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The one hundred honoree: Mary Ellen Berman

Profile in Medicine

The one hundred honoree: Mary Ellen Berman

Mass General Giving

When patients describe Mary Ellen Berman, the word sunshine comes up a lot: as in Mary Ellen is a “burst of sunshine on a cloudy day.” As patient services coordinator in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Mass General, Mary Ellen is often the first person patients meet on their first day of radiation treatment—a stressful circumstance for most.

Patients arrive with questions, concerns, anxieties and fears. Mary Ellen greets each of them warmly and sensitively guides them through the unfamiliar environment of the treatment clinic. She helps make them feel cared for, connected and safe.

Mary Ellen also takes the time to communicate the special needs of each patient to the clinic’s nurses and doctors, making their jobs easier and ensuring patients receive optimum care. Because she constantly exceeds the expectations of her role, the Department of Radiation Oncology honored Mary Ellen last fall with the Excellence in Teamwork Award.

On nominating Mary Ellen, patient James Weiss wrote, “At first, I was bewildered by all the people I had to check in with, the different offices I had to visit…but Mary Ellen had a very reassuring effect. She was never too busy to exchange some pleasant conversation, but she also didn’t keep people waiting at her desk. Sometimes I watched her deal with people who were clearly disoriented—whom to see next? which floor to go to? She had a wonderful mix of compassion and competence. I came to admire her very much, and I am grateful for her.”