Richard Formica, MD, is a nephrologist and the director of transplant medicine at Yale Medicine. He received his medical education at Boston University School of Medicine before arriving at Yale in 1997.
As the director for transplant medicine, Dr. Formica strives to make his program a medical home for transplant patients. These patients tend to have a complex variety of needs that may be difficult for other physicians to address. Since arriving here, Dr. Formica has expanded Yale Medicine’s transplant program to include support staff, such as dietitians and social workers. “We wanted to be the one place where transplant patients can have all of their primary needs met so they wouldn’t have to move around to different physicians,” Dr. Formica says.
Dr. Formica’s relationships with his patients often span many years—sometimes beginning before the transplantation. He sees this relationship as a whole rather than as individual clinic visits. “I tell them, ‘Instead of thinking of this as 32 clinic visits over the course of a year, think of it as one experience,’” he says.
As a physician, Dr. Formica aims to keep things casual with his patients. He encourages them to use his first name and learns as much as he can about them, including aspects of their lives unrelated to their disease such as their pets, jobs and hobbies. He has a keen interest in how the disease is affecting his patients: “When I was younger, it was the physiology that drew me to nephrology. Now, what interesting to me is how the patient responds to their disease,” he says.
In addition to treating patients, Dr. Formica is involved in public policy work related to kidney transplantation. He helped develop the kidney allocation system for the country that went into effect in 2014 and he’s also involved in clinical trials for drugs that treat hypertension. At the Yale School of Medicine, he is a professor of medicine (nephrology) and surgery (transplant).