Congratulations to Dr. Craig Blinderman who recently earned the designation Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. This new Fellow of the Academy was asked – Who would you consider your primary mentor and what have you learned from him/her? We are sharing his answer in this post.

“My primary mentor is the late Andy Billings. Andy may not have known the extent to which he influenced my thinking about patient care, but in our meetings and conversations about patients, I was able to sense the degree to which he was genuinely curious about patients, about medicine, about why we might choose certain medications, or therapeutic approaches, etc. His need to know the evidence and to challenge conventional ways of clinical reasoning with a broader, holistic and fundamentally ethical approach, allowed me to see just how deep this practice of palliative medicine can really be. When I left MGH to take on the role as Director of the Adult Palliative Care Service at Columbia University Medical Center, I felt Andy’s presence with me at every turn. I would often call Andy to make sure that my decisions were reasonable. That I was actually seeing the picture for what it was. That I was considering all of the complexities in each decision. Often he would agree that I have indeed looked at the situation in a careful and discerning way. This gave me enormous confidence as a relatively young leader of a clinical palliative care service in a complex and large academic institution. I saw in Andy the integrity of the profession of medicine and the commitment to education and the advancement of the field of palliative medicine. With his encouragement and wisdom, I found opportunities to create a more dynamic and integrated palliative care service, which both expanded in scope and recognition. The fruits of his mentorship and wisdom can be felt throughout the halls of P&S, where I often teach medical students, and at the bedside of patients and families where residents and fellows gather to learn how to best care for the suffering patient and family. We have written together, taught together, and helped patients together. In each of these domains, I have found a friend and supporter, someone who believed in what I am capable of doing, long before I ever believed I was.”

Advancement to fellowship status within the academy honors dedication to and scholarship in the field of the hospice and palliative medicine. This distinction represents a minimum of 5 years of membership, participation in AAHPM activities, letters of recommendation, and board certification in hospice and palliative medicine. Dr. Blinderman will receive the designation during the Annual Assembly of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association in Chicago, IL on Saturday, March 12, 2016.
Check back regularly for posts from other Fellows.