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Marc A. Notrica, M.D., M.S.: Honoring a mentor and furthering a passion for research

By Matt Galnor
February 2012

Instead of the traditional path from undergrad directly to medical school, Marc A. Notrica, M.D., M.S., spent five years as a research pharmacologist.

That passion for research still tugs at Notrica. Now that he’s back in his second stint as an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, Notrica is giving back to help fund research in his department.

Notrica contributed to the Irena Skora Education and Research Memorial Fund, a fund named after the former chair of anesthesiology who passed away in 2006. Dr Notrica worked with Dr. “Nina” Skora during his first stint at UF from 1998 to 2001 and he said he considered her a mentor, a friend and trusted colleague. She was like a member of his family.

“In order to advance medicine and to encourage critical thinking amongst our trainees, we need to encourage research,” Notrica said. “We need to encourage our students not to blindly accept what they read in a book. Breakthroughs in medicine are sometimes the result of serendipity and sometimes the result of thinking outside the box. If you want to be boring, just be ‘normal’.”

Notrica began his career in molecular pharmacology as a graduate student at Yale University and then had a career at Burroughs-Wellcome Research Labs, where he developed an interest in anesthesiology before heading to medical school at East Carolina University.

After residency he went into private practice in North Carolina, then came to Jacksonville for three years at UF. He left for private practice again, only to return to the campus in 2007.

“I’ve always felt a connection to this department; even when I was gone, I stayed in touch with the people here,” Notrica said. “I’ve always been active in education and research and this is the best place for me to amalgamate all of my interests.”

Outside of work, his interests which include music as evidenced by his brown surgical hat with guitars all over it.

Notrica said his interest in medicine began as a young boy through his uncle, Milton Helpern, M.D., a former New York City medical examiner and one of the pioneers of forensic medicine.

His uncle would bring him medical books, journals and take him to work at NYU. Notrica paid close attention to how his uncle dealt with people and tries to remember that when working with patients and other physicians.

“He could just as easily converse with the janitor as he could with one of his colleagues,” Notrica said. “He was a kind, gentle person, extremely knowledgeable and well-respected in his field.”

Notrica said he made the donation because he feels everyone should give back in some way – whether it’s financially or through volunteering time – to support the institution that makes “miracles” happen on a daily basis.

“We’re all taking something away from here,” Notrica said, “so we all have an obligation to put something back.”

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