Tonye Clifford Teme, MD, joined Regional Medical Group in April as the only NM-employed cardiac electrophysiologist in the Northwest Region and as part of the expansion of Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. Dr. Teme previously worked at Franciscan Health in Indianapolis.
What attracted you to NM and what are your goals for the Northwest Region program? My goal is to help create a comprehensive cardiac electrophysiology group under the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute umbrella that is able to provide the full range of cardiac electrophysiology services from simple to complex. At my prior hospital, I was director of the cardiac electrophysiology service for the past two years, and I looked at joining NM as an opportunity to grow from a leadership standpoint as well as from a clinical standpoint.
Helping to build a group from the ground floor up is appealing to me. We have very good independent cardiac electrophysiologists in this region and I am proud to work with them. Having a broader employed group of cardiac electrophysiologists will allow NM to provide integrated care, which is part of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute model. What drew you to a medical career and to cardiac electrophysiology in particular? What I like about cardiac electrophysiology is that it’s focused on a specific part of the heart — the heart rhythm — and is well understood. I like the insight into the heart rhythms, and the beauty of being able to manipulate them and, by doing that, help people feel better.
I’ve always been a tinkerer and fixer. My older brother and I would take apart our toys to figure out how they worked. Once we cobbled together our younger sister’s mechanical toy chicken — she wasn’t too happy about this — with a toy airplane, so it had the movement of a chicken and the lift mechanism of an airplane.
I came to medicine through mentors, family and friends, as well as my own volition. I went to a boarding school and was made the health person in the dorm, so when anyone had a health issue, they came to me first and then we went to the clinic together. Being trusted with the health of others at a young age made an impression. Although I was focused on becoming a veterinarian — I helped out at a vet school over summers — I also put in my high school yearbook that I wanted to be a cardiologist. Somehow I already had that idea. So when my dad said, “Why don’t you consider medical school?” I did.
What is your life like outside of Northwestern Medicine? I’m outdoorsy and like to bike. My wife Lauren and I have an 18-month-old son Elijah, and I like to go on hikes with him.
I’ve always been musically inclined. Not only did I have a band in medical school, in Indianapolis I had recently formed a band with other members of the cardiac care team, we were called Cardio Audio. I like to jam out with people, and I’m definitely looking forward to meeting people here who have the same passion.
To refer patients to Dr. Teme, call 815.759.8070, or find him in the NM Cardiovascular MD Referral app. You may text NMHEART to 43506 to receive a link to download the app, or search for it on the App Store or Google Play.