Shaun Accardo, 38
Musculoskeletal Oncologist-Orthopaedic Surgeon, Baton Rouge Orthopaedic Clinic; Co-chair-Sarcoma Specialty Treatment Team, Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center; Co-founder, Barney’s Farm Sanctuary
- Establishing the Sarcoma Specialty Treatment Team at Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center.
- Completing an international traveling fellowship in Musculoskeletal Oncology and Orthopaedic Trauma.
- Starting an organization devoted to caring for neglected and unwanted animals.
Rescues, rehabilitates and rehouses neglected and unwanted animals through Barney’s Farm Sanctuary, which he founded, runs and co-manages.
WHAT IS YOUR BIRTHDATE?
NAME ONE BOOK THAT HAS INSPIRED YOU PROFESSIONALLY
Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery by Richard Selzer.
WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
An astronaut, but my dreams were squashed when, at the age of 6, I started wearing glasses (no one told me until well into my teenage years that this ruined my chances).
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB, HOW OLD WERE YOU AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?
I was a barista and sandwich maker at a local New Orleans Coffee shop. Nothing teaches patience and tolerance like the service industry, especially when people are waiting for their morning coffee.
WHAT IS THE STRANGEST JOB YOU’VE EVER HAD?
Years before medical school I was an emergency medical technician, but before working on an ambulance I worked a job where my role was to travel to local hospitals to pick and decontaminate the various equipment used on ambulances (spine boards, straps, stretchers, etc.). Without doubt, it was bizarre, frequently surreal, and often unpleasant.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE FOR A BUSINESS LUNCH IN BATON ROUGE, AND WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DISH THERE?
Ava Street Café, for sure. Their vermicelli bowls are excellent.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Being a part of the creation of our state’s first named Sarcoma Specialty Treatment Team is certainly, to this point, my greatest achievement. Being surrounded by such a supportive Cancer Center, filled with bright minds, fresh ideas, daily scholarship, and incredible work ethic continues to inspire and motivate me to push this specialty care further and further.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST FULFILLING MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
For me, fulfilling moments happen daily: the repeating opportunity to care for people who are often up against their most frightening scenario, along with the privilege to gain their trust, helping to carry them through such challenging, often confusing, and intensely emotional times.
WHAT WAS YOUR PROFESSIONAL “AHA” MOMENT?
Early in my training, I assisted in a surgery with one of my mentors. It was a particularly gruesome and sad cancer case, wherein he taught me not only the technical pearls of the surgery, but also the personal and social consequences of treating people with such difficult problems.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THE HARD WAY?
That not every person, or animal for that matter, with whose care I’ve been entrusted will have a perfect, good, or seemingly fair outcome.
WHAT GIVES YOU PROFESSIONAL INSPIRATION?
The courage and resolve I see in the patients who have trusted me with their care.
WHAT IS THE BEST COMPLIMENT YOU’VE EVER GOTTEN FROM A COLLEAGUE OR BOSS?
“We appreciate what you do and what you’ve brought” – from a longtime local mentor.
ARE YOU ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA? IF SO, ON WHICH PLATFORMS ARE YOU MOST ACTIVE?
Very peripherally active on Facebook, Instagram, and, to a lesser extent, LinkedIn.
HOW MANY TEXTS DO YOU SEND ON AN AVERAGE DAY? HOW MANY EMAILS?
Text: 100-200; Emails: 50-100
HOW LOW WILL YOU ALLOW YOUR REMAINING PHONE OR COMPUTER BATTERY LIFE GET (IN %) BEFORE YOU HAVE AN ANXIETY ATTACK?
It goes to zero just about daily. Some days I have a charger, some days I don’t!
HOW MANY UNREAD MESSAGES ARE IN YOUR INBOX RIGHT NOW?
2,296 (and growing!)
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE APP AT THE MOMENT?
Google Maps: literally has all of the information about everything you will ever need.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT OF THE PAST DECADE?
The continued advancement of the smartphone and the apps that make it work.
WHAT TECHNOLOGY DO YOU WISH WAS NEVER INVENTED?
Car alarms. Yep, car alarms.
WHAT TIME DO YOU GET UP ON WORKDAY MORNINGS?
Between 4:00 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.
BREAKFAST AT HOME? BREAKFAST ON THE GO? BREAKFAST AT YOUR DESK? NO BREAKFAST AT ALL?
Breakfast on the go, if you count a very large cup of iced coffee as breakfast.
THE SAYING GOES: “BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.” SPECIFICALLY, WHAT ARE YOU “BEING” TO MAKE BATON ROUGE BETTER?
Kindness, compassion, and empathy coupled with skill, knowledge, and knowhow is what we strive for at Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. Trying for that ideal is better and will be better for Baton Rouge and the region.
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE “GROWN UP”?
Am I grown up?
WHAT WAS THE BEST VACATION YOU HAVE EVER TAKEN?
For a month between medical school and residency, I bicycled western Europe: Ireland, UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, and France, camping and eating innumerable baguettes along the way.
FAVORITE GIFT YOU WERE GIVEN AS A CHILD?
My first guitar, at age 13—a celeste green Fernandes Vertigo, given to me by my father.
WHICH TALENT OR SUPERPOWER WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE AND WHY?
The ability to put up horse fencing with little to no effort!
WHAT’S A NICKNAME YOUR FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS HAVE FOR YOU?
I don’t really have one, honestly.
WHAT ARE YOU SUPERSTITIOUS ABOUT?
Very little, actually.
WHO FASCINATES YOU?
All of those that make a living, and live a life, through art, be it music, fine arts, or performance.
WHICH FICTIONAL CHARACTER DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH?
Cold brew iced coffee.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BAND OR SONG?
This is an impossible question to answer, so I’ll give you my top 5 favorite bands: The Cure, American Football, Neurosis, The XX, The Specials.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE?
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?
Likely the first one to get taken down in a zombie apocalypse, despite being overly prepared.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR 18-YEAR-OLD SELF?
Just keep doing what you’re doing; it’ll all work out.
Too many to count or list. See the Barney’s Farm Sanctuary Facebook page for current count.
Music, guitars, and farm work.
TELL US ABOUT A MOMENT THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE.
Having Allison enter my life, bringing her energy, passion, and character into what I do, and opening up this whole other thing I knew I loved, but never knew first hand: animal rescue.
WHAT’S THE NEXT BIG PERSONAL OR CAREER CHALLENGE YOU PLAN TO TAKE ON?
Expanding the reach, drive, and visibility of the Sarcoma Specialty Treatment Team and the Cancer Center through outreach, satellite clinics, and expanding scholarship.
WHAT CONCERNS YOU MOST ABOUT THE FUTURE?
Division in our society – most visible by the lack of willingness to compromise, admit when wrong, not boast when right, and inability to empathize with those of different mindsets, upbringings, opinions, or social status.
WHAT GIVES YOU THE MOST HOPE ABOUT THE FUTURE?
The daily reminder that there are beings, people and animals, in need of our help, that we can help.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE FOR FUTURE FORTY UNDER 40 HONOREES?
Be yourself, work hard, treat people well and everything will fall into place.
DO YOU PLAN TO BE IN THE CAPITAL REGION FIVE YEARS FROM NOW? WHY OR WHY NOT?
I absolutely plan to. Baton Rouge continues to be the healthcare capital of the state and region, and I think that will become more and more of the case as time goes on. Our Sarcoma Specialty Treatment Team also continues its reach and expertise, with the opportunity to create a magnet treatment program for the region.
IF NAMED KING FOR A DAY, WHAT IS ONE CHANGE YOU WOULD MAKE IN BATON ROUGE?
Fix, permanently, the out of sync traffic lights all across the city.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN BATON ROUGE; WHAT WORKS AND WHAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT?
Quality of life in BR is great, and has certainly improved since I first came to town: with new restaurants, more cultural enrichment, and more people. What works is the city continues to expand and improve, with the exception of traffic abatement. See above for what needs improvement (traffic!!!).
DO YOU HAVE A BUCKET LIST? IF SO, WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 THINGS ON IT?
- Visit the Maldives
- Release an album of original music
- Scuba dive with whales