Dorin T. Colibaseanu, M.D.

  • Consultant, Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery
  • Assistant Professor of Surgery, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science

What moment or experience in your life influenced your decision to be a clinician?

In my late teens I realized that for me, fulfilment did not come from achieving things for myself, but helping others achieve their goals. This philosophical perspective and my fascination with anatomy and physiology were — in retrospect — the clues that surgery was probably the most natural fit for me.

Even now, it is hard to articulate to others how satisfying it is to help strangers see their ways to lives past cancer and help them reach their personal goals, while having the time of my life doing it.

What motivated you to become a Kern Health Care Delivery Scholar?

The first inkling that I needed "something more" came from attending conferences and getting the distinct impression that I could get much more out of the studies presented if I had a more sophisticated methodological understanding.

In addition, I realized that there are significant gaps in knowledge especially at the regional level, within my subspecialty and at a broader level. As I began studying these gaps it became apparent that one of the challenges will continue to be obtaining the resources to execute the studies. In essence, being given the opportunity to become a Kern Health Care Delivery Scholar provided an avenue to acquire the methodological sophistication and the ability to study these gaps in care that affect my patients every day.

I also gained the opportunity to join a liked-minded group of individuals who share the same passion for improving the care of our patients through high-quality research.

What is your focus as a scholar within the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery?

The project goal is to advance understanding of key quality issues in the provision of colorectal cancer surgery in Florida and is associated with quality outcome indicators.

My research aims are to:

  • Examine the association of race, socio-economic status, education and distance from the surgery center with 30-day morbidity and mortality in patients who underwent colorectal cancer surgery in the state of Florida.
  • Evaluate the association of specialization of the surgeon, center or both, with 30-day morbidity and mortality in patients who received colorectal cancer surgery in the state of Florida.
  • Examine the association of specialization of the surgeon, center or both, with quality of surgery — defined by rate of minimally invasive surgery and rate of permanent stomas in patients who have had colorectal cancer surgery in the state of Florida.
  • Evaluate the rate of 30-day readmissions, re-operations, minimally invasive surgery and permanent stoma in patients treated at Mayo Clinic's campus in Jacksonville, Florida, compared with the rest of the state and other tertiary centers in Florida.

What is your mentoring team like?

My mentors are Alexander S. Parker, Ph.D., James S. Naessens, Sc. D., and Robert R. Cima, M.D.

Dr. Cima is a colorectal surgeon with extensive experience in leadership at the enterprise level and in research; he has been my mentor for nearly a decade. We have published together and are currently working on other, enterprise-level projects.

Dr. Parker is the vice chair of the Department of Health Sciences Research at Mayo Clinic's campus in Jacksonville, Florida, and has mentored me during the past several years. He provides access to many local research resources and expertise from his exemplary publication and extramural funding record.

Dr. Naessens serves as scientific director for the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery and has a superb background and publishing track record in health sciences research, including with surgeons, which is the domain in which I want to develop my research career.

How will your research improve patient care or impact public health?

Evaluation of colorectal cancer care is an important research question for Mayo Clinic researchers in Florida as we seek to transform our practice into a destination medical center for cancer care.

A criticism of health care delivery in Florida, as in other parts of the U.S., is that it is highly fragmented and considerably variable with respect to quality of outcomes. Geography, patient socio-economic status and demographics, provider factors, and institutional characteristics are all known to influence colorectal cancer outcomes.

My overarching research objective is to explore who provides better care, at the provider level, and institution level, as well as characteristics of patients who receive better care. Ultimately, I want to be a part of a team that seeks to improve health care delivery for all Floridians with colorectal cancer; however, to do that we need to better understand the current state of colorectal cancer care.

Why did you choose Mayo Clinic to pursue your career?

The last 10 years — all which have been spent being trained by and working for Mayo — have been a blur.

I chose Mayo for my general surgery residency because I believed and — as time passes — remain convinced that it is the best place to be trained as a general surgeon. I am more convinced now than ever, having completed my fellowship at Mayo and joined the ranks of Mayo staff, that there is no other place that delivers better care to our patients, or cares more for its employees. I truly believe that Mayo is the standard of quality and compassionate patient care.

The fact that the institution is investing so much in its members, such as by sponsoring the scholars within the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, and in research demonstrates a clear vision and a willingness to continually ask the key question: "How can we improve the care of our patients today, tomorrow and in the years to come?"