Spotlight Feature: Dr. Mark Mycyk
Mark Mycyk, MD, FACMT
ACMT Board Member (2021-2024)
Dr. Mark Mycyk became a member of ACMT in 2000, and his term as an ACMT Board Member runs from 2021-2024. He is currently a Chair of Research of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Cook County Health in Chicago, Illinois. We are pleased to be able to get to know Dr. Mycyk a little better through this brief interview.
Q: What inspired you to specialize in medical toxicology?
MM: I volunteered at the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) during my summers home when in college, a lucky opportunity facilitated by my uncle Dr. Daniel Hryhorczuk, the founder of the Toxikon Consortium. I helped the IPC transfer paper charts to an electronic database before we had the sophisticated web-based technology today. At the IPC I met the most incredibly interesting, diverse, and passionate specialists in poison information (SPIs) who were always excited to share stories and their awe-inspiring fund of knowledge with me. Tony Burda and Connie Fischbein, both still at the Illinois Poison Center today, allowed me to listen in on calls from concerned parents seeking poison center help when their children accidentally licked or swallowed something, and that’s what “hooked” me on a future in medical toxicology.
Q: What has been a highlight of your time as a member of ACMT?
MM: It’s so hard to identify one highlight as a member of ACMT: every year includes highlights, each year seems more memorable than the last. I still remember being especially excited (and nervous) to present my first abstract at a national meeting when I was a fellow-in-training over 20 years ago; this past year will always be special for me and the editors of JMT, the official journal of ACMT, because the journal was finally recognized with an impressive impact score. We only got there because of the collective work of the distinguished line of previous and current editors, especially Emeritus Editor-in-Chief Leslie Dye. Working closely with JMT’s talented editorial board inspires me each day. Most importantly, I am fortunate to have developed meaningful lifelong friendships through different ACMT activities.
Q: What might we be surprised to know about you?
MM: I always carry a deck of playing cards to show magic tricks to students and other trainees while on shift or in lectures. Not only do the card tricks provide a fun break during busy ED shifts, I used them to help learners understand the importance of counting accurately and paying attention to small details when treating sick patients. In my free time I read old magic books in search of long forgotten card effects -- the history of card magic is fascinating and goes back almost as far as the history of poisons.
Q: What’s a quote you find inspirational or speaks to your outlook/approach to your life and/or practice?
MM: “Simplicity doesn’t mean easy; it means you have fewer places to hide, you are more exposed. It forces you to become better.” - Benjamin Earl (From his book ‘Less is More’ - he is currently a magician in England)
Learn more about Dr. Mycyk's education, interests, and training on the ACMT Board of Directors page.