Heidi B. Kummer, MD, MPH, BCPA
I have enjoyed a wonderful career as an anesthesiologist/intensive care physician taking care of critically ill patients, as a bioethicist examining end-of-life decision-making, as a physician leader on professional society boards, and as an entrepreneur managing a start-up. But my most important role to-date has been as an advocate for seriously ill or dying parents, close friends or family members. I had always tried to consider what it was like for families sitting in a waiting area fretting to hear about the outcome of their loved-one’s surgery or about the prognosis of someone in intensive care. No matter how empathetic one is, when it is you or your husband or your parent lying in that ICU bed, it is a very humbling and scary experience. I understand.
Medicine today and how it is practiced has changed dramatically since my husband, a busy academic surgeon, and I entered the profession. Trying to provide what a patient needs has become a daily struggle amidst the regulations and roadblocks, be they insurance denials or electronic medical record woes. Navigating the ever increasing complexity of the health care system is challenging even for those of us on the inside- but it can be almost impossibly daunting for someone suddenly confronted with a serious diagnosis or medical emergency. Not to mention that hospitals are dangerous places and no one should be left to face them alone. Recognizing a dire need for help in such circumstances led me to become board certified in patient advocacy and dedicate myself full-time to helping patients and their families. Whether it is translating medical jargon, explaining disease processes, researching relevant therapies, identifying treatment options, preparing and being present for doctor’s appointments/hospital stays, coordinating pathways with the existing medical team, or explaining and facilitating advance care planning, I help to insure you have all the relevant information to make informed choices and set realistic goals- which we can then pursue together.
My bi-Continental upbringing and background, coupled with decades of involvement in international societies have allowed me to establish a vast network of professionals- I may not know the answer to a specific question, but I usually know someone who does. As an advocate I do not give medical advice and while my years of experience and expertise as a physician and an advocate are helpful, it is the combination of competence, compassion and care that is essential to helping you achieve peace of mind in difficult times.
Professional Licensure & Certification
|2018||Board Certification in Patient Advocacy|
|2004||Master of Public Health, Boston University School of Public Health|
|2003||Certificate in International Health, BUSPH, Center for International Health|
|1995||Board Certification in Critical Care Medicine|
|1993||Board Certification in Anesthesiology|
|1986||Massachusetts Medical License|
|1985||Doctor of Medicine|