On Wednesday, November 15, 2023, Hopkinton's own Dr. Bruce Karlin received the 30th Annual Dr. A. Jane Fitzpatrick Community Service Award from the Worcester District Medical Society. Below are Dr. Karlin's remarks as he accepted this honor.
Thank you for this award. I am honored to even be considered with these previous winners. Indeed, it is an honor simply to practice medicine. My proudest achievement is being a member of the community of practicing physicians. You all deserve recognition for your mundane daily routine. So, what does our community of physicians recognize as outstanding. Few physicians have as loyal and ardent a following as Dr. Pitts or Dr. Birbara but that is all the reward they seek. Dr. Fulmer created the Community Medicine Department at U Mass and was pivotal in the creation of U Mass and Dr. Popkin raised the Residency program at SVH to national prominence. For their level of work, we rightly give a Lifetime Achievement award. The A. Jane Fitzpatrick award is for contributions beyond professional duties to improve the health and well-being of others. In other words, we recognize spare time health related activities that strike a chord with our physician community. I have several activities to consider: my family, my Thursday evening college zoom group, my Sunday morning breakfast club, my orchestra, my SVH colleagues, and WDMS. These mean the world to me. We help each other without question. Breakfast club members Paul and Guy helped my orchestra simply because I asked them. In Guy’s case it may have been payback for serving on the Foothills Theatre board when he was president. My escapades in the art community were hardly altruistic. I got far more than I gave.
When Lou Fazen nominated me, I presumed it was for my video work. He asked me and I gave this brief history. In the 90s Jim Cozzens talked me into doing a cable show in Hopkinton. We called it “One More Thing.” For a couple of years, we did a bunch of biweekly shows on medical topics. I was impressed that our content with local physicians was better than what appeared on national news. Our first show with Stu Jaffee on erectile dysfunction predated national discussions of the topic. We had other shows that were innovative: biological weapons, PTSD to name two. Jim cut back to be Mr. Mom and my video career was on hold. Then Joyce Cariglia and Bill Primack asked me to run the WDMS public relations committee. I jumped at the opportunity to restart my video career. Joyce enlisted WCCA-TV and we started “Health Matters.” The best part is that it is no longer mine. It is now part of the fabric of the WDMS. Lynda Young, Jay Broadhurst, Mike Hirsh, Fred Baker, and others now host the show. Melissa Boucher produces. Our guests enjoy the extracurricular opportunity to help the health and well-being of the community. We tried unsuccessfully to get other districts to start their own local cable shows; instead, Rick Gulla got the MMS to sponsor a monthly show, dragging Jim Cozzens out of retirement. Jim and Rick recruited other cable stations. Due to their efforts “Physician Focus” reached over 2 million Massachusetts viewers. We produced over 100 shows before MMS abandoned the effort, feeling that they would rather invest in newer technologies. But, after 200 shows “Health Matters” is still going strong. Melissa produces and Frank Rocco still engineers. We are still using Tom Gauger’s music intro. Our guest experts still comment that their patients say, “I saw you on TV.”
Lou was not familiar with my other side venture: Town Government. For 2 nights a week from 1984 to 1996 with my neighbor, Bob Clark, I served on the Hopkinton Appropriations Committee, the last 3 as chair. Evelyn offered me as her service to the community. My family needed a respite from my parenting. When the chairman duties became too much, I ran for Town Moderator to deescalate; It takes one tenth the commitment. That job was made easy by a wonderful Town Clerk, Ann Click and generations of Selectmen best exemplified by my friend, Mike Shepard. I went from two nights a week to 4 nights a year. It is more fun than work. I served from 1996 to 2016.
My community of physicians is still my core. My highest honor is to be a member of this community. Dr Hoag, Dr Wolf and the SVH residents keep me grounded in the work of fundamental importance: the daily practice of medicine. For you to recognize my hobbies is icing on the cake. So, if your partner asks you to serve as a delegate to MMS as my partner, Lenny Morse did, join in. When side opportunities present take an occasional plunge. Start as a member of the loyal followership until an idea presents that you want to champion. Your passion could become the community’s passion. I followed Dick Aghababian’s vision for “Community Immunity” when he got sick. As his Vice President, I was thrust into leadership before I knew I was ready for it. When you hit a chord with a community as diverse and intelligent as our community of physicians, run with it. “Health Matters” endures. Find your idea and see who you could drag along, it is fun. Not all your ideas will fly. Rich Haas and I introduced a resolution to MMS to ask the state legislature to make insulin free. It did not pass the House of Delegates, but we had the right idea. Bob Lebow and I introduced a resolution to make a Health Care Proxy a condition of automobile licensure with the RMV to serve as the registry; that, too, went down in flames. But you all should keep trying. A. Jane Fitzpatrick would encourage you to pursue your outside passions. Thank you again for this honor.