Alice T. Coombs, M.D., became the 128th president of Massachusetts Medical Society over the weekend by delivering stirring remarks on her upbringing, the people in her life, and the imperative to combine bring humility, science and service to the calling of medicine.
She said, “We’re scientists. We love data, and there aren’t many people who love data more than I do. But we’re also servants. We do the right thing when we serve our patients, first and foremost. No other profession in the world combines these two imperatives: science and service, balanced together.
” We struggle when one side of the equation becomes too important at the expense of the other. When we’re too much the scientist, we lose our connection with that person we’re trying to help. When we’re too much the servant, we fail to use the rigor and knowledge that we trained for. When there’s a just balance … life works.”