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Greenwich Hospital Doctor Honored as Educator

GREENWICH, Conn. ? Dr. Charles Seelig of Greenwich approached medical school with the analytical mind of a scientist bent on unraveling the mysteries of the human body. The technology and methodology drew him in, but it was the human contact that turned him into the doctor he is today.

“I really thought of myself as a research scientist,” said Seelig. “It wasn't until my residency that I discovered how much I loved caring for patients.”

Seelig is in his 16th year as the director of medical education at Greenwich Hospital, where he heads up the residency program. For a relatively small hospital, it is a relatively large program, with 24 residents on board at any given time. There is also a handful of students from Yale's medical school who come through the hospital.

It is during the residency period where a real of love medicine is born, according to Seelig. Something changes inside them when residents move away from the theory and learning the technology and stand at a bedside helping a patient.

“All of this technology is wonderful, but it takes us away from the patient. Sometimes you have to force yourself to stand at their bedside because the magic doesn't happen in front of a computer screen,” said Seelig.

Seelig embraces the teaching aspect of his job. When questioned on what he does for a living, his initial response is teacher. “I am a doctor first, but I am really a teacher, and I teach medicine,” said Seelig.

Seelig's work teaching residents what it means to be a doctor has earned him praise from the the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. He has been named one of this year's recipients of a Parker J. Palmer Courage Award. Palmer is a leader in medical education and author of "The Courage to Teach." The council accredits approximately 8,900 residency and fellowship training programs in the U.S.

Seelig credits his success to the hospital and staff, including the many area physicians in private practice who volunteer their time. “I couldn't have accomplished what I have as program director, or earned this award, without all of the people I work with.”

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