Dr. Christopher Miller on Looking Beyond the Practice and at the Patient
Published in: Central Florida Doctor, July 2017
Written by: Teresa Schiffer
Dr. Christopher Miller is an endocrinologist at Bond Clinic based in Winter Haven. Walking into his office gives you some insight into his personal life, as the walls are adorned with photos taken by the doctor. Photography has become a bit of a passion for him over the last few years, taking classes and trips dedicated to the subject. He’s been to Ireland and will be going to Scotland soon with a Polk State College photo class. Having such a visible hobby helps to humanize the doctor. The patients seem to enjoy his work, and some have even begun to bring their own photos on flash drives to share with him.
Dr. Miller went into college intending to be a business major, but he quickly realized that his interests lie in the sciences rather than in numbers. A passion for biology and chemistry pushed him towards medicine by his junior year. He earned his medical degree at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, followed by a residency and internship at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. Dr. Miller completed his fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2001.
“I really enjoyed my endocrinology rotation,” says Dr. Miller of his choice in direction. “Endocrinologists, in general, are a friendly group of people. I had some really great mentors who encouraged me.” Endocrinology is also a field not typically associated with medical emergencies, and Dr. Miller enjoys the lifestyle afforded by that relative peace.
During his residency at West Virginia University, Dr. Miller had two mentors who made significant impressions on him. One was Dr. Elliott Chideckel. “He was very pleasant, great with the patients, and enjoyed his work. He was very encouraging to me when I was deciding where to go and what to do,” he recalls. The other doctor who impacted him was Dr. Susan Dubois. Dr. Dubois was just out of her fellowship herself, so not much older than Dr. Miller, but her sense of humor, intelligence, and fantastic bedside manner impressed Dr. Miller. “She was very helpful getting me into my fellowship,” Dr. Miller shares.
The first two years of medical school classes weren’t much different from any other advanced college classes, but the second two years were when things got really interesting. “Once you start dealing with patients and the hospital, being on call and all that stuff, I think that’s when people can get overwhelmed more easily. You just take it one rotation at a time,” he elaborates. “There are some that you’re going to love, and there are some that you won’t like very well, but you just take it day by day and get through it, and before you know it you’re at the end.” Dr. Miller appreciated having his classmates around to have a support group of people going through the same things when challenging times arose.
Dr. Miller came to Bond Clinic in 2003, after his fellowship in Atlanta. The two-year fellowship was in an academic setting, and Dr. Miller realized he would prefer to be in a private practice. A friend in Winter Haven recommended Bond Clinic, and he’s enjoyed his time at the Winter Haven practice since then. The close-knit community of doctors provides a unique system of referral and support. Dr. Miller also finds that his patients are generally pleasant and appreciative of what he does.
“Medicine has changed a lot,” Dr. Miller says, adding that it can seem like healthcare has become more numbers-oriented, making sure that patients are doing what is required by insurers rather than focusing on what is practical and appropriate for the given situation. “You have to look past all that and find what’s right for this particular patient,” he explains. It can be difficult to balance the needs of the patient against the requirements of the insurance companies, but Dr. Miller takes the time to get to know his patients to earn their trust. He enjoys seeing his patients improve over time as he works with them to manage their diabetes or other endocrine issues.
Whether he is addressing a patient’s health concerns or photographing the rolling green hills of Ireland, Dr. Miller brings attention to detail and passion to his professional and personal life. And, just like a lens will zoom in on the chosen subject to capture its intricacies, he works to keep the focus of his endocrinology practice on the person, not just the medical condition, to find the best course of treatment.