As you all know, after over 40 years working as a doctor, serving people, I am approaching my retirement. My last day in practice will be June 27. I am already overwhelmed with gratitude for the amazing outpouring of gratitude from nearly everyone. It is powerful to me, because I am the one who is grateful, for your trust. Without you, how could I be a doctor? As I approach retirement, Dr. Hertzer and I have given very deep attention to who will be coming to the practice, to be the doctor who practices with Dr. Hertzer, who will take over may position in the office?
You hopefully expect that we take this challenge most seriously. We like to think that we have approached the practice of medicine with one value paramount- the relationship.
Well, I am extremely pleased, and I know you will be too, to learn that a truly great pediatrician will be here, starting September 1. Her name is Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri, and she is one of the great doctors of Cleveland. I know because over the years I have heard the depth of devotion the families she has cared for feel. I know because Dr. Bucchieri has been a close friend of Dr. Hertzer for many, many years and Dr. Hertzer has told me about how exceptional, caring, skilled she is. And now I know, because I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Dr. Bucchieri just this last weekend after we heard the great news that she has accepted this position that I have opened up by retiring.
Let me share some of the highlights I have learned being in a practicing community of pediatricians with Dr. Bucchieri for many years, and now having met with her to discuss approaches and philosophies about the practice of pediatrics.
Let’s start with the fact that Dr. Bucchieri is also a parent, with two wonderful daughters, and so is living what we all talk about every day together. As we talked it also became very clear that, like me and Dr. Hertzer, Dr. Bucchieri actually loves being a pediatrician, actually caring for people, getting to know you, and doing so across decades of a child’s emergence from infancy to adulthood.
As we talked, it was abundantly clear that we also share with Dr. Bucchieri a real sense that it’s the relationship that is the core of being a doctor. Period. With a real, listening, connected, responsive relationship, all that we can offer becomes possible, without that not much really can happen. I was very impressed that one of the enduring lessons from her excellent training was the advice that it’s the family that knows the situation of their child, our job is to prove the family right in their observations, not wrong. That is exactly parallel to a principle that has served me well all these years, that the family has the answers. You either choose to listen and learn, or miss what is happening.
I also learned that over the years, Dr. Bucchieri has sought space in her busy office to create the experience for families to enjoy seeing her and her regular team, over time, and with tremendous consistency. In many ways, Dr. Bucchieri crafted a style of practice that we have here, and I learned that she is very, very excited to now be in an office sculpted to exactly how she would like to practice.
In addition to a commitment to craft her practice towards encouraging and enhancing the power of a good doctor-family relationship, Dr. Bucchieri highly values and offers much guidance on a broad range of dimensions of good health. She also recognizes how health results from a grand synthesis of many efforts, including good nutrition, adequate sleep, lots of exercise, and less time on smartphones and TV.
Dr. Bucchieri also has the rare awareness that solutions to challenges are best taken on by the person in the middle of the challenge, a key principle in all my work with Susan Glaser and our books on parenting. She was eloquent in describing how if kids understand solutions they in the best position to embrace solutions.
The last point I’ll share is that when talking about the challenge of mental health, Dr. Bucchieri shares our commitment to truly responding to issues that arise. On the specific front of ADHD, she shares with me the knowledge that not all that looks like ADHD is ADHD. The symptoms of inattention and impulsivity demand the same consideration of all possible causes that any other symptom deserves.
But over and beyond these and so many other points of similarity between Dr. Bucchieri and myself, I was deeply impressed with what a fine person will be joining Dr. Hertzer to be the doctors of the ACHP-Beachwood office! I am actually thrilled to leave all of you I have cared about and for all these years in these exceptional hands.
Now, we still have a party at our office, Sunday, June 25 to celebrate this powerful moment. We have called it a Thank You party, and I notice that many families think that means it’s a chance to say thanks to me, but I’ve thought of it more as my chance to say thank you to all of you, again for your trust, the greatest of all gifts. And now we can make it a Thank You and Welcome Party. A chance for all of us to express gratitude towards each other, and to Welcome Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri to this practice and your lives!
To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin