and I love it when patients are happy,” he says. “I might get sued by the Lego company for lifting their theme song, but our philosophy is the same—everything is awesome here.”

The practice—which offers everything from vein treatments to noninvasive body sculpting and aesthetic laser and injectable treatments—has become one of the most popular high-end dermatology practices in the state.

The Road to Dermatology

The son of an engineer, Dr. Goldman had a deep interest in science from a young age. As a pre-teen, he began spending time with a family practitioner who was a close friend of his father’s. “I would literally hang out at the doctor’s office with him and watch him see patients, and I just loved the idea of helping people. It really resonated with me,” says Dr. Goldman. “Since I was about 10, I never thought I would do anything else. I just wanted to be a doctor.”

Always a sharp student, Dr. Goldman graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in biology from Boston University and an MD from the Stanford University School of Medicine. But he had a tough time figuring out what kind of doctor he wanted to be.

“Like most medical students, when you get into medical school, you want to walk on water and save the world. When I started out, I wanted to be a cardiovascular surgeon,” he recalls. “Then I wanted to be an endocrinologist because I had a great endocrinology professor. Then I wanted to be a pediatrician, until the little babies peed all over me. Then I wanted to be an oncologist.”

One day, Dr. Goldman looked around the hospital and noticed that the happiest people were orthopedic surgeons and dermatologists, and something clicked. He knew what he wanted to do. Luckily, he found the perfect mentor at Stanford to show him the way—Susan Weinkle, MD, former president of the Women’s Dermatology Society and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS).

“She was the chief resident in dermatology when I was a third-year medical student, and she was an incredible role model,” says Dr. Goldman. “She would prance around the clinic—always with a smile on her face, always doing really cool surgical procedures. Then, I did a rotation with Dr. Steve Mandy at the University of Miami, and that’s what really clinched it for me.”

Photo by Cory Sorensen