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At Home On The Vineyard

At Home On The VineyardTufts School of Medicine graduates Gail O’Brien and Marc Shapiro recently relocated from Rhode Island to Martha’s Vineyard where they are part of a new team of doctors at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Boston [02.07.06] Dr. Gail O’Brien and Dr. Marc Shapiro are no strangers to Martha’s Vineyard, where the wife and husband own a vacation home. But six months ago, the 1989 Tufts School of Medicine graduates made their presence on the island permanent when they moved there and joined the staff of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

"There are a lot of good things happening," O’Brien told the Martha’s Vineyard Times about the hospital, where she works with Shapiro.

According to the Times, O’Brien and Shapiro made the decision to relocate from Rhode Island to the Vineyard in order to spend more time with their two sons.

“My wife and I both had 60-hour-a-week jobs and really wanted to spend more time with our children,” Shapiro, who worked in the Rhode Island Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine and directed the hospital’s high-tech training Medical Simulation Center, told the Times.

O’Brien, the former medical director of clinical services for Rhode Island Hospital, added that the family already owned a vacation house in Oak Bluffs, so the transition seemed natural. After six months on the job at the 15-bed hospital, she is pleased with her career move, according to the Times.

“She described Tim Walsh, [the hospital’s chief executive officer], as a good leader with a vision for getting the physicians to work together as a team to provide a strong base of primary care and more services for the community,” the Times reported.

According to the newspaper, in bringing this “blend of newly trained and seasoned professionals” to the hospital, Walsh hopes to improve the facility’s ability to provide care to Martha’s Vineyard residents.

"I am very optimistic," Walsh told the Times. " … I think ultimately what we are going to end up with is having a primary care physician for every resident. My goal is not to have people get on the ferry because they have to. If they chose to, that is another matter."

O’Brien added that, despite various health issues on the island, many people on the Vineyard lead healthy lifestyles.

“They are remarkably healthy,” O’Brien told the Times. “There are 85-year-olds out there hunting deer. As a physician it is really heart-warming and so nice to see people who really take great care of their health and their families care about them. I cannot tell you how many people I see who are older and their families are really keeping an eye on them and making sure they are taken care of and if they do not have a family, the community looks out for them. I think that is special”

That sense of community, both O’Brien and Shapiro agreed, was part what attracted them to the island.

“We wanted to be part of a community,” Shapiro told the Times. “You are appreciated more as a physician in a small community like this and that has really been borne out in my experience over the months that we have been here. It makes the job a whole lot more rewarding.”



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