Steinberg: From Caring to Canines and Everything in Between

March 19, 2019

Wanting to give back to the organization and profession that have given so much to them is a common desire for Society leaders. Karl Steinberg, MD, CMD, HMDC, our newly elected vice president, gives back in abundance and with his own personal touch.

Everyone knows Dr. Steinberg for many things. However, the two most prominent probably are his role as Caring for the Ages editor-in-chief and his passion for pet therapy.  With Caring, Dr. Steinberg has been an enthusiastic leader and visionary who has led the publication to tackle a wide array of cutting-edge issues and attract prestigious experts as contributors. “I’ve been an avid Caring reader since I joined AMDA back in the ‘90s. It was so relevant to my daily work; there was nothing else like it,” he says. “As editor, it’s been great to work with amazing authors, columnists, and editorial board members; and it’s been a treat to read the articles submitted every month.” While Dr. Steinberg is stepping down from this role after 10 years, he plans to continue writing his popular column for the publication and to stay engaged on the editorial board as emeritus editor. Dr. Steinberg is also associate editor of JAMDA, although he emphasizes that he is not primarily an academician.

Dr. Steinberg has enjoyed working with several talented managing editors, including Carey Cowles, who died late last year. It was decided at the Caring Editorial Board meeting in Atlanta to present an annual award for an outstanding Caring article in Ms. Cowles’ name.

As for the dogs, they are an essential part of Dr. Steinberg’s life and work. “I have three dogs now; and on any given day, I take at least one to work with me. Not everyone is a dog person; but for the great majority who do like them, dogs connect with people on a deep level,” he says. “For many residents, especially those who have some form of dementia, the dogs elicit feelings of unconditional love and the joy of simple things from childhood.” Dr. Steinberg’s pets also help start conversations and build trust with residents. “Sometimes it takes me half an hour to leave a building because people want to pet the dogs. It’s really a blessing,” he notes.

Of course, Dr. Steinberg is much more than Caring and canines. He is chief medical officer for Mariner Health Central and medical director of two skilled nursing homes and a hospice in San Diego County. He also is a faculty member at Case Western Reserve University Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering and the California State University Institute for Palliative Care.

Dr. Steinberg is an active Society member who has always been happy to volunteer his time for a wide array of activities. He is a popular speaker, and his sessions about policy issues always attract a standing-room-only crowd at the annual conference. He is the immediate past chair of the Public Policy Committee and has served on other committees and as a House of Delegates representative from California. In addition, he is a past president of the California Association of Long-Term Care Medicine and a winner of the organization’s Leadership Award in 2016.

“I’m honored and excited about being elected vice president of AMDA. This is my favorite organization, my professional home, and I look forward to serving in this capacity,” Dr. Steinberg says.  “We are a specialty that a lot of people aren’t aware of, and I look forward to increasing our visibility moving forward. Our annual conference in Atlanta was the second largest ever, but there are still many people who don’t know who we are. We need to strengthen our partnerships with other organizations and engage younger physicians and other stakeholders who work in our space.”