When people think of customer service, they often think of a call center or a retail store. But for physician Stephen Sondike, service, as he sees it, is caring for others.
As the new director of Akron Children’s Hospital’s Adolescent Medicine, his primary ‘customers’ are preteens, teenagers and young adults. Here, his number one priority is service or finding new and better ways to care for his patients’ needs – from preventive services and dermatologic care to treating substance abuse and eating disorders.
Q: What emoji do you use the most?
A: Smiley face and thumbs up!
Q: What celebrity do you look the most like or what sitcom character do you act the most like?
A: When I was a teenager, everybody told me I looked like the kid in Vision Quest, Matthew Modine. But, somehow, I don’t look anything like him now. My colleagues tell me I remind them of Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld.
Q: Why did you want to become a doctor?
A: When I was an undergraduate, I thought I wanted to be a research scientist, but I really enjoyed working with the public and being in “customer service.” Being a physician was the perfect mix of my two interests.
Q: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
A: Hit the snooze button.
Q: What song do you know all the words by heart?
A: I’m a music nerd. I have been accused of knowing the words to every song ever written. I don’t know about that, but I do know the words to any Pink Floyd, Moody Blues or Beatles song for sure.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: Levittown, NY. The original mass-produced suburb.
Q: Who makes up your family?
A: My wife, Jenny, is a physician assistant in Allergy/Immunology at Akron Children’s. My oldest daughter, Julia, 23, is in pharmacy school; younger daughter, Alexandra, 10, loves ballet and ice skating; and, my son David, 8, loves hockey and chess.
Q: What’s your favorite movie/ book /TV show/sports team?
A: Mets, Jets, Islanders and Nets – the worst possible New York choice for each sport! Since I didn’t have a college team growing up, I jumped on the Mountaineer bandwagon while living in West Virginia.
Q: What was your first car and what’s your dream car?
A: My first car was a Chrysler Lebaron. I’d love to have a Tesla.
Q: Have you ever met anyone famous?
A: When I was a teenager, I worked as a security guard at the condo development where Roger McDowell (Mets pitcher) lived during the season. All the players constantly came in and out of the development. One time (don’t tell the boss), I left my post to help McDowell and Gary Carter put the top on his convertible Jeep!