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Seth Holst is an ophthalmologist with eight years experience practicing at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, including three years as full-time staff physician. He received his undergraduate degree from Penn State University in biology and physiology in 1994 and his M.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1998.
Holst served an internship at Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh (now UPMC Mercy), then completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Georgetown University Center for Sight in 2002.
“Working at VA has been rewarding for me both personally and professionally,” he said. “I really enjoy the time I spend with our Veterans. It’s great to have a chance to listen their stories of the past and hear their points of view on the current state of our country. These men and women sacrificed so much and are true heroes. I am honored every day to have the chance to help take care of them.”
One Veteran’s 70-year-old story
Holst especially remembers one WWII Veteran patient who, after his exam, reached into his wallet and pulled out a Nazi SS badge.
“He then told me the story of how he had fought the Nazis and had taken the badge from a dead German soldier and had carried it with him for the last 70 years so he’d never forget what he had been fighting for.
“I was so proud to shake his hand and say thank you.”
Holst grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Monroeville, Pa. and has two sons, aged 14 and 11. His father, who served in the Navy in Vietnam, and his mother, “Taught me to always work hard and strive to excel and never settle for doing the minimum. I try to maintain that philosophy as I get older as an example to my kids.”
His advice to Veteran patients: “As with most anything in medicine, the most important thing is to get regular routine preventative care. It’s always easier to treat problems and disease if you catch them early. Many eye conditions like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration can be diagnosed on exam long before the patient starts to have symptoms.”
Dr. Holst received the Murray F. McCaslin, M.D. Outstanding Clinical Preceptor of The Year Award from the senior residents at UPMC Eye and Ear Institute for the last two years. This award is given each year to a physician/preceptor who the residents feel has contributed greatly to their educations.
“Of the many things I appreciate and enjoy about working here at the VA is having the opportunity to work with, learn from, and teach the resident physicians. That has always been one the most rewarding parts of this job. Having them recognize me this way is extremely gratifying and is truly an honor.”
About the author: Keith E. Gottschalk is a Public Affairs Specialist at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System