(From time to time, the blog features recipients of the IHA Iowa Hospital Heroes Award. These outstanding hospital employees come from across the state and work at hospitals of every size. They exemplify the courage, caring and community focus that are the hallmarks of the hospital mission in Iowa.)
It’s not unusual for a doctor to be referred to as a “hero.” They save lives on a regular basis, sometimes in dramatic fashion in an emergency room, sometimes by way of monitoring chronic health conditions. Dr. Elaine Berry, a family medicine physician at the Atlantic Medical Center, is no exception. For those “routine” acts alone, Dr. Berry could easily be designated as a Hospital Hero.
But the only “routine” thing about Dr. Berry is her time in the primary care clinic where she sees patients four days a week. However, clinic time is just the tip of the iceberg in her far-reaching medical practice. She spends countless hours caring for her hospitalized patients, providing coverage in the emergency department and rounding with patients in long-term care facilities.
Dr. Berry is also quick to volunteer for leadership roles and committee work. She has actively participated in the selection and implementation of new electronic medical record systems. Dr. Berry has served as the medical director of home health care since 1990. She has served as the local hospice medical director for 26 years and in 2008 became the only physician in southwest Iowa to earn certification in hospice and palliative care.
Dr. Berry has mentored many young people interested in medicine. In 2009, she received the Volunteer Clinical Faculty Award by the Iowa Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. She also makes time to be a community leader, serving as Cass County coroner since 1988 and as a member of the Cass County Emergency Preparedness Team. Dr. Berry has served as medical director for local emergency medical services for 20 years, has assisted local immigrant families in their transition to living in Iowa and has participated in four medical mission trips abroad.
Dr. Berry came to the Atlantic Medical Center (now a part of Cass County Health System) as a young physician fresh out of residency training. From the beginning, she has been unwavering in her pursuit of providing compassionate, safe, intelligent care to her patients while fulfilling so many roles within our health system and community. She truly is a hero among us.