In addition to the classroom and exam room, the other room Joseph Flood, MD, enjoys spending time in is the kitchen. With a mother who worked as a local tavern cook and a policeman father who enjoyed preparing tasty meals as much as arresting bad guys, Dr. Flood, a rheumatologist at the Columbus Arthritis Center and professor of internal medicine at The Ohio State University (OSU), was genetically bound to be a food connoisseur.
“When I was a kid, food was always the way that our family expressed love,” he says, crediting his multi-ethnic relatives for not only his culinary skills but also teaching him that cooking was not woman’s work. “If it was okay for my dad to be in the kitchen, it was okay for me.”
More than 50 years later, Dr. Flood still enjoys preparing his father’s famous puffed shrimp and his aunt’s delicious Slovenian pastry, potica. As a self-proclaimed aficionado of food, he says food must not only taste good, but also be safe, locally sourced and cherished.
Dream Job, Dream Community
Dr. Flood completed his medical education and training at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He graduated medical school in 1979 and then finished his internship in 1980, residency in 1982 and fellowship in 1984.
Initially, his goal was to treat poor people in the inner city of Cleveland, where he was raised. But because Georgetown didn’t offer a family practice program, his interests turned to neurology.
“I fell in love with the brain,” says Dr. Flood. “But in my fourth year of medical school, I was doing an elaborate procedure to see how deeply in coma a patient was in the intensive care unit. I thought how interesting it was that I was doing that procedure but how little good I was doing for that patient.”
His focus then switched to internal medicine. After completing a rotation in rheumatology, he realized the field offered everything he wanted: interesting, esoteric diseases, exciting breaththroughs in the immune system and, above all, longitudinal care—long-term patient relationships.
Shortly after completing his fellowship, the Central Ohio Medical Group offered him the perfect job: a rheumatology position in its large practice along with an appointment in an affiliated residency program. It also offered the prospect of a faculty appointment at the OSU College of Medicine.