The 2016 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards in the senior career physician category honor Marian Hodges, MD, MPH, the Bain Chair of Geriatric Medicine and regional medical director for geriatrics for Providence Health & Services in Portland, Ore. The selection committee cited her outstanding care for cognitively impaired seniors; her integrity, humility, and relational skills; her leadership and mentorship in innovative elder care; and the “go to” books she coauthored on dementia care for both professionals and families. “She has mentored many young physicians and is beloved by her patients and peers for her humanism, and her ability to capture the person’s story and integrate this into her comprehensive and compassionate care practices,” the committee wrote.
In a multifaceted professional life, Dr. Hodges teaches ethics and palliative care at Providence Center for Health Care Ethics, cares for geriatric patients, and coordinates postgraduate resident education in geriatric medicine. She launched Elder At Home, a new program that allows frail elderly people to be cared for in their homes by an interdisciplinary team that consists of a medical provider, a nurse care manager, a social worker, and other caregivers.
Dr. Hodges, who earned a master’s in public health with an emphasis in medical ethics from the University of Washington, developed an educational program in dementia for employed caregivers in independent living, assisted living, and other residential settings. A colleague said of Dr. Hodges, in her role as educator and physician-ethicist: “She considers it her calling to have residents spend a week or two with her during their training and makes sure they are involved with her patient care.”
She is praised for her ability to engage in difficult conversations with dying patients, and her skill in communicating with families, caregivers, and administrators. Anne Hill, an attorney, recalls: “When my mother stopped eating and death truly, finally, was at hand, Dr. Hodges called me, without me even calling her, and walked me through what my mother’s death would look like.” Hill and Dr. Hodges would go on to coauthor Help is Here: When Someone You Love has Dementia (2014) and Help is Here: When Your Resident has Dementia(2016).
Dr. Hodges received her medical degree from Columbia University in 1985.