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Dr. Howard Siegel and his family in November 2019. Left to right: Dr. Jason Steinberg, Stacy Siegel, Dr. Siegel, Barbara Siegel, Dr. Allison Siegel and Hershel Eisenberger

Collaboration in Pathology and Philanthropy

November 30, 2020
Pathologists study the cause and effect of disease in patients. They use laboratory test results as well as their extensive medical knowledge to infer and support a diagnosis, a confluence of factors strung together to aid in the care of a patient.

Therefore, a pathologist, like retired GBMC physician Dr. Howard Siegel, would be intimately familiar with how important different factors coming together to support the best care of a patient are. He along with his wife of 40 years, Barbara, supported GBMC's campaign, The Promise Project, because of this knowledge and the experience to know it works.

"In order to take care of the health needs of a community, you can't be static," Dr. Siegel said. "You have to look toward the future, and GBMC management has been very gifted in that way, able to see into the future, know what the needs of the community are and the ways to support the community. One of them is the physical plan."

Baltimore natives who met in the seventh grade, Dr. Siegel and Barb remember when GBMC was first constructed on the hill in Towson. The picturesque nature of the hospital and the serene environment it created aided in patient care and recovery as much as the talent inside the hospital. For Dr. Siegel, he sees that trend continuing into the future with The Promise Project.

"One of the beauties of GBMC is that it has a culture that's somewhere between academic medicine and a community hospital, which is designed with a patient-centered focus," Dr. Siegel said. "Primarily what patients see is that patient-centered focus, which is wonderful. To a physician who practices at GBMC, we see both worlds. We are dealing with some extraordinarily gifted physicians at GBMC who could work in any major academic center they wanted, but they choose to work at GBMC and their focus is on the patient.

"[Vice President of Support Services] Stacey McGreevy and [Capital Resources Manager] Russ Sadler, along with their team, really listened to what these physicians, nurses, technicians and technologists had to say about the new physical space because you can't separate the physical plan from the ability to give patients excellent care. If the physical plan is inefficient, it doesn't let you practice medicine at the highest levels."

Pathologists do their jobs in the shadows. And, according to Dr. Siegel, "we don't have any ego about that." Many pathologists, laboratory technicians and other staff in the lab have been at GBMC for years, if not their whole careers, because they see how their role fits into the larger plan of patient care, thanks in large part to GBMC's medical staff.

"Other institutions don’t interact with pathologists as well because they often don't understand as much about what they do," Dr. Siegel said. "The physicians on our GBMC Medical Staff really understand what we do and the value of it."

This integration and focus on patient care as a team effort permeates the hospital culture and has allowed GBMC to be effective in good times and flexible in others. The COVID-19 pandemic was an unforeseen crisis that allowed GBMC to reevaluate plans for The Promise Project, and adjust with new factors in mind. For Dr. Siegel, that thinking is what helps GBMC produce great results for the community it serves.

"GBMC has always been at the forefront of trying to think through the totality of how to take care of patients, not only with the highest quality of medicine but also in the most productive and efficient way so that patients could be moved from the hospital setting back to home where we all know they get better faster," Dr. Siegel said.

This thinking led Dr. Siegel to spend his entire 31-year career at GBMC, but also bolsters his confidence in GBMC as an institution to dedicate his philanthropy.

"The entire mission and vision of GBMC coincides with what Barb and I hold dear, which is the health of the community," Dr. Siegel said. "GBMC is very centered on making sure every patient gets treated as we would want our family members treated. That is such a phenomenal statement. It may seem logical, but you don't really hear it voiced all that often until GBMC voiced it, and it is an honor and a privilege to give toward that vision.

"GBMC really is a family. It sounds like a cliché, but it is absolutely true. And what better way to take care of your family then to build a nice house for it."
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