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Medical Student Meets His Match, and the Dean, in the Gym

10/16/2009

Not everybody would appreciate a workout as a gift, but first-year medical student Paul Rothenberg was thrilled when his aunt gave him a high-intensity, weight resistance session she won at a silent auction for his 27th birthday.

Neither was the former college football player and gym denizen daunted about his exercise partner — Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., a marathon runner and weight trainer who's known almost as much for his physical fitness as his expertise in cardiology.

"I don't know if I could keep up with his running," Rothenberg said before meeting the Dean at the Miller School's Medical Wellness Center Thursday evening. "But I think I might be able to lift a little more than him."

But with Jeff Farmer, project manager of the soon-to-be-launched Genetics, Exercise and Research Program, supervising, Rothenberg broke a sweat while trying to match Dean Goldschmidt pound for grueling pound. Their toughest task: chest-pressing two 90-pound dumb bells, about 35 pounds more than the Dean's weight.

"He's tough. Very tough," Dean Goldschmidt said of Rothenberg.

Rothenberg's aunt, Trisha Roth, M.D., a UM alumna and California pediatrician, claimed the workout at a silent auction held during Medical Alumni Weekend in March to benefit medical education and, knowing her nephew's penchant for exercise, bestowed it on him.

"She knows I like to work out so she gave back to the school and gave me the opportunity to spend time with the Dean," Rothenberg said.