|A newsletter for research & medical education||December 2011|
Marc Schweiger Awarded 2011 Weinberg Family Prize for Academic Excellence
Stresses Importance of Investing in Academic Programs
Dr. Marc Schweiger received the 2011 Weinberg Family Prize for Academic Excellence. He was selected by his peers for his national leadership and advancement of knowledge in the field of cardiovascular medicine throughout his 34+ year career at Baystate.
Dr. Schweiger is grateful to be recognized for his achievements, saying, “The people who have won the Weinberg Prize before are talented people - it’s a honor to get this award.”
“We’re all in this to take better care of our patients”
Schweiger started the coronary intervention program at Baystate when he did the first angioplasty, now known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in 1981—one of the first 100 hospitals in the U.S. to perform it. “Since then, we’ve done 27,000+ PCIs," he estimates. "Also, we treat more myocardial infarctions with PCI than any hospital in the state.”
He is also Program Director of the nationally recognized Interventional Cardiology Fellowship which has been training fellows for 26 years – 14 years before national accreditation was instituted.
“People who are intellectually curious make better physicians”
Dr. Schweiger attributes his interest in research to his fellowship at University Hospital, Boston (now Boston Medical Center) where intellectual curiosity was fostered
and rewarded. He believes that research creates a culture of curiosity that makes for better doctors and better patient care.
Schweiger, director of cardiology research at Baystate, his colleagues and fellows have been involved in more than 75 trials, contributing to studies that have shaped the way patients have been treated across the country.
“Starting with trials of thrombolytic therapy for MI in the early 80s, and up until the present, our clinical research has continually advanced the care of our patients and kept us on the cutting edge of treating people appropriately for CVD," he said.
“Baystate supported our research office even when we weren’t making a profit”
According to Dr. Schweiger, it is imperative that we continue to support clinical research despite the ever-present financial constraints, because it leads to better patient care.
"While the research effort may not itself generate a profit, it will promote better patient care, and that bring patients to hospital. So it’s a win-win situation."
"I worry a little bit about the future of healthcare"
Dr. Schweiger believes that hospitals are getting away from academic excellence because of increased pressure on the bottom line. According to Schweiger, it’s a continued fight to maintain the resources to grow academic programs.
He believes that a vigorous academic program draws brighter, more curious people. That improves patient care, and ultimately attracts more patients.
"Healthcare is becoming a little less local, patients can choose to go elsewhere."
“You don’t do any of this by yourself”
Dr. Schweiger acknowledges that his efforts have been aided over the years by members of the cardiology division, including Drs. Ralph Gianelly and Jessie Hafer who showed him the ropes when he started at Baystate, and his current twelve partners.
"I want to thank all the fellows I’ve trained, and all the patients that allowed me to take care of them," he said. "And thanks to my wife and children for putting up with my long hours—a lot of sacrifices from a lot of people."
Weinberg Family Prize Has Recognized Outstanding Academic Achievement Since 1997
The Weinberg Family Prize for Academic Excellence was established by Dr. Ethel Weinberg, first Chief Academic Officer at Baystate Medical Center, and her husband, Saul Weinberg. It is awarded annually to a faculty member whose innovative research, publications, or leadership of a national academic organization have brought honor to Baystate Health.
There have been 12 previous awardees.