At the heart of medicine is the doctor-patient relationship. For Dr. Mark Sornson, a dermatologist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, the relationship he shares with his patients highlights an 18-year career hallmarked by empathy, compassion and gratitude.
“I love my patients,” says Dr. Sornson. “Every day I look forward to seeing them and learning what they’re doing. They look forward to their visits with me, which is an honor.”
Dr. Sornson, who was recently awarded his 100th Guardian Angel recognition, also makes history as the first dermatologist at Sharp to reach this triple-digit milestone. The recognition became even more special when it was revealed that Mark’s parents, Zola and Dr. Rodney Sornson, unknowingly granted the honor.
“The 100th just happened to be from my parents, which is a pretty wild full circle,” says Dr. Sornson. “They’ve seen me not very often in the last few years, but they’ve given a couple of Guardian Angels, which is really cool.”
By “full circle,” Dr. Sornson refers to his father, Dr. Rodney Sornson, whose 20-year career at Sharp HealthCare included serving as chief of the Emergency Department at Sharp Grossmont Hospital until he retired in 1997.
“I didn’t know the contributions to the Sharp HealthCare Foundation, and in his name, gave him promotions toward that goal of becoming an angel,” says Dr. Rodney Sornson. “His mother and I are very proud.”
Growing up, Dr. Rodney Sornson describes how their son demonstrated a dedication to excellence that was visible early on in his work ethic as a student. As a high school senior, Dr. Sornson took college-level courses at San Diego’s local universities. “Mark is a very intelligent young man,” says Dr. Rodney Sornson. “When his mother and I took him to enroll at Berkeley, we took him up there to enroll him as a freshman. By the end of the day, he was a junior.”
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Dr. Sornson obtained an MD-PhD at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. He describes how specializing in dermatology allowed him to fulfill the breadth of practice he sought.
“I loved everything in medical school,” says Dr. Sornson. “Dermatology was a way for me to still see everybody, from young kids all the way up to elderly people. We do surgical procedures, handle clinical issues and occasionally consult on hospitalized patients. You really have the ability to be a specialist, but handle things from every different field of medicine.”
Dr. Sornson’s dedication to excellence is something that has continued throughout his professional career. He’s served in a variety of leadership roles, including dermatology chief and board member at Sharp Rees-Stealy, as well as president of the San Diego County Medical Society.
That same dedication also transfers deeply into his relationship with patients.
“For me, The Sharp Experience is really trying to do the very best that I can for each patient,” he says. “Each time I see a patient, I try to treat them like somebody in my family. And they pay you back for that. You feel a tremendous amount of appreciation every day. That is something that very few occupations have.”
In what has been a year unlike any other, honoring Sharp’s doctors and caregivers takes on a special significance — for both the physicians and the communities Sharp serves. Through generous support and donations to the Guardian Angel program, Sharp is able to fund patient-centered programs, advanced medical technology and healing facilities.
“I can see that we’re doing amazing, wonderful things,” says Dr. Sornson. “You think about what foundations are able to do when they’ve got a lot of years under them. Those 100 Guardian Angels are like tiny, building blocks of a cathedral for the future. It’s going to be pretty amazing.”
In recognition of National Doctors’ Day on March 30, 2021, please consider honoring an outstanding physician in your or a loved one’s life with a donation in their honor. A tribute gift made in any amount will support innovations to patient care and will qualify your honored physician for the 2021 Doctors’ Day award recognition.