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Tufts University School of Medicine

A family tradition, shared with today’s Tufts medical students

Photo credit: Photo provided by the family
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 3:30pm

By Kris Willcox

As a high school student in Paterson, NJ, Richard Reines, A71, M76, A01P, A04P, M05P was an accomplished swimmer with a state champion title and hopes of a collegiate swimming career, but little knowledge about his options beyond his home state.

“Coming from New Jersey, I didn't know much about the New England schools,” Reines recalls. “Then someone told me there's a nice little school up there called Tufts and they’re building a swim team.” Reines was accepted at Tufts, where he studied biology and earned All-American status as part of the Men’s Swimming and Diving Team. Over fifty years later, he remains deeply connected to Tufts, and the medical school, where he trained for a career in family medicine. Both his son, Louis Reines, A01, M05, and his daughter, Joy Reines, A04, attended Tufts as undergraduates. His son is now a Tufts-trained physician and colorectal surgeon at Tufts Medical Center, and Assistant Professor of Surgery at Tufts.

In addition to supporting Hillel, and swimming and diving at Tufts, the elder Dr. Reines has created two Tufts scholarships: one for undergraduates interested in medicine, and another for medical students planning to specialize in family medicine. The younger Dr. Reines is proud of the many ways his father is giving back, and glad to join him in extending their connections to Tufts University, and the medical school.

A lifetime in family medicine

Richard Reines always knew he wanted to emulate the family physician who cared for him from birth to the age of 18. “In those ancient days,” he explains, “a family practitioner was also a surgeon, an obstetrician, a pediatrician, and whatever else the patient needed—and that’s what I wanted to do.” His interest in family medicine put him in the minority at Tufts, where only 10 members of his class of 175 chose family medicine. Years later, Reines provided guidance to the medical school in shaping its family medicine track.

“I did my internship and residency in South Florida and started a solo family practice. One day I got a call from Dr. Morton Madoff, the dean at Tufts University School of Medicine. He wanted to talk with me about creating a family medicine program at Tufts.” Reines was happy to help pave the way for more Tufts physicians in the specialty he loves.

One of the best parts of practicing in the same community for over 42 years is, “the chance to know and care for multiple generations of the same family.” He also enjoys working with patients in nursing homes, “because you’re treating the patient medically, and working with a family—the children, the brothers and sisters,” to help them care for their loved one.

Due to the changing role of the family practitioner, surgery isn’t a routine part of his work, but he is happy that his son has taken the surgical road. “I'm really jealous,” he says with a smile. “I think Louis has a lot of the qualities and traits of a family doctor, which he’s able to combine with his specialty skills in surgery, and I’m really proud of that.”

“Tufts is part of my family”

“Tufts University and the medical school are part of who I am, and part of my family,” says Louis Reines. “I'm grateful every day for the opportunities those institutions have provided for me.” Many of his mentors during internship and residency were Tufts graduates, he says, and the dedication they brought to their work has had a profound influence on his career. His greatest joys, in addition to his work, are his family, including his wife Veronica (an OB/GYN), their daughter Eliana (9) and son Solomon (7).

“My dad taught me the value of hard work, and determination,” says Dr. Reines. “I’ve learned so much from watching him build a practice and maintain it through good times and hard times, always staying committed to excellent care, his patients and his family.”

Colorectal surgery provides variety and challenge, and opportunities to branch into innovative new areas like robotic surgery, which are helping provide even better care for patients. As his practice expands to include more community-based surgical services, he’s glad for the foundation that his MD/MBA training have given him, to nurture a robust practice.

As Assistant Professor of Surgery at Tufts, he can share the most valuable components of his own training. “The most important things,” he says, “are that continuous growth mindset, and lifelong learning.” He sees those same values and skills taking root through his father’s scholarships. “Every time I see a letter from a recipient, and read about their story, I’m so proud that the scholarship is working to share that educational experience and the medical profession with another person. That’s what’s most important to my family—helping someone else find the same joy.”