Praised for her leadership and for using her skills in geriatrics and palliative care to help Spanish-speaking and other immigrant populations in Springfield, Dr. Laura Iglesias Lino has been named a recipient of the 2015 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Award.
Dr. Iglesias Lino, medical director for geriatrics and palliative care at Baystate Brightwood Health Center/Centro de Salud and associate medical director for hospice at Baystate Medical Center, is one of five physicians recognized nationwide with the award. The awards program honors leaders who advance palliative care in underserved areas and forge ties with various medical specialists to help people with cancer.
“This cohort of physicians demonstrates that compassion, competency, and a healing presence are cherished by patients and their families and admired and respected by their colleagues,” said Dr. Richard Payne, chairman of the selection committee and the Esther Colliflower Professor of Medicine and Divinity at Duke University and the John B. Francis Chair in Bioethics at the Center for Practical Bioethics. “The awards will make a difference for their careers, and will assist them in building palliative care programs in their communities.”
Each of the five recipients was noted as being exemplary in one or more of four areas: medical practice, teaching, research, and community. The awards were made in three categories: a senior award, mid-career award, and early-career award. Recognized in the early-career category, Dr. Iglesias Lino will receive $15,000 to further her work in palliative care in Springfield.
“Although I was her teacher and am decades older, I hope to match her dedication to patients one day. Dr. Iglesias Lino has an unassuming, gentle nature and is more likely to design programs for patents in need than write scholarly articles for publication. She has a beautiful soul and is precisely the type of physician our aging society needs. Dr. Iglesias Lino combines the best parts of a geriatrician and a palliative care physician and is eminently worthy of this prestigious award,” said Dr. Maura Brennan, chief of the Division of Geriatrics, Palliative Care & Post-Acute Medicine at Baystate Medical Center, and hospice medical director for the Baystate Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice.
Dr. Iglesias Lino received her medical degree from the Universidad Nacional San Agustin de Arequipa in Peru. She completed her internal medicine residency at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital/Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, followed by a geriatrics fellowship at Baystate Medical Center. She is board certified in both geriatrics and palliative care.
While at Baystate Brightwood Health Center, Dr. Iglesias Lino has developed a team-based program to ease caregiver stress and provide quality of life for patients with advanced dementias. Her knowledge, diagnostic abilities and treatment plans put her in high demand as a primary care physician and consultant. Dr. Iglesias Lino’s teaching and caregiving skills have generated culture change in a clinic with little previous experience in geriatric or palliative care.
“Dr. Iglesias Lino often returns to the hospital after work at Brightwood to advise and comfort her ill patients and their families when everyone else is going home. One night she gathered some supplies and visited a hospital patient to treat a painful joint. She relieved the patient’s pain, minimize the need for opioids and kept a dying patient home. Her skill in leading family meetings is legendary and other clinicians frequently request her help when they have difficulty conveying the complexities of prognosis and treatment options to patients,” wrote Dr. Brennan in her lengthy nomination of Dr. Iglesias Lino.
The Cunniff-Dixon Foundation, whose mission is to enrich the doctor-patient relationship near the end of life, funds the awards. The Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute that has done groundbreaking work on end-of-life decision-making, cosponsors the awards. Duke University Divinity School’s Program in Medicine, Theology, and Culture oversees the selection process.
“All these award winners share a commitment to reaching special populations, from children with cancer to veterans to underserved minority communities,” said Mildred Z. Solomon, Ed.D, president of The Hastings Center. “They are outstanding clinicians who provide exquisite patient care, but who also have the skill and commitment to create durable organizational structures that will ensure that the work succeeds over time.”
For more information on Baystate Medical Center, visit baystatehealth.org/bmc.