The 2016 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards in the early-career physician category honor Ross Albert, MD, PhD, chief of palliative medicine at Hartford Hospital and medical director of the Hartford HealthCare at Home hospice and HOPE palliative care teams in Hartford, Ct. The selection committee wrote that because he has worked as a hospitalist, a physician specializing in the general medical care of hospitalized patients, “he is in a key position to influence the care of many patients and to model comprehensive doctoring to his peers.”
The physician who nominated Dr. Albert stressed the respect of his colleagues. He said that many nurses, ancillary staff, physicians, and others asked him to be their primary care physician when he was practicing outpatient medicine. “I did, as well,” the nominator wrote. “I don’t think there is a higher complement for a physician.”
Colleagues commend Dr. Albert for skillfully navigating complex family dynamics toward good outcomes, as in his sensitive care of a woman dying of cancer and her son’s difficulty letting go. “Through many hours of conversation, her son did eventually come to peace with the fact that her death was inevitable and he focused on preventing her suffering.” The woman died free of pain and with her family and Dr. Albert at her side.
Dr. Albert has understood the importance of compassion and empathy in care at the end of life since his residency serving a diverse patient population near Philadelphia. Colleagues describe him as a physician who “cares for the whole family while treating the one patient who is in crisis,” and as a leader and an advocate “spreading the philosophy of palliative care both within and without the hospital.”
Dr. Albert received his medical degree from Drexel University School of Medicine in 2005, and completed a mid-career fellowship in Palliative Medicine at Hartford Hospital in 2012.