Two ChristianaCare resident physicians are among the newest inductees to the Gold Humanism Honor Society chapter at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of the Thomas Jefferson University.
Honorees Zachariah Brown, D.O., is in his fifth year of ChristianaCare’s Emergency Medicine/Family Medicine residency program, and Ezekiel Kurcab, D.O., is a third-year Internal Medicine resident.
They were nominated by attending physicians as exemplars of compassionate patient care, respect, altruism and integrity toward patients and colleagues and confirmed by their respective ChristianaCare residency program directors.
Brown follows the precept of treating others as he would like to be treated.
“If I were a patient, I would want someone to treat me like I was one of their family members,” he said.
Brown plans to begin full-time practice next year as an emergency medicine physician, and also hopes to care for underserved patients in free clinics.
“Lots of people use the emergency room as their primary care world,” he said.
“My goal is to help prevent that by getting to know my patients and continuing to care for those who need help the most.”
The best way to do that, Brown believes, is to take the time to talk with his patients about what is going on in their lives.
‘I would want someone to treat me like I was one of their family members.’
—Zachariah Brown, D.O.
“In emergency medicine especially, we see patients at their best—and at their worst. It’s important to remember that there is always more to a person than what we’re seeing right now. So my approach is to say, ‘Let’s talk about what’s going on in your life.’
“There is such a reward in building a strong relationship with a patient,” Brown said. “Helping people is why we all go into medicine in the first place.”
Meeting patients ‘where they are’
Medical school mission trips to Central America to care for underserved populations helped honoree Kurcab appreciate the importance of getting to know his patients “where they are.”
Kurcab, who plans to start his practice as a hospitalist, chose internal medicine for the holistic view of health care it offers from inpatient and outpatient perspectives.
Caring for patients at an inflection point in their lives where he feels he can help them make changes was the attraction to hospital medicine.
“As hospitalists, we have a lot of opportunity to do a lot of good,” he said.
Kurcab is inspired by the many ChristianaCare programs available to help bridge the gap for underserved people—programs such as virtual care with CareVio; Hospital at Home for acute care in a patient’s residence; and Produce Rx, bringing nutritious foods for low-income patients.
‘As hospitalists, we have a lot of opportunity to do a lot of good.’
—Ezekiel Kurcab, D.O.
“These programs show that ChristianaCare is full of very committed people who are looking to do the best for patients over the long run, and teach them the skills need to keep themselves healthy,” he said.
Kurcab begins each day with a meditation to help him bring forward compassionate, loving energy for the patients who need him most.
He believes that it’s easier to identify appropriate treatments and care plans when he takes the time to get to know his patients better and understand what’s happening in their lives.
“The most brilliant follow-up plan in the world won’t get done if we’re asking patients to do things outside of what they’re able to do in terms of time, finances or transportation,” he said.