The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, a national nonprofit leading the movement to bring compassion to every patient-caregiver interaction, has named Dr. Rick Boyte as the Schwartz Center National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year (NCCY) Award recipient.
Boyte, left, is congratulated by surgeon and author Dr. Atul Gawande. Photo courtesy of Randy Goodman.
Award-winning author and surgeon Dr. Atul Gawande presented the award Nov. 18 at the 20th Annual Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Healthcare Dinner, where Boyte was honored in front of 2,000 health care leaders, clinicians, patients and family members.
This year marks the Schwartz Center's 20th anniversary and the national expansion of the NCCY Award program, which was established to elevate excellence in compassionate care. For the past 16 years, the Schwartz Center has honored outstanding health care providers who display extraordinary devotion and compassion in caring for patients and families.
Dr. Boyte currently serves as a physician and division chief of pediatric palliative medicine at Batson Children's Hospital at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and is responsible for starting the palliative care team at the hospital. Dr. Boyte also chairs the hospital's Ethics Committee and leads its Schwartz Center Rounds program.
Boyte examines patient Queterrius Ellison, while his father Antonio holds him. Photo credit: The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare
“Dr. Boyte listened to us and got to know us and our heart's desires for our precious daughter,” said Gerry Gray-Lewis, a nurse manager in family medicine at UMMC who nominated Boyte for the award after he shepherded her family through the death of their 22-year-old daughter. “He was sensitive to our every emotion, from joy, celebration and hope, to sorrow, grief and pain. He supported us in unimaginable ways. And I'm sure he would say he was just doing his job.”
To Boyte, his patients have always been his greatest source of inspiration. “I share this honor with my colleagues back home, and I also share it with those who most inspire my work - my patients and their families,” he said during his acceptance speech. “They are my heroes and the most courageous people I've ever met. They're just getting through their lives. And the love and devotion I've seen from families is amazing.”