Passing the Torch: Doctor to Student, Father to Son

Merrimack Journal - February 16, 2018

Dr. Bill Lero of Merrimack Pediatrics retired in January 2018 after a long career as a pediatrician. He taught many medical students over the years, however the last medical student to shadow his practice prior to his retirement was his son. Michael Lero is currently studying at UMass Medical School and will graduate in 2021.

Michael was considering a career in healthcare throughout college and decided to become a doctor during his junior year, noting that shadowing and speaking with his dad were both influential in that decision. “It is a huge blessing to have my father as a mentor and role model. I hear about his work, but it was fun to see him in action and learn from him. I am sure I will continue to learn from him and ask for advice as I continue my training”, he said. Michael noted that he is considering hospital and emergency medicine but could also see himself working in pediatrics in a hospital setting.

Reflecting on the different between his own training and that of his son, Dr. Lero highlighted that the technological and medical advances since he graduated almost 35 years ago. “There was no EMR (electronic medical record) then, but my son is already learning how to navigate EPIC (a sophisticated EMR system) at UMass”, he said. “Of course, much research has been done during that time frame, especially in the field of genetics—I actually have a lot to learn from him in that respect!” Dr. Lero went on to say that the basics are still the basics– good science, good history taking and exam, good interpersonal skills and quality follow-through.

When asked what it was like working with his father, Michael said “It is fun to see my father interact with patients and their families. He has worked with many families for more than a decade; there is a special connection when you have cared for a family for that long. He tries to make the exam as comfortable as possible for the child and parents really seem to appreciate that.”

“I have worked with many students over the years, but it is always special when you can mentor your own child”, said Dr. Lero. “Michael is only a first-year medical student. He is doing awesome and has already impressed me with how much he has learned in a field that can be so intimidating”. “My time with him was a reminder to me that, though I have learned much over the years there is always more to learn”, he said.

When asked what Dr. Lero would miss about Merrimack Pediatrics, he said he has worked with many wonderful providers, nurses and other staff members in his time with the Foundation and has appreciated being part of such an awesome, dedicated team, but will miss the relationships he developed with many families over the last 14 years most of all. “To be a small part of their lives has been a privilege to me. They will always be in my heart”, he said.

Posted: 2/16/2018 by Merrimack Journal