Dr. Maura Brennan, program director of the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program at Baystate Medical Center, is among a dedicated group of physician mentors/educators around the country to be recognized with the Inspirational Physician Award by the American Medical Association Women Physicians Section (AMA-WPS) during September, Women in Medicine Month.
Dr. Brennan was nominated by Dr. Kah Poh Loh, a third-year medicine resident at Baystate Medical Center. Dr. Brennan is a longtime Baystate Medical Center physician, who has devoted her career in medicine to teaching the nation’s future internists and geriatricians. She holds several positions at the Springfield-based teaching hospital, including director, Geriatrics Consultation Service and program director, Geriatric Medicine Fellowship. She also serves as the hospice medical director of the Baystate Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice.
Through its Inspirational Physician Award, the AMA-WPS provides an opportunity for physicians like Dr. Loh to express appreciation to the special men and women who have offered their time, wisdom and support throughout their professional journeys. AMA-WPS members were invited to nominate colleagues or teachers who have played a special role in their personal lives and professional careers. These individuals may have inspired them to greater heights, steered them into a beloved specialty, helped them balance demands of life and work or guided and challenged them by serving as role models.
As part of her nomination of Dr. Brennan, Dr. Loh wrote: "Dr. Brennan is an exceptional clinician, teacher and mentor. She is passionate about residents’ education and welfare. Despite her intensely filled schedule, she is always happy to help me out personally or in terms of my career development. Without her, I would not have achieved what I have today. She serves as a role model to me, and I will constantly remind myself throughout my life how dedicated she is to medicine."
When Dr. Loh arrived at Baystate as an intern, she hoped to become an oncologist. While working with Dr. Brennan and the other geriatricians at the hospital, she became fascinated by the joys and challenges of caring for elders. She is now planning to train in both geriatrics and oncology and to care for older cancer patients.
Dr. Brennan, who is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and Geriatric Medicine, earned a master’s degree in Politics from Columbia University in 1974, before turning her attention to medicine a decade later and earning her medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine. She has been associated since 1989 with Baystate Medical Center, where she completed her residency at the hospital in 1992. Dr. Brennan also completed fellowships in general medicine/geriatrics at Baystate, as well as a fellowship in geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
The student/teacher relationship
Dr. Brennan was deeply touched by Dr. Loh’s nomination.
"The practice of medicine has many joys. For me, one of these has always been the pleasure of teaching the young physicians who will continue to care for others after I am long gone. My mentoring style is deeply personal. I try to connect to each learner as an individual in the same way I strive to recognize the special humanity of each patient. Past trainees may become friends and I have kept in touch with many ex-students for decades. I know that Dr. Loh will be one of these," Dr. Brennan said.
"On difficult days, I remind myself who I have taught, reflect on what they are doing now, and remind myself how many people are benefitting from their care. This nomination from Dr. Loh truly warmed my heart and I am deeply grateful for this recognition," she added.