David Pating, MD, is Chief of Addiction Medicine at Kaiser Medical Center, San Francisco, and is a psychiatrist specializing in addiction psychiatry.
David Pating was raised in physician family in Los Angeles. He attended Stanford University, where he met his wife Camille. Together they completed Medical School (David) and Law School (Camille) at UCLA before moving to the Bay Area. David initially planned to enter ENT like his father and completed 2 years of General Surgery, until his decision to transfer into the Psychiatry residency program at UCSF. David has been employed at Kaiser Permanente for the last 25 years where he is Chief of Addiction Medicine for Kaiser San Francisco and Regional Chair of Addiction Medicine for Kaiser Northern California. David is currently a Governor’s appointee and Vice-Chair of California’s Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Commission (Prop 63). He has 3 children and is active in his Japanese Buddhist temple community. He loves the outdoors and theatre.
Why are you an SFMS member?
SFMS is the best in organized medicine. Our members are informed, connected to their communities, and care deeply about their patients. That’s why I’m a member!
Which SFMS member resource is most helpful to you?
Every month, I read the SFMS Journal. The articles provide a timely summary of important trends affecting medicine. I share the SFMS Journal with my residents because the public health updates are not covered elsewhere. Good job SFMS editors!
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Lately, I’ve enrolled in Japanese language classes and started a master’s program in Buddhist studies. Last year, I received entry level ordination as a Buddhist priest. Now I can perform weddings and funerals. If any SFMS member thinks “medicine is killing them,” contact me for special funeral rates. If you can’t find me, I’ll be idling with my family at our cabin or fly fishing the McCloud River.
What is the most important thing you learned in medical school or residency?
Be humble: Half of what we know will be proven false! Be caring: It could be us one day in that hospital bed!
What are some of the biggest opportunities or challenges you see in health care within the next five years?
I ardently support performance improvement under the Affordable Care Act. However, as medicine becomes increasingly technology and metrics driven—striving harder “to do more with less”—we must resist the temptation to become mere technocrats. We must bring our whole selves to treat whole persons—to restore wellness and recovery.
What do you love most about practicing psychiatry?
Growing up in a physician’s family, I received most of my early medical care around the dinner table. “Give me that spoon so I can look at your tonsils,” my ENT Dad would say. Today, as Chief of Kaiser San Francisco’s Addiction Medicine (CDRP) clinic, I love to practice as if each of my patients is a member of my family. My clinic is one big love fest. We do a great job keeping some difficult people with bad addictions both clean and sober. And, as a teaching clinic, we’ve been able to infect another generation of young physicians with similar enthusiasm. Great stuff!
What is your favorite restaurant in San Francisco?
Farallon Restaurant. The atmosphere is so exotic and the food’s magical—très romantique!
If you weren’t a physician, what profession would you like to try?
I have one great novel somewhere inside of me. I just need to fix my old typewriter to make it come true.