Written By: Jane Erikson
Of all the family photos in Scott Klewer’s office, one seems especially significant. It’s a 1997 photo of his two young sons, in a frame decorated with quotes. One says, “Dad, we’d like to be just like you.”
Seventeen years later, Klewer, a 1991 graduate of the UA College of Medicine and now chief of the UA Division of Pediatric Cardiology, is watching his sons pursue their own bright futures.
His younger son, Matt, is a sophomore at Duke University, majoring in economics. “He kind of followed in his mom’s path,” Klewer says; Julie Klewer is a CPA.
But his older son, Jake, a graduate of Pomona College, is following the “just like you” quote more literally.
Jake is enrolled in the UA College of Medicine – Tucson Class of 2018. His dad never pushed him to be a doctor, he says. His inspiration stems more from his experience with a vertebral fracture, the summer before he started high school.
“I felt scared and depressed and vulnerable,” Jake recalls. “But my orthopaedic surgeon at the time was compassionate and helpful and comforting throughout the entire healing process. I would love to be in a similar position of helping others when they are in need.”
Clearly, his dad is delighted. “It’s very gratifying and really rewarding to see Jake start on this path,” Scott Klewer says. “But growing up, I think it was just a matter of encouraging him to challenge himself and to try to do something that he enjoyed and was excited about. Now that it’s come to pursuing medicine, it’s really nice to see.”
Jake is most interested in orthopaedic surgery – but he’s following his father’s advice and keeping an open mind. “I want to be open to discovering things,” he says. “So while I’m leaning toward orthopaedics, I’m not shutting anything else out.”
Scott also started medical school with an interest in orthopaedics – stemming from sports injuries while growing up – and pediatrics based on his volunteer experiences prior to entering medical school.
“I found myself gravitating toward something heart-related during my basic-science years,” he says. “I fell in love with the cardiovascular system, and through process of elimination, ended up in pediatric cardiology.”
Medical school has changed so much since he was a student, Scott has suggested Jake turn to his senior classmates for contemporary advice and information. “The best piece of advice I have to offer is go to class,” Scott says.
He’s not being facetious. The College of Medicine gives all incoming students iPads, so they can watch podcasts of lectures whenever it’s convenient, rather than make it to every class.
“I don’t think I would ever not go to class. I think it would make me nervous to not go,” Jake says.
A week before classes started, he was already experiencing butterflies. “People ask me, ‘Are you excited?’ I say ‘Yes, and a million other emotions.’ I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared or nervous. This is something I’ve never experienced before. It’s going to be a whole new level of hard work and commitment and dedication. But I think I’m ready for it.”
So now that father and son will be spending most of their time in the College of Medicine, what will that be like? Lunch together every Friday?
“I would love that,” Jake says. “But I think our interaction will more likely be at home, like having Sunday dinners at my parents’ house.”
“You have an open invitation to dinner any time.” Scott tells his son. “But if we do get a chance to run into one another at the medical center, lunch will be on me!”