Dr. Mike Bensler, electrophysiologist in the Division of Cardiology, shares about upbringing in Alaska, his path to Mississippi, and his love of UMMC.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, which allowed me to enroll in the WWAMI program through the University of Washington School of Medicine and complete my first year of medical school at home. After graduating from medical school at UW in Seattle, I stayed at the university of Washington and completed my internal medicine residency.  Then I moved to Houston, Texas and completed Adult Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology fellowships at the Texas Heart Institute. One of my co-fellows in cardiology fellowship grew up in Clinton, MS, so he arranged a job interview for me that allowed me to work at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center as a cardiac electrophysiologist. My wife and I moved to Mississippi in 2010. I worked at Baptist (plus a “brief” 1 year stint in private practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2012) for the past 10 years before having the opportunity to join the UMMC faculty as a staff electrophysiologist in January 2020.

What do you do here at UMMC?

I work in the Division of Cardiology at UMMC as a staff cardiac electrophysiologist. I mainly do cardiac pacemaker and defibrillator implants along with electrophysiology studies and cardiac ablations.  I have worked with our adult cardiology fellows, which has been a wonderful experience. There is a large burden of cardiovascular disease in Mississippi so there are lots of patients with cardiac rhythm disorders that need help with cardiac rhythm management.  UMMC has excellent inpatient facilities and wonderful staff that are dedicated to helping patients.

What advice would you give to someone pursuing medicine today?

The main advice I would give someone pursuing medicine today is to understand that you have to work hard to gain knowledge in order to help patients. Health care providers are very fortunate to be able to take care of patients in our current health care system, and all of us are truly blessed to have a career in medicine. We need to remember that it is a privilege to be a health care provider.

What do you like most about UMMC?

I love the faculty and the trainees at UMMC. It is a phenomenal environment in which we practice medicine in at UMMC. Students, interns, residents, and fellows are eager to learn and work extremely hard to take care of patients. We take care of the sickest and most vulnerable patient population in the state of Mississippi; it is rewarding to help those who need it the most. The faculty at UMMC is second to none in Mississippi.

Tell us something about yourself that people may not know.

I played quite a bit of ice hockey growing up in Alaska. My older brother and I skated indoors or outdoors nearly every day until we left Alaska after high school.  My parents were very supportive and made playing ice hockey a lot of fun.  I have heard rumors that Jackson may be getting another minor league hockey team next year. I hope a team comes to Jackson so that I can take my wife and two daughters to a few games.

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