“I see myself foremost as a teacher, so the legacy I hope to have is that of a mentor to the next generation.”
Daniel Sheehan grew up in Olean, N.Y., in a family of six healthy kids, “kind of like an Irish Brady Bunch.” Entering medicine was never on his radar until he worked alongside physicians while pursing his PhD in physiology at the University at Buffalo.
Shortly after Sheehan started his postdoctoral research fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins University, his father suddenly died of an aortic aneurysm.
“That was my midlife crisis at 30,” he recalls. “I reflected on my father’s life and the lives of those I’d admired and realized that my father was right: The greatest joy in life comes from helping others. Pursuing a career in academic medicine was the way to pull everything together.”
Sheehan stayed at Johns Hopkins, earning a medical degree in 1997. After completing his pediatric internship and residency, and pediatric pulmonology fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, he joined the faculty at Ohio State University.
In 2004, Sheehan was recruited back to the University at Buffalo, where he joined the Division of Pulmonology in the Department of Pediatrics. He has served as associate program director for the pediatric residency program at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and as an educational collaborator in the Office of Graduate Medical Education. Currently he is chief of the hospital’s Division of Pulmonology and associate professor of clinical pediatrics. In 2015, he was appointed associate dean for Medical Curriculum in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo.
Humanism in medicine is an area of professional focus and passion for Sheehan. He is a co-advisor for the University at Buffalo Resident/Fellow Branch of the Richard Sarkin/Emeritus Faculty Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society.
“Having wonderful mentors during my training at the University at Buffalo set a bar of excellence,” says Sheehan. “I see myself foremost as a teacher, so the legacy I hope to have is that of a mentor to the next generation.”