Alumni Feature: Dr. John D. Spencer

John Spencer

Following his graduation from Indiana University School of Medicine, John D. Spencer, MD completed his residency training at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. When exploring fellowship programs, Dr. Spencer looked for one that provided trainees with the opportunity to perform bench science. He chose the Nephrology fellowship program at Nationwide Children’s because of its established track record of outstanding scientists who have successfully mentored clinical fellows.

When asked to share a fun memory of his fellowship experience, Dr. Spencer shares that he became an immediate, and permanent, Buckeye fan, when during his first Saturday on call, then division chief, Dr. Mentser, took him to the Ohio State vs. Navy football game. Dr. Spencer adds that training under a large faculty group at Nationwide Children’s provided him with unique perspectives on patient care as well as a nice list of lessons that have stayed with him since his training:

  • Never hesitate to ask for help.
  • Aminoaciduria is always in the differential diagnosis.
  • Robots will never replace doctors.
  • Nothing replaces a good patient history.
  • Always save time to mow your lawn.

Following fellowship training at Nationwide Children’s, Dr. Spencer joined the faculty as a clinician in the Nephrology Division and a principal investigator in the Center for Clinical and Translational Research. While he has continued in these roles since graduation, the roles have evolved. Last year, he became the Division Chief of Nephrology. Also, his lab has tripled in size while his team has continued to investigate the innate host defenses of the kidney and bladder. Dr. Spencer has continued to collaborate with his fellowship mentors and shares that these are “highly valuable relationships that should stand the test of time.”

Speaking of time, when asked what he would say if the “today” version of Dr. Spencer could talk to the “fellow” version of himself, he responded that he would advise his earlier self to “Learn how to type more efficiently,” and “Don’t get a smart phone.” 

Learn more about Dr. Spencer and Nephrology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.