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The Cleveland Clinic - Alumni Connection Newsletter

August 1, 2005

Alumni Connection Newsletter
Summer 05


Urologist Jeannette Potts. M.D., dances to her own music. Never one to bow to convention, Dr. Potts has successfully merged her love of dance with a thriving medical urology practice in the Glickman Urological Institute.

Dr. Potts wowed a crowd of patients, visitors, staff and employees in the lobby of the Crile Building on Jan. 13, 2005, with a performance of Argentinean Tangos. Her partner, Jorge Niedas, a native of Argentina and a member of the renowned Tango 21 group in Chicago, flew in for the day just to dance with Dr. Potts.

The lobby performance followed a morning workshop for executives in the Intercontinental Hotel, during which Dr. Potts shared her "Tango Lessons for Living." She closed the lecture with an unrehearsed dance with Mr. Niedas. The two had danced only once before while Dr. Potts was visiting Chicago.

"Tango is not choreographed," says Dr. Potts. "Men and women who study Tango internalize the concepts so as to transfer 100 percent lead and follow between the couple. Being strong and confident in the development of one's own axis enables each dancer to share the axis in a shared intention, which becomes the dance." Dr. Potts has found many parallels between her two worlds of dance and medicine.

"Over the last couple of years, I have used the Tango as a metaphor for an approach to complicated patients and patients with chronic disorders, specifically pain," she explains. "A novice dancer, like a novice physician, feels compelled to move on every beat-you're not demonstrating your skill if you aren't doing something. As you become more seasoned, you learn to favor the pauses. That's when you sit back and really listen to your patients."

She says that most patients have a unique insight into their problems. "As physicians, we need to validate the patients' insights and be their guide as they heal themselves."

Dr. Potts graduated from Lake Erie College for Women in 1983 with a degree in liberal arts. Upon graduating, she earned the prestigious IT&T Fellowship for Post-Graduate Research Abroad. She conducted independent research in anthropology, studying the natural occurrence of mummification in Guanajuato, Mexico for two years.

Her early career was spent as an exporter of automotive parts and heavy equipment before she decided to apply to medical school. She describes herself as a "bent arrow" entering Case Western Reserve University in 1987.

"Straight arrows went directly from a pre-med undergraduate education into medical school," she says. After residency training at Grant Medical Center in Columbus, OH and MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Dr. Potts took another detour. She gave up her pursuit of a career in surgery to complete a fellowship in medical urology under Andrew C. Novick, M.D., (U'77), chairman of the Glickman Urological Institute.

"There was no such fellowship at the time," Dr. Potts remembers. "Dr. Novick and I created the subspecialty and after a one year experiment, we were mutually pleased with the result. I have stayed ever since."

Dr. Potts travels extensively, logging 91,000 air miles in 2004 lecturing on male pelvic pain and male genito-urinary pain. She edited her first textbook, "Essential Urology," and is currently working on a multidisciplinary text on genitourinary and pelvic pain.

Her travels have given her an opportunity to dance throughout the world.

Dr. Potts especially loves authentic salsa and cumbia dancing, which she practices on frequent business trips to Latin America. But no dance has captivated her like Argentine Tango. She began classes in 2001 in Cleveland and was soon seeking lessons in every city where she traveled to give medical lectures.

As she described her passion for Tango and the life lessons she interpreted from the dance to others, another idea took hold.

Last year she launched Doctor Tango, a business designed to share these lessons with others through a collection of short stories and a lecture series. To learn more about Doctor Tango, please visit To contact Dr. Potts, please e-mail her at

What is business but a dance between two companies?
What is life but a dance between people?
— Jeannette Potts, M.D. - Dr. Tango
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