Medicine Department Hosts Inaugural Sharon Silbiger, M.D. Memorial Lecture

Sharon Silbiger, M.D
Sharon Silbiger, M.D

On Monday, September 16, 2013, Dr. Charles Hatem, Harold Amos Distinguished Academy Professor and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, delivered the inaugural Sharon Silbiger, M.D. Memorial Lecture, "Reflections on the Clinician's Journey."; Dr. Hatem, who also is chair of medical education at Mount Auburn Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, discussed the importance of humanistic learning in teaching medicine, humanism in clinical care and physicians' practice of self-care as an integral component of the quality of healthcare delivery.

More than 100 guests filled Einstein's LeFrak Auditorium to overflowing as they listened to Dr. Hatem's moving discussion, which wove together examples from medical literature, poetry, literary quotations, political addresses, and primary care practice to illustrate the eight practitioner skills drawn from studies of Churchill and Schenck. These skills promote healing relationships by focusing on: doing the little things; taking time; being open and listening; letting the patient explain; finding something to like, to love; removing barriers; sharing authority; and being committed and trustworthy.

Dr. Silbiger, who was professor of medicine and associate chair of medicine for undergraduate education, passed away September 6, 2012 after a long battle with chondrosarcoma. She was known to students and faculty as an outstanding nephrologist and an active investigator on the role of gender in renal disease progression. Before her appointment as associate chair, she served as house staff program director for nearly a decade in the department of medicine.

Nationally, Dr. Silbiger was immediate past-president of Women in Nephrology. Her unwavering commitment to equal care for every patient inspired those who knew her, and she was a role model for countless faculty, residents, and students.

"In her eight years as the internal medicine residency program director, Sharon made each of the nearly 700 residents who came through her program feel special. She listened, gave sound advice, offered a shoulder to cry on, and set very high standards for patient care,"; said Dr. Victor Schuster, professor and chair of medicine and host of the event. "Dr. Hatem's address could not have been more fitting for this truly outstanding physician, teacher, and human being."

The Sharon Silbiger, M.D. Fund was established in her memory, and supports this annual lectureship honoring her memory.


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