Blog
May 27
Provider Spotlight: Dr. Michael Holland

Michael Holland, MD, Medical Director of Saratoga Hospital Employee Health Services and Saratoga Hospital Medical Group – Occupational Medicine, received the 2020 Meritorious Service Award from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. He is board-certified in three Preventive Medicine Specialties: Occupational Medicine, Undersea & Hyperbaric Medicine, and Addiction Medicine. He is also board-certified in Emergency Medicine and the subspecialty of Medical Toxicology. Dr. Holland

Dr. Holland has been awarded Fellowship designation by five medical institutions, including the European Association of Poison Centers and Clinical Toxicologists, the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, the American College of Medical Toxicology, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and the American College of Emergency Physicians. 

Earning his medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania, Dr. Holland began residency training at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine and then completed his Public Health Service scholarship obligation, serving several years in rural West Virginia. He subsequently went on to complete his Occupational Medicine training at Rutgers University’s Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine and his Medical Toxicology training at the NYC Poison Control Center. Dr. Holland and his wife live locally. They have four grown children and three granddaughters that they cherish well and like to spoil often.  

Q. Why did you choose a career in medicine, and why this specialty? 
A.  I have always liked science. I was intrigued by doctors, including the ones on television, such as Marcus Welby. Of course, I can’t watch TV doctor shows now. They’re nowhere near true to life, but they did get me interested in medicine when I was growing up. 
The biggest influence was my father’s illness. When I was a child, my dad was sick with rheumatic fever and then endocarditis. This was back in the day when people were in oxygen tents and kids were not allowed to visit, but they made an exception for our family because he was in the hospital for a month. He thankfully recovered and lived to age 78, but his illness and subsequent recovery left a lasting impact on me. 

I understand how tough illness can be on patients and their families. Throughout my career, I have put my medical skills wherever I was most needed at the time, which is how I became boarded in five different specialties.  

I am especially drawn to toxicology, which is prevalent in occupational medicine given exposures such as lead, PCBs, asbestos, and chromium. Toxicology requires quick, critical thinking, because it isn’t always obvious why someone comes into the emergency room in extreme distress. If they are unable to tell you what happened, you have to figure it out by understanding the signs and symptoms they are exhibiting so you can treat them.  

Q. What is the personal or professional philosophy that most guides your work?
A.
 Although it could be hard when I was working in a busy emergency department, I always try to do my best to treat every patient as if they are a beloved family member because they certainly are to someone. No matter what their condition or how far down an illness or addiction may have taken them, everyone is somebody’s child. I believe it’s essential to treat everyone with respect and compassion and give the best care I possibly can.  

Q. What is your most memorable moment from your time here at Saratoga Hospital?
A.  
Just about every part of this pandemic has been memorable. Before it happened, the Employee Health team had always been ready for our staff, handling everything from health maintenance and prevention to those rare cases of an infectious disease exposure or accident. It didn’t require a big team or the daily presence of a medical director.
That changed with the pandemic. The sheer magnitude of potential exposures and shifting regulations coming from the federal and state levels required my 24/7 attention to Employee Health in the beginning and full-time attention throughout. I always knew I worked with knowledgeable, talented people here in the hospital, but to see how everyone stepped up, even coming in from other departments to help keep all 3,100 employees safe; it was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.  

Our employee vaccination clinic stands out as the most dramatic change in this long pandemic. Being in charge of it, I was there to see the uplifting feelings and the positive energy that came with the realization that we’re finally seeing a future without this catastrophic disease. I could not be more grateful to our entire team, the nurses, technicians, people from other departments, and everyone who helped keep the hospital staff and patients safe.

Q. What helpful words of advice or tips would you most like to share with existing or potential patients of your specialty? 
A.
Stay safe in your workplace so you don’t need us. Those rules and regulations are there to protect you and your coworkers. I also encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The people I am seeing who are getting sick now are those who have not been vaccinated. Tragically, we have lost people as young as in their twenties to COVID who were not vaccinated. These are completely preventable deaths. 

Small pox was eradicated from the planet with a vaccine that was the same level of 95% effectiveness as the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Getting the vaccine not only protects you but also your family and your community, making it safer for everyone. My best advice is to get vaccinated, follow directions, don’t smoke, wear your seatbelt, wear masks and your standard work protective gear, and stay safe.

Q. What might patients be surprised to learn about you? 
A.
 I love to speak Spanish. I am trying to become more proficient in the language. I try to take my vacations in places where I can immerse myself in the local Spanish culture and converse with the local people. I also love to sing karaoke—Neil Diamond, Elton John, Jimmy Buffet are my go-to artists—but I haven’t yet tackled Spanish karaoke. Maybe someday!  

Saratoga Hospital Medical Group – Occupational Medicine has two convenient locations: Malta, and Queensbury. To learn more about Dr. Holland and the Occupational Medicine services at Saratoga Hospital, please visit SaratogaHospital.org.


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