2002 Connecticut Chapter Volunteerism and Community Service Award
I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy. -Mother Theresa
The Volunteerism and Community Service Award was initiated to honor members of the Connecticut Chapter who have distinguished themselves in voluntary service in the area of medicine.Award recipients who are members will be eligible for nomination for the Oscar E. Edwards Memorial Award for Volunteerism and Community Service presented by the national ACP each year at the College's Annual Session. It is with distinct pleasure that this year the Connecticut Chapter honors Bruce E. Gould, MD, with the Connecticut Chapter Award for Volunteerism and Community Service. Recipients of this award have distinguished themselves as true humanitarians to be honored for their voluntary contributions in medicine.
Dr. Gould, we salute you as a compassionate and honorable physician and wish you continued success with your future voluntary endeavors improving the health of humankind.
Bruce E. Gould, MD
Dr. Bruce Gould describes himself as simply a primary care internist serving the population of inner city Hartford, Conn. But in talking with Bruce, you discover that he wears many hats: a provider of clinical care to the underserved, a teacher, a community volunteer, and a devoted father. Presently he serves as the Associate Dean for Primary Care at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Medical Director of the Burgdorf Health Center, an inner-city clinic, and Director of the Connecticut Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program.
Bruce's original inspiration for community service came from his parents, who taught him that service was a part of life. His mother worked with disabled World War II veterans in New York and she and his father helped to start an organization called Friends of the Handicapped. Bruce says, "On weekends we used to go to institutions where they "warehoused" people, and take them out into the community. Our house was always full of the diversity of the disabled, and that became normal to me. Some of my parent's best friends had Cerebral Palsy and other incredible disabilities, but that was not something that scared me. It was a part of my life that you served. The first generation of his family to graduate from college, Bruce went on to enter medicine because he saw it as the best way to help people. And, he jokes, "there was also the media hype of Marcus Welby, MD."
Bruce is proud to admit he gets a "buzz" from doing good things for his patients. He explains, "A lot of my patients have not been treated kindly by life. And when the expectations of the health care system in inner-city and underserved rural populations are so low, that just being nice to people can really change a patient's view of what to expect from the system. It is especially true when that act of loving kindness is magnified through the lens of being a physician. In return, sometimes it's the slightest little thing. I just get a smile or a hug, and that is what generates endorphins for me." The immense gratification from helping those in need is the ideology that he learned from his parents and today tries to instill in his students and three children.
In addition to his own commitment to serve, Bruce places a high priority on getting the next generation involved in their communities. One of his favorite proverbs is: If you are planting for a year, plant rice; if you are planting for a decade, plant fruit trees; and if you are planting for a century, educate your children. His many volunteer activities give him the opportunity to plant the seeds of the future. His various roles include Boy Scout Leader, having himself achieved the highest Boy Scout honor of Eagle Scout, as well as assistant soccer coach for his son's team. He serves as advisor for the University of Connecticut medical students' chapter of Habitat for Humanity. (He also mentors students at a local inner-city high school, which has a large number of African American and Caribbean students, to encourage and help them pursue careers in medicine.) Through all of these activities, Bruce's family is a top priority. One way he spends quality time with his three children is by working "shoulder to shoulder" with them, bringing them with him to the homeless shelter, migrant worker camps, and to read in clinic waiting rooms as part of the Reach Out and Read program.
Bruce is also engaged in a number of innovative primary care and medical education projects. The University of Connecticut's National Primary Care Day was selected as a national model and presented by Bruce and his students at the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) national meetings in March 1999. Janet Clear, RN, of the Connecticut AHEC, credits Bruce with "getting primary care back on the map," and helping to build an interdisciplinary focus in AHEC. Other recent projects include: participation in the NHSC SEARCH program, development of a Migrant Farmworker Healthcare program run by volunteer medical students and physicians, introducing Continuous Quality Improvement into the medical school curriculum, and forever promoting interdisciplinary education and care.
"Interdisciplinary care is something we have at my clinic." Bruce explains, "You can't care for an HIV patient as the 'Lone Ranger.' We have a nurse practitioner on the team. We have a social worker and an AIDS coordinator. We have a nutritionist who monitors their weight loss. We have a PharmD. What you do as the physician is help to coordinate the care." He notes that differences between disciplines seem to dissolve when individuals from varied professions realize that they share a common vision of providing care to the underserved.
Looking at his daily schedule, one may wonder where Bruce gets the energy to take on as many projects as he does. When asked what is next, he half-jokingly responds, "I really want a good night's sleep and to learn to better organize things." However upon further thought, Bruce says he wouldn't have it any other way. He really likes things just the way they are - super busy by most standards. "I think the secret is combining the efforts of your work with your charity, with your public and community service. A lot of the things I do are serving three of four purposes. And what I've learned is to delegate a little bit…ask for help. I've found that there are a lot of people who want to help."
"And, that lets me keep going."
Dr. Gould grew up in Elmont, New York - a stone's throw from Queens and in the shadow of New York City. He attended Cornell University in Ithaca, NY (Class of 76) and went on to study medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical Center, graduating in 1979. He did his residency training in General Internal Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, MA. He remained at UMASS for a Chief Medical Residency and a Fellowship in General Internal Medicine and Primary Care. He served as the Director of Adult Primary Care Clinic at UMASS until coming to the Burgdorf in Hartford in 1988.Dr. Gould serves on the National Advisory Council for Migrant Health at the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Primary Care Organization Consortium (PCOC). He is the recipient of year 2000 and 2001 Community Service Awards from Hartford County Medical Association and the 2001 Humanism in Medicine Award from The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.
Dr. Gould, his wife Lisa and children Rachel (20), Taryn (17) and Zachary (13) reside in Simsbury, CT.