Unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others. That is how the dictionary defines altruism. At its purest core, that is what compromises the heart of great physicians. Oakstone is proud to partner with many physicians who fit this description, and today we honor Dr. Martin A. Samuels for his service and recognize his recent honors from Johns Hopkins, Williams College and The University of Cincinnati.
Dr. Martin A. Samuels, MD, FAAN, MACP, FRCP, DSci (hon.), founding chair emeritus of the Department of Neurology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Miriam Sydney Joseph Distinguished Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School recently was awarded the inaugural National Clinical Excellence Award from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Samuels was the only recipient in the country including all specialties. Dr. Samuels was also recently awarded a Bicentennial Medal by his alma mater, Williams College, where he delivered the Convocation Address (can be viewed on YouTube). He was also awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award, representing his medical alma mater, the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
It’s clear these achievements are rooted in a deep and impressive track record that includes establishing subspecialty areas in neurological medicine — such as neuro-cardiology, neuro-hematology, and neuro-gastroenterology — but at the same time, as one gets to know Dr. Samuels you could almost expect it. Why do I say that? Simple, making one’s way through hard work and caring is what he’s all about.
“I wanted to be an academic physician but wanted to do it from the vantage point of a clinician. The system was not amenable to this goal. I just worked at my vision of an academic clinical neurologist and over many years the system caught up to my vision. Hard work and high standards were the secret,” says Dr. Samuels.
The other aspect of that vision is what Dr. Samuels considers the lynchpin. “Altruism is the key feature of a professional in any field, but is most important in physicians. There is too much inward focused thinking and not enough effort on outwardly focused activities.”
It’s those outward focused activities that many times can lead to a breakthrough with a patient, be it emotional or physical. And, there is no understating the importance of that in modern medicine. I have been a personal witness to this in my own health struggles as well as my mother’s.
“Doctors need to defend these values based on altruism in the face of impersonal changes such as the worshiping of the electronic record,” states Dr. Samuels.
When it’s time to step away for the day, Dr. Samuels enjoys the simpler things in life. “I play the piano, read mainly non-fiction, running and spending time with my wonderful wife, Susan Pioli and our two Norfolk terriers, Ralphie and Sydney.”
Again, this isn’t surprising. It’s incredibly consistent with his professional life — serving others and working hard.
Oakstone is proud to call Dr. Samuels a Physician Partner. He serves as Course Director for the Comprehensive Review of Neurology and Neurology for Non-Neurologists, plus as a faculty speaker for our Comprehensive Review of Family Medicine. Whether you’re a patient, a colleague, or business associate Dr. Samuels is someone you want on your team.
About Dr. Martin A. Samuels:
Samuels is the founding chair of the Department of Neurology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a position in which he served for 30 years until his transition to a senior neurologist position in 2017. He is one of the co-founders and a member in the interdisciplinary Program in Interdisciplinary Neuroscience at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He holds the Miriam Sydney Joseph Distinguished Chair of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, a chair that he named after his parents, the late Miriam Joseph and Sydney Samuels. Over the course of his career he has been honored with virtually every teaching and clinical award by numerous medical schools, national societies and his own Harvard Medical School. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Neurology, is a Master of the American College of Physicians, Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, The American Neurological Association and the Royal College of Physicians, London. He has discussed a record thirteen Cabot Cases, clinical pathological conferences, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and has been elected a convocation speaker a record three times at the Harvard Medical School. He created the Manual of Neurologic Therapeutics and has created the field of neurological medicine in the interface between internal medicine and neurology.