I’m excited to announce that I will be starting a new job at Yale University and Yale-New Haven Hospital, starting July 2nd. I’m joining the division of Respiratory Medicine (Pulmonology) at Yale, with the goal of building a strong Pediatric Sleep Program. This will bring us closer to our families in Connecticut and New York. It also is a homecoming of sorts, as I graduated from Yale in 1995 and am really excited to return. Once I’m in place there I’m going to post more about the program we will be building.
My last day here at MGH is 6/21, which is exactly twelve years after I started here. My wife and I were married in early June of 2001, and we moved into a typical Boston two-family in Central Square, Cambridge. Our upstairs neighbors were Diane and Ed Lowenstein, who were very kind and gracious to us. I started residency immediately. Like residents everywhere, I worked pretty hard. I regularly had sleepiness nights, Q3 call, incessant paperwork, and dressing-downs by senior residents, nurses, and, of course, senior attendings.
I remember accidentally (I swear) breaking my pager my first night of call at Cambridge Hospital, and driving in at 4 AM for Pediatric Surgery pre-rounding in the middle of the winter because the T wasn’t running. Perhaps it is Stockholm Syndrome, but I mostly have good memories of residency, and friends for life. Anyone who has been a resident anywhere will tell you that your co-residents are your brothers and sisters for life, and that is the truth. I made friends for life.
I remember trying the idea of different careers on for size. I thought of NICU, then PICU, then Cardiology. Finally, I came around to Pediatric Pulmonology and fell in love with the field during an elective. Bernard Kinane offered me a fellowship slot and I never looked back. As we tell our fellows now, “In the first years of our fellowship, we were on call every week night, and had no electives, and we liked it!” (Most of the time.) I had many fine mentors who are still educating me: Dan Shannon, Allen Lapey, Hank Dorkin, and Ken Haver, among others. Eliot Katz was my research mentor and put me on the path to Sleep Medicine as well. I was trained by many fine doctors and sleep technicians at the now defunct SleepHealth Centers.
My office was a strange little cubby on a staircase between the basement and first floor of the now demolished Vincent-Burnham building at MGH which I shared with the other fellows. It was musty but cozy. I realized that sometimes you learn the most from the people who don’t have MDs after their name. Witness Pat Costello, who runs our lung function testing laboratory and who would kindly tell me how to interpret the studies when he handed them to me.
When I finished my fellowship, Bernard offered me a job. I found that rounding on the floors where you were an intern is much like rounding as an intern– many of the nurses and the OAs are still there. (Although I was just chatting with Tony, who is retiring after 38 years on the pediatric floors). They have not aged, and they still give me a hard time (with a wink) when I ask for a pen. I have had the pleasure of working in an office which is staffed by people who care about (and are great at) their jobs. I’m looking forward to learning the ropes in my new clinic, and I know the team at Yale will be as patient as the people I work with now.
I have also been really lucky to be involved with the Pediatric Neuromuscular Clinic and Dr. Brian Tseng. I’ve benefitted from the foundations who supported our clinic, most notably the Jett Foundation and JB’s Keys to DMD. I was just laughing today with a patient and his mother about a trip I took to Harmonix, a Cambridge-based video games company, with boys from clinic and their families. I remember belting out “Bohemian Rhapsody” accompanied by some of the kids while previewing Rock Band 3. Thankfully, no audio records of my performance exist. (And I did not even show them my signature Rock Band song, “Run to the Hills.”)
The past several weeks I’ve been saying goodbye to my patients and their families, which has been bittersweet. After I sent out a letter announcing that I am moving on, some families I have not seen in years brought their children in to see me one last time. I’ve received many lovely cards, gifts, and sentiments of gratitude. I hope that they know that I am grateful as well– that taking care of their children has been my honor and pleasure, and that it has been so fun to see these children grow up over the past several years. Some I have even known since I started my residency. I leave your children in the hands of my capable colleagues at MGH, who I would trust with my own children.
To all of the colleagues, friends, patients, and families who I have gotten to know over the past twelve years: stay in touch! I hope you stay happy and well. You can always catch up with me via my professional Facebook page. If you have any memories that you want to share, please feel free to do so below.