Massachusetts Medical Society: Beyond the Medical Setting: How Physicians Find Their People and Their Pleasure

Beyond the Medical Setting: How Physicians Find Their People and Their Pleasure

Janet C. Stiles, MD, vice chair, MMS Arts, History, Humanism, and Culture Member Interest Network Executive Committee
Member Interest Network
The birding section of the Member Interest Network helps physicians make the leap from
spotting feathered creatures in the back yard to active birding.

A cool Saturday morning on the Newburyport Waterfront Park brought together MMS physicians for a boat cruise along the Merrimack River. I met our captain and crew next to the white motorboat. We boarded our group of physicians, from different districts and specialties, along with their families and friends, kids to seniors.

This cruise had nothing to do with medicine. The Arts, History, Humanism, and Culture Member Interest Network (AHH&C MIN, or MIN), unites MMS members around artistic interests and the natural world. “Physicians use these outlets to help achieve the right balance in their lives,” says Robert W. Sorrenti, MD, chair of the MIN.

On the Merrimack cruise, herons, kingfishers, and harbor seals were part of that balance. The captain and his first mate gave us an entertaining and educational tour of the river’s history, ecology, and sites. We passed beautiful riverbanks and country estates, wooded slopes, and rock-walled shores until the river emptied into the Atlantic at Salisbury Beach.

For me, other MIN highlights have included a snowy hike around the Mass Audubon Joppa Flats Education Center (also in Newburyport) spotting eagles and owls. I’ve participated in bird-banding to learn the science of migration and the monitoring of bird species, and a September trip to Mount Wachusett, Princeton, to look for hawks.

Founded in 1998, the MIN sponsors many creative workshops including egg decorating (the most fun ever!), introduction to bonsai and herb gardening, and cooking. Other programs have developed around art, creative writing, astronomy, medical history, and music.

The best thing about the MIN, to me, is that it’s a center of rest and renewal and collegiality among medical doctors. It’s a chance to relax and reduce our stress, try a new hobby, get fresh air and exercise, and take a break from the computer and charts.

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