People Profiles: Dr. Christian Woods

Christian Woods, MD (Pulmonary and Critical Care; Infectious Diseases)

When Christian Woods, MD (Pulmonary and Critical Care; Infectious Diseases) walked into Washington Hospital Center for his internship more than 20 years ago, he only intended to stay for a few years.

“My residency turned into a Chief Residency, which turned into fellowship one to fellowship two, and now I’ve been an attending physician since 2010,” Dr. Woods recalled.

In addition to being a double board-certified physician, Dr. Woods is the Program Director for the pulmonary and critical care medicine fellowship at MedStar Washington Hospital Center as well as an Associate Program Director for the internal medicine program. Dr. Woods deeply enjoys teaching and watching each resident or fellow’s individual journey.

“I learn just as much from my trainees, I think, as they learn from me,” he said. “I have a lot of pride watching them accomplish great things and become great physicians.”

Part of what makes a Program Director great, Dr. Woods believes, is having a personal investment in the success of your trainees and being willing to serve as a mentor. He experienced this first-hand as an intern when the esteemed Chair of Medicine at Washington Hospital Center at the time treated a young Dr. Woods as a respected physician, and not “just another resident.”

“I can give you the smartest doctor in the world to be your attending. But if the environment is not right, and you don’t feel comfortable and you don’t feel like you can inquire and ask questions, it’s a wasted opportunity,” Dr. Woods explained.

A lot of things have changed in the more than 20 years Dr. Woods has worked at MedStar Health, but GME and medical education has always remained a focus. “What’s unique about MedStar Health is that medical education and GME are so well regarded within our institution, and that makes it a great place to work.”

That’s why Dr. Woods is excited about the opportunity to further contribute to the success of MedStar Health GME as one of three inaugural GME Leadership Fellows. This unique fellowship is helping Dr. Woods expand his leadership capabilities while giving him new insight into what it takes to run a world-class medical education consortium.

As a student who became interested in the field of infectious disease after seeing how potent HIV medicines brought new hope to a devastating disease, and a physician who has experienced first-hand the challenges of providing evidence-based critical care in the face of a novel virus during the height of a COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Woods knows that medicine is always changing. What he sees on the horizon for medicine is an expansion of global collaboration and education to better care for patients. For example, using synchronous training to teach to residents and fellows at MedStar Health – and around the country. Or using a telehealth platform to help a physician across the globe manage a ventilator console.

When Dr. Woods is not practicing medicine or teaching residents and fellows, he enjoys spending time with family. He also turned to building complicated Lego sets during the COVID-19 pandemic to relieve stress – a hobby that he has continued alongside his two sons. Next up on his Lego list? A 9,000-piece replica of the Titanic.