Drs. Amelia Cullinan and Maxwell Vergo
- Amelia: Palliative Care / Hospital Medicine
- Max: Palliative Care / Medical Oncology
- Happily married since July 2010, after two years of long-distance dating (Boston - Chicago)
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When Max was younger he thought about being a high school science teacher because “it is wonderful to capture the attention and imagination of young adults.”
Amelia, on the other hand, never considered a different career path. She “can’t imagine doing anything else” and feels incredibly fortunate to be paid for what she does.
What are the most interesting aspects facets of your specialty?
Amelia: I was drawn to Palliative Medicine because I get to encounter patients when they are at the most vulnerable yet courageous moment of their lives. I have the opportunity to hear their stories, support their families, and when I’m successful, improve their quality of life.
Max: I have always been drawn to relationships that are genuine and intimate, and I have found that this relationship can exist between an oncologist and the people they care for. Cancer often times reminds a person what is truly important in their life, and I am honored to be in a position to witness this with the people I care for and learn for my own life. Given that patients with cancer often suffer with physical or emotional symptoms, I trained in palliative medicine to assure I would be well equipped to handle even the most challenging situations.
Where do you see your career heading, short and long term?
Max: I hope to continue to grow as a GI oncologist and be able to be involved with developing new treatment paradigms that significantly impact peoples’ lives. I also hope to be able to intensify the amount of supportive care that patients and families get through the course of their disease and will continue to focus on this with my research.
Amelia: My goal for my first few years here at Northwestern is to build a Palliative Medicine outpatient program which serves a wide variety of patients through multiple interdisciplinary clinics; I’m also excited to take part in the wide array of teaching our section does, for medical students, residents, and fellows. Long-term, all I can say for certain is that I hope to always have the opportunity to teach, and to develop and improve my own skills.