Dr. Radis brings a singular perspective to his creative non-fiction medical writing. After graduating from Bates College in 1976 with a degree in biology, Dr. Radis committed to a career in osteopathic medicine after meeting a D.O. family practice bush pilot in Baja, Mexico.
After completing his internal medicine residency, the young doctor moved his family to Peaks Island off the coast of Maine and provided primary care to four year-round islands in Casco Bay. In addition to his clinic duties on Peaks and Chebeague Islands, he traveled year-round by boat to the outer islands and logged more than 100 yearly house calls.
On Call: Photo, Jim McCarthy
Although Dr. Radis eventually left his Peaks Island medical practice for fellowship training in clinical immunology/rheumatology at the University of Pittsburgh’s Presbyterian University Hospital, he returned to Maine to practice rheumatology. For more than three decades he has lived on Peaks Island, commuting year-round on his boat, Dasakamo, to the mainland. His children, Kate and Molly, attended the Peaks Island grade school–at 40 students, one of the smallest grade schools in Maine—and graduated from Portland High School, where more than 30 languages are spoken by immigrant students from around the world.
Dr. Radis is proud of his D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) degree. He believes the focus on the whole person he received at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Bioscience has enabled him to better connect with his patients. His writing has been enriched by his long-lasting connections to his patient friends.
Throughout his years as both a primary health care physician and as a specialist, Dr. Radis has published both in peer-reviewed scientific journals and in the popular press. He has written on the narcotic epidemic, the logic of expanding Medicare for all Americans, raising the legal age for smoking to 21, medical marijuana (skeptical), and physician-assisted suicide (against). His experience in primary care has enriched his work in Public Health programs in South Sudan and Uganda. As the founder and medical director for the Maine-African Partnership for Social Justice (www.mapsj.org) he travels regularly to the Kiryandongo United Nations Settlement in Uganda where he partners with refugee groups in innovative public health programs.
His public health work continues on Peaks Island, where he assisted in the design of a new health center, lobbied for senior housing, and is active in developing an assisted living facility. He has been a member of the Peaks Island Health Center Board of Directors for more than 30 years.
His academic appointments have included Tufts Medical School, the University of Vermont Medical School, and the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM), where he is a clinical professor of medicine. For more than 20 years medical students at UNECOM have interacted with Dr. Radis’s patients in an annual, Guess what disease I have? emphasizing physical diagnosis to sharpen diagnostic skills.
Dr. Radis has been married for 40 years to Sandi Korpela Radis who began her career as a social worker and later worked as a Peaks Island plumber and electrician assistant. He counts himself fortunate to have a recreational lobster license and occasionally brings home something for dinner.
In recognition of his public health contributions in both primary care and rheumatology in Maine, Dr. Radis was recognized with the Louis Hanson Maine Physician of the year award in 2015.