Groopman, Jerome E.
Groopman, Jerome E.
(Jerome Groopman, M.D.)
PERSONAL: Education: Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, M.D., 1976.
ADDRESSES: Office—Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 4 Blackfan Cir., HIM #351, Boston, MA 02115; fax: 617-975-5244.
CAREER: Physician, medical researcher, educator, and writer. Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, professor of immunology and Dina and Raphael Recanati Chair of Medicine; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, chief of experimental medicine; New Yorker, New York, NY, staff writer in medicine and biology, 1998–. Serves on scientific editorial boards; participant in professional symposia on cancer and immune-deficiency disorders. Also served on the Advisory Council to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for AIDS-related matters, as consultant for the Center for Biological Evaluation and Research at FDA, and a member of the Food and Drug Administration's Senior Biomedical Service Credentials Committee and chairman of the Advisory Committee to the FDA for Biological Response Modifiers; original member of the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences Committee on AIDS.
AS JEROME GROOPMAN, MD
The Measure of Our Days: New Beginnings at Life's End, Viking (New York, NY), 1997.
Second Opinions: Stories of Intuition and Choice in a Changing World of Medicine, Viking (New York, NY), 2000.
The Anatomy of Hope: How Patients Prevail in the Face of Illness, Random House (New York, NY), 2004.
Portions of The Measure of Our Days serialized previously in the New Yorker; contributor of articles, reviews, columns, and letters to professional journals and magazines, including the New England Journal of Medicine and New Republic.
(With Michael S. Gottlieb) Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome: Proceedings of a Schering Corp.-UCLA Symposium held in Park City, Utah, February 5-10, 1984, A.R. Liss (New York, NY), 1984.
(With David W. Golde and Charles H. Evans) Mechanisms of Action and Therapeutic Applications of Biologicals in Cancer and Immune Deficiency Disorders: Proceedings of a Hoffman-La Roche-Smith Kline & French-UCLA Symposium, held at Keystone, Colorado, April 23-30, 1988, A.R. Liss (New York, NY), 1989.
(With others) Human Retroviruses: Proceedings of a Chimertech-UCLA Symposium, held at Tamarron, Colorado, February 4-11, 1989, Wiley-Liss (New York, NY), 1990.
ADAPTATIONS: The Measure of Our Days and Second Opinions formed the basis for the television series Gideon's Crossing, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (ABC); The Anatomy of Hope, was made into an audio-book, Books on Tape, 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Jerome E. Groopman has made a major contribution to research on AIDS since the mid-1980s, when that disease was first identified by clinicians. As a Harvard professor and as Chief of Experimental Medicine for Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, he has been at the forefront of perhaps the most-publicized medical battle of our times. In addition, he has made his mark as the author of a highly acclaimed book that reveals the human side of terminal disease, and of its author as well.
The Measure of Our Days: New Beginnings at Life's End marks Groopman's successful attempt to process the powerful emotions aroused by continuous close contact with the dying, but which any physician must keep at bay during his professional hours. The essays that compose the book deal with eight patients, five of whom had died by the time of the volume's completion. The work also gives space to Groopman's own history of personal anguish in relation to illness, revealing that his father had died as a result of poor medical care when Groopman was a medical student; and the author himself suffered a long depression after incurring a back injury while training for a marathon race.
Reviewers, including William Beatty in Booklist, observed that Groopman's background had undoubtedly contributed to the depth and warmth of his interest in patients as people. Groopman relates that his personal philosophy compels him to tell the truth to his patients. Those with whom he speaks the truth in the pages of The Measure of Our Days include a young man who had overcome leukemia only to develop AIDS from a transfusion, a breast-cancer patient who challenged him to open his mind to alternative medicine, a homosexual Swiss architect who feared life almost as much as death, and an elderly businessman whose cancer prompted keen regrets about his past. These patients' stories were, in the opinion of a Publishers Weekly contributor, "extraordinary portraits … informed by the author's grounding in a living biblical tradition of teaching and healing."
The Publishers Weekly contributor lavished praise on Groopman, asserting that Groopman challenges the stereotype of the cold, uninvolved clinician. The reviewer added that Groopman "writes with the eye of a poet, the heart of a philosopher and the voice of a novelist." A contributor to Kirkus Reviews applauded the perceptiveness of Groopman's descriptions of medical practice, and his willingness to share with the reader the feelings of a dedicated, often-frustrated healer. The reviewer noted: "The well and the sick alike will find much to ponder here—this is the kind of book whose thoughts and messages linger long after it has been closed." Booklist contributor Beatty noted the hopeful quality of The Measure of Our Days despite its unsparing accounts of dying. Beatty wrote: "Doctors and patients stand to learn from it that life is more than merely living or being kept alive."
In his next book, Second Opinions: Stories of Intuition and Choice in a Changing World of Medicine, Groopman presents the medical histories of eight patients who suffer from a range of problems, from Alzheimer's disease to asthma. Most of them are personally close to Groopman and include his son, grandfather, and friends. Noting that often the patient's own "intution" can prove invaluable in diagnosing a patient, Groopman discusses the doctor's mandate of carefully listening to the patient during an exam and interview. He also discusses other issues, such as HMO's and the constraints they put on time and finances in the care of patients. Writing in Booklist, William Beatty called the book "well-written, thought-provoking." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "This is an excellent book by a thoughtful physician."
The Anatomy of Hope: How Patients Prevail in the Face of Illness focuses on how a patient's ability to hope in a positive manner improves their ability to deal with illness. Groopman writes about many of his patients, as well as his own ability to cope with a serious back injury. He discusses the difference in patients who can sustain hope and those who seem unable to achieve a positive outlook. He also discusses mind-body research and points out that physicians also can play an important role in helping to foster hope in patients while maintaining a straightforward and honest approach to their problems. Donna Chavez, writing in Booklist, called the book a "cogent, intriguing, hopeful volume." A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote: "A thoughtful message, movingly yet unsentimentally presented by a physician alert to medicine's human as well as its scientific side." Another reviewer writing in Publishers Weekly referred to the The Anatomy of Hope as "provocative."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Biotech Week, January 15, 2003, "Jerome E. Groopman Named to Board of Directors," p. 61.
Booklist, September 15, 1997, William Beatty, review of The Measure of Our Days: New Beginnings at Life's End, p. 185; February 15, 2000, William Beatty, review of Second Opinions: Stories of Intuition and Choice in the Changing World of Medicine, p. 1064; December 15, 2003, Donna Chavez, review of The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness, p. 713.
British Medical Journal, June 10, 2000, David Woods, review of Second Opinions, p. 1610.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1997, review of The Measure of Our Days, p. 1182; November 1, 2003, review of The Anatomy of Hope, p. 1299.
Kliatt, March, 2005, Daniel Levinson, review of The Anatomy of Hope, p. 36.
Lancet, January 10, 1998, Francesca Lunzer Kritz, review of The Measure of Our Days, p. 148.
Library Journal, February 15, 2000, Andy Wickens, review of Second Opinions, p. 190; December, 2003, Andy Wickens, review of The Anatomy of Hope, p. 152.
O, the Oprah Magazine, January, 2004, Mark Doty, review of The Anatomy of Hope, p. 94.
People, January 12, 1998, Stephen Fowler, review of The Measure of Our Days, p. 38.
Psychology Today, March, 2000, Paul Chance, review of Second Opinions, p. 78.
Publishers Weekly, September 22, 1997, review of The Measure of Our Days, p. 60; January 31, 2000, review of Second Opinions, p. 93; October 27, 2003, review of The Anatomy of Hope, p. 51.
Technology Review, July, 2005, Stephan Herrera, review of The Anatomy of Hope, p. 79.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Web site, http://www.bidmc.harvard.edu/ (October 20, 2006), staff member profile of author.
Jerome Groopman Home Page, http://www.jeromegroopman.com (October 20, 2006).