This post is from one of the Inspiring Hospice and Palliative Medicine Leaders Under 40. Eric Roeland, MD FAAHPM, was selected based on his involvement in AAHPM, educating others about hospice and palliative medicine, participation in charitable work, and mentoring of students or residents. The honoree was then asked who inspired him over the course of his career. We are sharing some of his answers in this post. Check back regularly for posts from other leaders.

Who has most influenced your work in hospice and palliative medicine and what impact has he or she had?
My professional life changed after meeting Charles von Gunten, MD, PhD at the University of California, San Diego as an Internal Medicine resident. I knew that I wanted to practice oncology, but not in the same manner that I observed in so many oncologists. In observing Charles’ interactions with patients and loved ones, I realized that combining palliative care with oncology was my calling. After my palliative care fellowship, Charles continued to guide me through my training as an oncologist and encouraged me to seek out opportunities to pursue my clinical research interests. He continues to be a source of inspiration as he tackles new professional challenges and I am honored to call him both my friend and mentor.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Fiji. No really…I hope that I continue to have the opportunity to pursue academic, clinical research across the entire spectrum of cancer care focusing on discovering and developing effective solutions for improving the quality of life. As palliative care continues to grow, I hope that I will be actively contributing to building palliative care evidence-based clinical practices and promoting rigorous scientific validation of novel approaches to treating symptoms.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
My wife Kim once told me that the true meaning of life is “to love and be loved.” I try to remember that each and every day. In this way, I am a very blessed man.