4 Questions with David Hersh, MD Posted on May 23, 2023 As part of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion journey, Connecticut Children’s celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month, which honors the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture. As part of our organization’s recognition of this month and other culture months, we highlight the accomplishments and heritage of team members through personal interviews to deepen our appreciation of each other. In this interview, David Hersh, MD, shares about what inspired his career at Connecticut Children’s, his role model, and one of his favorite quotes from Judaism. Dr. Hersh is a pediatric neurosurgeon at Connecticut Children’s. 1. What inspired you to pursue your career at Connecticut Children’s? David Hersh, MD, pediatric neurosurgeon at Connecticut Children’s Dr. Hersh: During medical school and residency, some of my closest mentors were pediatric neurosurgeons. As I spent more and more time with them and their patients, I was deeply impacted by the resilience of the pediatric patients, the ability to impact the long lives ahead of them, and the close relationship with their families. There was no doubt in my mind that I was meant to be a pediatric neurosurgeon. While I was completing my fellowship, I learned about the job opening at Connecticut Children’s. It checked all of my boxes – a dedicated pediatric practice in a freestanding children’s hospital with access to a world-class medical school and a new neurosurgical residency program. Every day as I come to work, I’m reminded how lucky I am to be part of such an incredible team. 2. Tell us about some of your role models. Dr. Hersh: I’ve been lucky to have had incredible role models and mentors who have shaped my career journey. One of my earliest role models was Dr. Howard Weiner, who at the time was a pediatric neurosurgeon at New York University and is now the Chief of Neurosurgery at Texas Children’s Hospital. Dr. Weiner gives a poster to each of his fellows as they graduate that says, “Work Hard and Be Nice to People.” It’s hard to imagine somebody who embodies that principle more. As somebody who is internationally recognized not only as one of the top surgeons in the field but as one of the kindest, I’ve always looked to him as a role model. 3. In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, please share something about your heritage or experiences that you would like anyone to know. Dr. Hersh and his family celebrating their heritage. Dr. Hersh: One of the things that I find most interesting about Judaism is that it means so many different things to different people. To some, it’s a religion, to others it’s a culture, and for others it’s an ethnicity or a nationality. For many, it’s all of the above. It’s an incredibly diverse and heterogeneous group, but with one thing in common – a shared history dating back thousands of years. Some of the things I love most about Judaism include its emphasis on education and learning, the importance of community, and the significance of making the world a better place. Especially as a physician, I appreciate the value it places on life, perhaps best reflected in the Talmudic saying, “Whoever saves a single life is considered by Scripture to have saved the whole world.” 4. What do you like most about working for Connecticut Children’s? Dr. Hersh with a patient on Superhero Day at Connecticut Children’s Dr. Hersh: My favorite thing about working at Connecticut Children’s is that everybody here is mission-driven – we’re all here to improve the health of children. I’m surrounded by a great team who are all dedicated to our patients and their families, and they make it fun to come to work each day! I also love that nobody settles for the status quo – there is a constant push to see how we can reach more children, provide the highest quality care, and facilitate the most cutting-edge research through Connecticut Children’s Research Institute. It makes me proud to be a part of this institution!