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In front of a packed Bornstein Amphitheater, Christian Arbelaez, MD, MPH, spoke to his children. “Christian, Isabella, I want you to be brave, make things better and find people to guide you because you can be leaders. We all can be leaders.”
This touching moment came as Arbelaez, of Emergency Medicine, accepted the Dennis Thomson Leadership Award with an emotional address in which he detailed the defining moments of his life as his source of commitment and dedication. Another inspiring moment came as surgical oncologist Roger Christian, MD, was honored with the first ever Thomson Long-Term Achievement Award during the eighth annual Dennis Thomson Leadership and Compassionate Care Scholar Awards.
“We honor Christian Arbelaez who works tirelessly to improve the care of our patients as well as the careers and work environment of his colleagues,” BWH President Gary Gottlieb, MD, MBA, said to the BWHers, friends and family gathered at the celebration. “And we recognize Roger Christian who has done just that for four decades since coming to the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in 1966.”
Keynote speaker Matt Fishman, vice president for Partners Community Health, said, “How fortunate we are to have Roger as a colleague and leader these many years with his great surgical skills and his evident compassion.”
In addition to the Leadership and Long-Term Achievement awards, six compassionate care scholarships were presented. With these funds, Thomson scholars will pursue projects including educating nurses on compassionate palliative care, enhancing the safety of patients with delirium and recognizing the unique feeding experience for each premature infant.
“I’m proud to say that the pathway of care is better today than it has been at any time in our history, thanks in part to the clinicians we have honored and honor today with our prestigious Thomson awards and scholarships,” Gottlieb said.
Leaders like this year’s award and scholarship recipients are needed to address the challenges facing health care that Fishman outlined in his keynote speech. Ending disparities in health care, building a skilled and diverse health care workforce, implementing the state’s health reform law and continuing to harness technology while maintaining a compassionate connection with patients are just a few of these challenges, said Fishman.
“The hospital has so much left to do, and you will do it by turning loose the enormous potential of the people who work here,” Fishman said. “You are the right people to take us forward. I am honored to work with you on our shared and great vision as we take on the tough challenges in front of us.”
Visit www.bwhpikenotes.org/AwardsRecognition/thomsonawards.asp for photos, presentations and a video from last week’s Thomson Leadership and Compassionate Care Scholarship Awards ceremony.
Let me gently suggest to you that you work your life backward from that final scene. Know now what you want your life to mean, what you want your legacy to be, and imbue those thousands of days between now and then with the actions and the values that will reap what you seek to harvest in life.
-Dennis Thomson, vice president of Public Affairs from 1991 to 1998, in whose memory the Thomson Leadership and Compassionate Care Scholar Awards were created.