Janice Nevin, M.D., MPH, chief medical officer at Christiana Care, delivered a rousing keynote address on leadership during Delaware Today’s annual Women in Business luncheon Dec. 3 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, a signature pre-holiday event that celebrates the business achievements of women in the First State. Former speakers include DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman and Delaware Hospice CEO Susan Lloyd.
Addressing an audience of more than 500 men and women who are leaders in Delaware’s business community, Dr. Nevin said that she is inspired by the resiliency of the patients she has treated throughout her career and how that resiliency has helped her better serve her neighbors as an expert, caring, partner in their health.
One story she shared involved a patient — “Mr. B” — a poor, uneducated man whom she cared for during her final year of residency. Over the next several months, Dr. Nevin worked with Mr. B to improve his blood pressure levels and improve his health. Unfortunately, an imaging study revealed that Mr. B had untreatable kidney cancer. Because he had developed a special bond with Dr. Nevin, she dreaded giving him the news of his predicament.
“We sat together in the exam room, and I slowly and carefully described the findings and the implications — cancer, no treatment,” she said. “As I got to the end of what was likely a stilted explanation, Mr. B reached out, took my hand in his and looked at me straight in the eye and said, ‘Dr. Nevin, I know you done everything you could do — you are going to be alright?’ Me? I thought I was supposed to be comforting him. This was a moment of great clarity and profound humility… It is a lesson I will never forget.”
Dr. Nevin has been a trailblazer throughout her life, starting as a member of the inaugural co-education class at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown. Dr. Nevin graduated from Harvard University in 1981 and received her doctorate in medicine with honors from Jefferson Medical College in 1987. She became Christiana Care’s first female chief medical officer in 2011. She is one of only a few female chief medical officers nationwide.
The Women in Business luncheon was emceed by Tracy Davidson of NBC10.