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Notes From the Field of Geriatric Medicine: In conversation with a NewBridge geriatrician

A Q&A with Dr. Kouta Ito, geriatric primary care physician at NewBridge on the Charles
Dr. Kouta Ito in his office at NewBridge on the Charles

Dr. Kouta Ito joined the Hebrew SeniorLife Medical Group as a geriatric primary care physician at NewBridge on the Charles in Dedham, MA last August. I recently sat down with him to learn more about his background and thoughts on geriatric medicine.

Q: What drew you to being a physician?

A: I was drawn to medicine because of my dad, who worked as a physician in the VA system. Geriatric medicine is one of the rare fields that allow a clinician to use both right and left brain skills. The work is rarely straightforward and every person is so different. As a Fellow, I remember being taught that “one size does not fit all” in this field. You have to think very carefully and intentionally to come up with the best solutions. This is very exciting to me.

Q: Where did you study medicine?

A: It was not a straightforward path! I graduated from medical school in Tokyo. For the first year I worked at a navy hospital in Japan. I moved back to the states to complete a geriatric fellowship, additional research training at Cornell and was then hired by Memorial Sloan Cancer Center to be an attending geriatric physician.

I was very excited by the opportunity to continue my career with Hebrew SeniorLife. I had actually been on the Roslindale campus as a Fellow so I was familiar with HSL and its national reputation.

Q: For NewBridge residents who may already have doctors locally, what are the benefits of joining the on-campus practice?

A: The biggest benefit to joining the NewBridge practice, in my opinion, is the continuity of care. I have never seen a more complete and continual system in my professional life. Wherever you live on campus, it is possible for you to see many of the same physicians. And if your doctor changes, at least we are all in the same system. Geriatric medicine is generally much more fragmented, which leads to increased risk of errors, poor quality of care and poor communication channels.

Q: How much interaction do you have with the adult children of your patients?

A: Many of my patients rely on their children to help them make decisions. Adult children play a key, trusted role in helping their parents evaluate options. Many actually join their parents for their office visits. I appreciate hearing the adult child’s observations, as well as meeting them face-to-face. It gives me a fuller picture of what is going on with my patient. For adult children who live out of state, I’m easily reached through the Patient Portal or by phone and email. All are welcomed forms of communication.

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

A: I am a big “soccer dad.” I enjoy traveling with my son across New England every weekend. I am a big fan of baseball, too. I love every aspect of the game from Little League to MLB, inside and outside the U.S., either just watching or actually playing!


Read about Hebrew SeniorLife’s Medical Group practice at NewBridge on the Charles

About Hebrew SeniorLife Outpatient Health Clinic
The health clinics within Outpatient Services at Hebrew SeniorLife offer high-quality, specialized care for Boston-area seniors. We offer a wide range of medical services including treatment for conditions such as hearing loss, memory disorders, osteoporosis, difficulty with speech and language, chronic illness, rehabilitation and wound care. When you visit Outpatient Services, you'll be treated by experts who understand the unique health needs of older adults, working to improve each patient’s health and quality of life.
Learn more about Hebrew SeniorLife’s Outpatient Health Clinic

Tara Fleming Caruso, MA, LMHC's picture

About the Blogger

Collaborative Care Advisor at NewBridge on the Charles

Tara serves as the collaborative care advisor for the NewBridge campus, making her an important resource for each of our residents and their families. Tara helps each senior moving to NewBridge both understand and access the variety of supports our continuum of care offers so each can live their best life possible. Tara brings almost 25 years of elder care experience to this role, including developing an expressive therapy program in a skilled nursing facility, serving as a program manager at a dementia-specific assisted living, and working at NewBridge on the Charles since 2009. She is a...

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Comments

Tara, We appreciate this quarterly blog. I'm going to attempt getting on the patient portal in order to have more direct communication with Dr. Ito. Bob

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