Northshore Magazine

Northshore March 2019

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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COLEEN REID, MD NORTHSHOREMAG.COM 144 MARCH 2019 PHOTOGRAPH BY DOUG LEVY WHAT MADE YOU GO INTO THE FIELD OF PALLIATIVE CARE? Since the fifth grade, when my grandfather died of cancer, I realized that I wanted to try and make a difference in the lives of others even when they were really sick. I noticed, even then, that I wanted to spend time with my grandfather while other members of my family seemed to want to avoid witnessing his rapid weight loss and progressive weakness that stole him from us. They coped with avoidance. He was still my "Dziadzia" (Polish for grandpa) and I still loved him no matter his condition. I wanted to spend what time we could together. Then in college, I loved one class more than all the others; it was a religion course called "Cross Cultural Attitudes Toward Death and Dying." This was, by far, the most gripping, life-affirming course I had ever taken. WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF YOUR JOB? I am so happy to be part of this medical culture revolution. The leaders in our field, especially Dr. Diane Meier and the Center for Advancement of Palliative Care, have helped us start to move mountains. So much of what we do to improve education, communication, and to break down siloed care does take time. And this time has not been terribly well reimbursed. While the time that's needed to be sure patients and their families understand what is likely ahead for them, and to optimally manage difficult symptoms is precious time well spent. WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? The truth is that Palliative Medicine is really the best kept secret. It's like my "Cross Cultural" class in college. Every day, I learn from the amazing people I meet the most profound and life-affirming lessons about what really matters most to people, and dare I even say, the real "meaning of a life." I could not do this work without the incredible team of people I call colleagues. I have two clinician colleagues, Dr. Kevin McDonald and an extraordi- nary Nurse Practitioner, Karyn Geary. Without their incredible humor, compassion, professionalism, and patience, I'm not sure I would survive most weeks. Together, with our chaplaincy and hospice col- leagues, as well as the rest of the clinical teams we work with, we bear witness to a lot of suffering, but also to the best in humanity. We share tears, but we celebrate remarkable strength. I love my job. WHEN YOU HAVE DOWN TIME, WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND IT ON THE NORTH SHORE? The things that get me through the emotional highs and lows of my work are my family, especially my very understanding husband, Andy Brody, who teaches Interior Design Students at Endicott College, my two young adult children who ask all the hard questions, a very loving, blended extend- ed family, and my best four-footed friend, Chelsea, who loves to share a good walk on the beach. It's really my work that helps me remember just how much I treasure my friends, my yoga practice with my wonderful group of yogi friends, and the blessings of a good book and a nice glass of wine. MAR 2019 C O M M U N I T Y Q & A GETTING TO KNOW THE NORTH SHORE Chief of Palliative Care at North Shore Medical Center and Castle Connolly 2019 Top Doctor Recipient

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