June 7, 2018 — When James Welch, M.D. ’82, crossed the stage during last month’s UF College of Medicine commencement ceremony, emotion played around his eyes as a smile spread across his cheeks. He took his place behind his son, Daniel Welch, M.D. ’18, and lifted the green ceremonial hood onto Daniel’s shoulders.
Daniel Welch, who will soon begin a radiology residency at the University of Nebraska, considers the moment as a supremely meaningful symbol of the impact his father’s legacy has left on his own life.
“My dad has been an excellent role model as a physician, but more importantly, as a person,” Welch says. “I admire how my parents could balance demanding careers with being great parents. I’ve come to appreciate that more as I’ve seen how much a medical career can impact someone’s life.”
James Welch, a urologist with Orlando Urology Associates, has instilled a love for medicine in his two children, Daniel and Emily, a third-year student at the UF College of Medicine. Welch says his children make him burst with joy at every step.
“My kids joined the family business,” he says. “Whether they go into my line of work or any line of work, I will be just as proud. When they achieve accomplishments, I feel like I’ve done my job. Once you have children, you want them to be happy, safe and successful, even more than your own welfare or happiness.”
Together with his wife, pediatric anesthesiologist Rebecca Welch, M.D., Welch introduced his children to the hospital setting at a young age.
“Growing up as kids of two physicians, they got pretty comfortable being in the hospital,” he recalls. “I would bring dinner and the kids to the call room when Becky had to work overnights.”
Emily Welch, who plans to pursue emergency medicine after graduating, says her earliest memories involve eating popsicles in the physician area of the emergency room. When her dad came home from work, a briefcase full of charts in tow, she would sneak looks, attempting to decipher what his work was all about. Most of the time, however, time with her dad was spent laughing and telling jokes.
“My dad and I joke all the time that we’re the same person. He’s a serious man when he needs to be, but there’s never been a time when he’s not able to make me laugh, especially when I really need it,” she says. “Our relationship has always been one of inside jokes and Monty Python quotes. I respect my dad because he has the ability to be both very intellectual and very empathetic at the same time.”