Dr. Ruth M. Thomson Named Medical Director for the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care
Ruth M. Thomson, DO, MBA, has been named Medical Director for the soon-to-be-opened Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care, and Director of Hospice Services in the Section of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.
Under construction since summer 2016 and scheduled for a late-2017 opening, the Jack Byrne Center is an advanced clinical facility to provide integrated, patient- and family-centered care for patients with life-limiting illness and complex medical needs and to strengthen palliative and hospice care region-wide.
Dr. Thomson will partner with recently appointed nurse manager Melissa Garland, RN, BSN, to lead an interprofessional team of clinicians at the Jack Byrne Center, and will oversee the development and implementation of educational and community programs at the Center. She will take on her new role in September, building on the foundational planning work for the Center led by Dr. Ellen Bassett and Darlene Saler, RN, BSN, MBA.
“It’s an exciting time, as we approach the opening of the Jack Byrne Center,” said Dr. Kathryn B. Kirkland, Section Chief and Director of Palliative Medicine at D-H and the Dorothy and John J. Byrne, Jr., Distinguished Chair in Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. “We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Thomson, who is nationally recognized for her experience and expertise in hospice care, into this leadership role, and we’re so grateful to Dr. Bassett for her unwavering leadership in ensuring that the Center will be ready to fulfill its promise for our community.”
Practicing full-time hospice and palliative medicine for 16 years, Dr. Thomson most recently served as Chief Medical Officer for Ohio’s Hospice and President of Innovative Care Solutions. In those roles, she directed the care of over 5,000 hospice and 1,800 palliative care patients each year. Her areas of focus included inpatient hospice care, program development, and community collaboration.
She currently serves as the Co-chair for the Public Policy Committee of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM). She was also recently elected to a three-year Director-At-Large position on the AAHPM Board of Directors.
Dedicated to educating clinicians in the field, Dr. Thomson has served as Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. She also co-authored volume 1 of AAHPM’s Essential Practices in Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
She is a 1996 graduate of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine and has achieved Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and Hospice Medical Director Board Certification. She is a fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Internists and the AAHPM. She completed her MBA in 2016 at Wright State University Raj Soin College of Business.
The 12-bed Jack Byrne Center will combine interdisciplinary patient-and family-centered care with unprecedented opportunities for teaching, training, and research for health care providers. A $10 million gift from the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation in 2014 covers almost half of the $22 million cost of construction of the Center, with another $7 million contributed to date by members of the community. The Jack Byrne Center is intended to fill a growing need for specialized care for seriously ill people who are enrolled in hospice but whose pain or other medical needs are difficult to manage elsewhere. Many of these patients are currently admitted to acute care hospitals, for lack of other options. The Jack Byrne Center will offer an environment that is both warm and comforting, and equipped to meet these complex clinical needs.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) is a nonprofit academic health system that serves a population of 1.9 million in New England. D-H provides access to more than 1,000 primary care doctors and specialists in almost every area of medicine, delivering care in Lebanon, NH at its flagship, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center; the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 45 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation; the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock; affiliate hospitals in Lebanon, Keene, and New London, NH, and Windsor, VT, and through the Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and at 24 Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. The D-H system trains nearly 400 residents and fellows annually, and performs world-class research, in partnership with the Audrey and Theodor Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT. In 2016, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center was named one of "100 Great Hospitals in America" by Becker's Hospital Review.