David Curfman, MD, Faculty Spotlight

Dr. David Curfman and his wife moved their family of six to Nashville last year, and have since been spending their time getting settled and discovering all the city has to offer. Dr. Curfman started his career in St. Louis, where he enjoyed the mentorship he received in private practice. He’s discovered that same collegiality here at Vanderbilt, where he sees a mix of stroke and general neurology patients. 

Tell us about your background.

I grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana. My parents were both doctors there. Later they got jobs in Fort Wayne, so I moved there for high school. I went back to West Lafayette to attend Purdue for undergrad. So you could say I spent my early years in Indiana. I went to medical school in Cleveland. There I met my wife, Alison. We moved to St. Louis, where she is from. I did the rest of my training there at Washington University in St. Louis.

After my training, I started with a community private practice. My colleagues there made for a nice mentoring situation for me. My wife and I started having kids in St. Louis, and now we have four. That takes up most of our time! My wife is a pediatric ER doctor. We had planned to stay in St. Louis because her family was there. We started a big renovation of our house there about a year or so ago. As soon as all the walls were torn out, my wife got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start a business here in Nashville, so we put the house on the market and moved here. 

What do you like about Vanderbilt so far? 

I have really enjoyed how collegial everyone is; they’ve been very welcoming. It was hard to leave the practice in St. Louis, but I am enjoying all the resources at Vanderbilt, while still getting the same collegial environment that I’m used to from the private practice. It’s been nice growing here and working with the other doctors and nurse practitioners.

What attracted you to your subspecialties (stroke, headache)?

I decided on neurology during medical school. In residency, I always wanted to go to a general neurology practice so I could see a little bit of everything. Practically speaking, stroke stood out as a good complement to general neurology. Plus Washington University had a great stroke program. It’s exciting to see how treatment options have grown recently, especially the new stroke trials coming up, while still getting to see a mix of things [in general neurology]. 

What are some things that excite you about the future of neurology?

We are seeing a lot of new treatments for stroke and headache. Recently we’ve seen headlines about a new Alzheimer's treatment with good early data. There has been lots of progress with Michael J. Fox and his foundation for Parkinson’s Disease. Even in my time since medical school there has been so much progress, so it’s exciting to see what’s going to continue to happen in the coming years.

Who have been some of your most influential mentors, professionally and/or personally?

I probably have to give a shoutout to my Dad. He’s a neurologist as well, so obviously that influenced me. He’s been a good role model throughout my life. I benefitted at Washington University from good clinical mentors. Dr. Awadalla in particular was influential for me to continue in general neurology when so many people specialize. My Missouri Baptist partners in St. Louis were all great for my professional development and practice of neurology.

Curfman Family

How do you like to spend your free time? 

Since moving to Nashville, we wanted to get the kids involved in activities to meet people and get them out doing things. So my free time involves a lot of shuttling to various activities–soccer, chess clubs, neighbors’ and friends’ houses. My kids tend to be homebodies so they like to do projects around the house, play games, or play in the yard. My wife signed me up for tennis classes recently, so that rekindled an interest I first developed in high school. I just finished my first attempt at the USTA league this spring. 

I enjoy art—drawing and painting. I did a bit of art in medical school, and got back into that during COVID. 

What are some of your favorite Nashville spots (restaurants, parks, attractions, etc)?

Crockett Park has a summer concert series, so we really enjoyed going there for the food trucks, live music, and park. The kids really enjoy Urban Air and the Franklin Fun Center. We’re still in an exploring phase trying out new places. It's been fun to explore and get established here. Moving the family is a big adventure so it’s nice to start settling in.