Faculty Spotlight: Scott Le, DO
For Scott Le, DO, the calling to vascular neurology came from both his intellectual appreciation of the intricacies of the brain and central nervous system, as well as the excitement and adrenaline rush of being able to make fast-paced acute medical decisions in the hospital. For this week’s “Spotlight” interview, the newest member of our stroke team talks to us about challenges and opportunities for stroke prevention, his medical mission to Vietnam in 2017, and his loves of hiking, board games, and the Kansas City Chiefs when he’s not at Duke.
What are your current responsibilities within the Neurology Department? What does a typical day for you look like?
I am a vascular neurologist that works both in the inpatient and outpatient setting. Depending on the day, you can find me rounding on the hospital patients with the stroke team or in the clinic following up on stroke patients. If I’m not seeing patients, I’m probably trying to teach other medical learners or in a meeting trying to figure out ways to improve all these aspects even further!
How and when did you first get interested in neurology? How did you decide about working in stroke care?
My interest in neurology was kindled back in med school during our neuroanatomy course. It sounds a little sappy, but there is just something magical about being able to hold a brain in your hands. I came back the following year as a teaching assistant for the next class of medical students, which helped to solidify both the course material and my love for neurology. Stroke care was a natural progression for me as it focused more on the central nervous system while scratching that adrenaline itch for making more acute medical decisions in the hospital.
One of your passions is stroke prevention. What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities in this area?
The biggest challenge by far is how to disperse this information. There are several programs both at the local and national level that try to increase stroke awareness, and you may have even run across some of these billboards with stroke warning signs. I feel that the vast majority of people tend to brush these signs off. Stroke isn’t something that comes on slowly to where you can catch it before it gets bad; it’s something that happens all of a sudden when you least expect it, and oftentimes patients don’t realize they have to take care of themselves to prevent strokes before it’s too late. While having broad stroke awareness campaigns can be helpful, we really need to drill down and target areas that people get their medical knowledge from, whether it be the Internet, their primary care provider, or their local church group.
How and when did you do your medical mission to Vietnam? What medical needs were strongest there?
I went on a medical mission trip to Vietnam during the summer of 2017. One of my good friends had gone there on a mission trip for the first time the previous year, and he noted how there were so many patients with neurologic maladies that they had no idea how to diagnose or treat these patients. He reached out to me, and I happily agreed to join and offer what I could. We spent two weeks going to various rural areas of the country, where the greatest need by far was just basic health care. We also had a group of dentists and optometrists to assist with basic dental and eye care, respectively. I spent a lot of time at orphanages where the majority of the kids had uncontrolled epileptic and movement disorders. The biggest challenge was trying to work within the confines with limited resources and trying to triage how medications should be used. It was certainly an eye-opening experience to navigate an environment where medical literacy and access to medical care is so limited.
What passions or hobbies do you have outside of Duke?
I’m a huge Kansas City Chiefs fan, and a goal of mine has been to attend at least one game in person every year. I’m also a big nerd at heart, being an avid gamer and board game hoarder. Other than that, you could probably find me out hiking, looking for the next breathtaking view in the mountains.
Le enjoys a Chiefs football game with his brother in this photo.
In this photo, Le visits an orphanage in Vietnam.
This is one of me when I was in Vietnam at an orphanage during a medical mission trip.