Educator Spotlight

 Dr. Donald Steinweg, MD

Associate Professor, Internal Medicine, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
Associate Program Director, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Carilion Health System


“It is an honor to say that I trained under Dr. Donald Steinweg,” says Dr. White, a former resident. This along with many other anecdotes from former learners are a testament to the exceptional qualities exemplified by Dr. Donald Steinweg, this month’s TEACH Outstanding Faculty Member. Dr. Steinweg received his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and went on to complete his Internal Medicine residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. There he became the first fourth year Chief Resident in Walter Reed history.  After leaving Walter Reed, Dr. Steinweg went on to become the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. For over 20 years, Dr. Steinweg has been a practicing internist and has held teaching roles with both Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and the Carilion Health System. When asked when he first became interested in teaching, Dr. Steinweg shared that it was during residency that his interest was first sparked after seeing the medical students’ appreciation for the time that he and other residents devoted to them. Today, the energy and eagerness to learn seen in medical students are still his favorite part of teaching. “Their excitement comes with more energy,” Dr. Steinweg muses. Today, Dr. Steinweg connects with these eager learners by employing his educational philosophy to “meet learners where they are.” He shares, “The most important factor regarding how much new information someone can learn on a new subject is to take the time to find where they are.” This understanding of individual learning differences and his efforts to help students improve exemplifies the dedication Dr. Steinweg has for his learners. Dr. Steinweg finds that “getting to know the person who has the disease rather than the disease itself” to be his favorite part of teaching, stressing the importance of the patient interaction with students.  For new faculty preparing to take on the role of teaching medical students and residents, Dr. Steinweg encourages them to explore adult learning theory early in their career. As Dr. Steinweg counts down the days to retirement, his plate still remains full with commitments. First on his agenda is to undergo and recover from back surgery. After this, he will be jumping back in to his role with the clinical skills course for 1st and 2nd year medical students. He will also be volunteering his time at the Bradley Free Clinic and engaging in activities at his church.

Dr. Steinweg’s efforts exemplify the characteristics of an outstanding medical educator – emphasizing the importance of patient interaction, identifying learner differences, and fostering learners enthusiasm. His commitment to teaching, leadership, and overall professionalism as a teacher and mentor can be seen by the mark he has made on students, residents and beyond.

Thank you, Dr. Steinweg, for your years of providing exceptional guidance and instruction to future physicians. Your dedication, inspiration, and lasting impression can be seen below in the enthusiastic and kind words shared by some of your former learners.

Dr. Steinweg is the model that a young internist should strive to be. Compassionate, caring, thoughtful… the list goes on. But most importantly I know that he listens to his patients. There are may things that modern medicine does not have an answer for and patients are not always looking for someone to give them an answer, they are looking for someone to listen. And, Dr. Steinweg taught me to listen. 

Bradley L. Icard, DO
Pulmonary Critical Care Fellow, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine 

Thanks Dr Steinweg for all your help in my training.  You are an excellent role model of what a great physician should be like.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge that made me become the doctor I am today.  Besides being a great teacher to me, you have been there as a doctor for my parents. Your love and support as a physician to my family when we needed you will not be forgotten. You were there for my dying father and for my mom.  You are an excellent physician, loved by your patients, and you have made a difference in so many lives.  Thanks for everything. 

 Christina Abraham, MD
Allergy and Asthma Associates, Inc

 “One of my most memorable experiences with Dr. Steinweg was during an annual review.  I met with Dr. Steinweg in his office and as I sat down he made it appear as though he was deep in thought about one of his clinic patients lab results.  He seemed to struggle about what to do for his patient with the recent thyroid test results.  Fortunately for him,  I was sitting in front of him and he asked what I should do.  Well, I wasn’t really interested in his patient or the thyroid test results, I was there for my annual interview.  I could tell my answer to his question wasn’t pleasing but hey, it wasn’t my patient so he could choose what he wanted to do.  Once again, I was there for an annual review and interview.  As I left that meeting it quickly donned on me that Dr. Steinweg had done a magnificent acting job and I had performed poorly at my annual review.”

“P.S.  Dr. Steinweg, I apologize for any grammatical errors in the above paragraph that you may encounter.”

 Troy Johnson, DO
St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center

 Dr. Steinweg, to me, epitomized what I now understand to be an exceptional physician.
I reflect back on the days I was able to shadow the good Doctor in his clinic and realize just how much I learned. From initial chart review, to staging the chart, the first “Hello!” to the patient, listening to the patient, engaging the patient in their own healthcare and making a plan… All done with a calm cool demeanor with plenty of humor sprinkled in. A gentleman, an educator, a family man. It is an honor to say that I trained under Dr. Donald Steinweg. I wish him all the best as he moves on to the next chapter.

 Donald J. White, MD, MS
Southern California Permanente Medical Group

As a 2009 graduate of the Carilion internal medicine residency program, I had the honor and privilege of working with Dr Steinweg at the Crystal Springs IM clinic.  I am truly thankful for that opportunity.  Aside from gaining practical knowledge, it provided a means for close observation of a refined, thought-provoking, and compassionate physician.  Dr Steinweg instilled the desire for a deeper understanding of the patient as a whole, to encompass the medical, emotional, psychological, and social aspects that embody the person.  As a brilliant educator, advisor, and mentor, he has touched the lives of countless residents and students.  I have great appreciation for his impact on me, and will be forever grateful.  Thank you Dr Steinweg, and congratulations on your retirement. 

Chad M. Henry, MD
Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital