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Eyes, Ears, and Voices (A Note of Gratitude to the Traditional Chiefs)

June 05, 2022
by Mark David Siegel

Hi everyone,

The Traditional Chiefs are the eyes, ears, and voices of our residency. They see hidden problems, listen for distress, and speak up to make things better.

Much of their work is invisible. Everyone knows the Chiefs make schedules, lead Report, and find coverage for sick residents, but their most important work occurs out of sight- especially this year with the ongoing pandemic, turnover in program leadership, and crushing staffing crises. With each challenge, the Chiefs stayed focused, delivered magnificent teaching sessions, staffed our services, and supported our residents.

If this were all they’d done, it would have been enough. But the Chiefs also embraced challenges a less courageous group could have ignored. They recognized we needed a procedure to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct, and they worked with residents to create an effective process, which was long overdue. They pushed us to confront racial and ethnic discrimination, and in doing so, helped make our program more diverse, inclusive, and responsive to our community. Most importantly, they served as our collective conscience, highlighting social determinants of health, advocating for workplace safety, and promoting honest, constructive dialog.

Despite the challenges, the Chiefs helped us thrive. Throughout the year, residents have delivered exceptional, compassionate care. This month, every trainee will be promoted or graduate. The teaching has been spectacular, with more interns than ever leading Report. It’s no wonder that this year’s recruitment was beyond successful. Infinite credit goes to the Chiefs for creating a learning climate that encouraged residents to step forward, take risks, and grow. This is our reward when leaders build a trusting, respectful community.

The Traditional Chiefs have worked non-stop since last June, expending countless hours of intellectual and emotional labor, and the time has come for them to take their leave, and to rest.

So, thank you, Jemma, Christine, Avi, Aidan, and Kevin. Thank you for being our eyes and ears. Thank you for speaking up when you had to, for articulating the concerns of the less powerful, and for conveying difficult truths. Thank you for representing our values so clearly and consistently. Most of all, thank you for taking care of our residents and, equally, for taking care of me. You are leaving our residency better than you found it- smarter, kinder, and ever more committed to social justice. Your contributions will last for years, and we wish you all good things as you move on to fellowship.

Take care and enjoy your beautiful Sunday, everyone. I’m heading out to the Farmington Canal.


Submitted by Mark David Siegel on June 05, 2022