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Doctor smiles for camera

From rocker to doctor

Not many doctors can say they’ve been mentioned in SPIN, the influential music industry news source that once published as a popular magazine.

The 2006 spotlight piece introduces the ultra-cool SPIN audience to guitarist Dave Cykert and his band. It also, maybe unintentionally, predicts the future.

“… despite early gigs with the likes of the Killers and Puddle of Mudd, they’re not quitting their day jobs: Cykert is a scientist …”

Today, Spartanburg audiences may know the guitarist as David Cykert, MD, the newest physician at Medical Group of the Carolinas – Internal Medicine – Westside.   

Cykert graduated high school in Burlington, N.C., in 1997 and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A renaissance man, Cykert fenced, completed an honors thesis in evolutionary biology, and rowed as part of the UNC Men’s Crew Team.

Cykert graduated with a biology degree in 2001 just as his music career was taking off.

“I was exploring a medical degree when my garage band got offered a contract,” Cykert said.

Heeding the call

In the background, however, medicine continued to call. While with the band, Cykert worked in the pharmaceutical industry. He also volunteered in health clinics and worked as an EMT.

“The more I helped people and pursued medicine, the better I felt,” Cykert said.

He returned to school in 2012 and earned his doctor of medicine degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2016. He returned to UNC-Chapel Hill to take part in the internal medicine residency program.

He met his wife, Patty, during his intern year of residency at Chapel Hill. Patty Cykert, a nurse practitioner, joined Medical Group of the Carolinas – Gastroenterology – Spartanburg in July.

Cykert recalls meeting her and thinking, “This is my person.”

“There is something special about her,” Cykert said. “There’s a light to her.”

Studying disparities

While in medical school, Cykert studied the impact of ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geographic location on health as part of the MUSC Center for Health Disparities Research. He also researched how those factors affect the way Type 2 diabetes patients care for their condition.

Removing barriers to healthcare is important to Cykert, who said he would work with people in clinics, churches and conduct public information sessions if it helped improve community wellbeing.

“So many things impact health,” Dr. Cykert said. “The environment we’re exposed to affects your genes and your children’s genes. There’s a lot of ways to keep each other healthy if we think about health like that.”

‘The patient is the boss’

Developing a doctor-patient relationship over time is also important to the process. Part of that involves asking patients about their goals and helping to meet them.

“I’m an advisor,” Dr. Cykert said. “The patient is the boss. They’re the ultimate practitioner of their health.”

While not a vegetarian, Dr. Cykert eats meat sparingly and adheres to a largely plant-based diet.

“Life is about balance, and nutrition is a medicine of sorts,” Dr. Cykert said. “The way that we eat is such a part of who we are.”

It’s difficult to make hard and fast rules in nutrition. It’s important to meet people where they’re at in life.

“I want to be able to tell a patient, ‘I’ve done this. It worked for me. It might not for you,’” Dr. Cykert said.

Dr. Cykert is currently accepting patients. Call 864-560-9435 to schedule an appointment. Learn more about Medical Group of the Carolinas – Internal Medicine – Westside.