My Baystate Story: Dr. Benjamin Freda, Chief of Hospital Medicine, Baystate Franklin Medical Center

"I am Dr. Benjamin J. Freda, and I have been working within Baystate Health for 17 years. I began working as a nephrologist in the Renal Division and served as the director of continuous renal replacement therapy and intensive care nephrology. I have been working in Hospital Medicine over the last 8 years, and I am currently chief of hospital medicine at Baystate Franklin Medical Center.

I chose a medical career mostly because of its strong roots in teamwork and the opportunity to study scientific principles and engage in lifelong learning while providing compassionate care. I truly love being a physician and part of our Baystate Health team and its mission to elevate the health of our western Massachusetts population.

While the unprecedented COVID pandemic has been so very challenging on multiple levels, it has also deepened my love for medicine and reminded me of the importance of teamwork and gratitude – something that extends beyond “just a job.” I am so proud to have been part of our Baystate Health COVID response as both the system co-chair of our COVID therapeutics committee with Dr. Jennifer Schimmel and a frontline hospitalist working on the medical/surgical and intercare units with a group of truly amazing colleagues across the medical specialties, nursing and respiratory therapy.

When I see the challenges facing us in healthcare and try to imagine solutions, one thing frequently comes to mind – the importance of relying on one another and deepening our ability and commitment to do that. While we may not have all the solutions at hand, we do have each other, and as we learned during the pandemic, we certainly need each other. Lending a helping hand to our colleagues sometimes struggling in other teams, being willing to listen and engage in discussions and tasks that may not at first seem like 'our job' are some of the things I try to focus on, above and beyond my own self-interest. This helps me cultivate gratitude, a process that is not always easy. I saw this engagement and gratitude in action throughout the pandemic, exemplified by many of my colleagues, and specifically the leaders of our BMC hospital medicine division under the guidance of Dr. Natanasabapathy. He worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep us navigating the clinical and staffing challenges.

Recently, Baystate Franklin Medical Center began a new chapter in the story of Baystate Health with a Family Practice Residency Program, and I am honored to assist with this. When I work with this new class of residents and see the energy they bring, despite the challenges we all face, it warms my heart, reinvigorates my passion in medicine and provides hope for the successes to come."

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Author:Melissa Hale