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M. Donna Younger, M.D., Honored at Joslin Ceremony

The ceremony's attendees
crowd around Dr. Younger

Friday, February 22, 2013

On Tuesday, Dec. 18, M. Donna Younger, M.D. of the Joslin Clinic Adult Section was recognized and honored for her 50 plus year career at the Joslin Diabetes Center.

Dr. Younger first joined Joslin in 1959 when she arrived on a fellowship from the National Institutes of Health. In 1961, she began treating patients under the guidance of Dr. Elliot P. Joslin, founder of the clinic and the father of modern diabetes care. When Dr. Joslin fell ill and was hospitalized in 1961 (at age 92), he insisted that Dr. Younger be his doctor because he was confident in her talent and abilities as a physician.

Dr. Younger learned the craft and the art of medicine from Dr. Joslin and Dr. Priscilla White, one of the well-respected physicians who treated patients at the Joslin Clinic’s inception. Dr. Younger began practicing here at a time when the medical word believed Joslin’s protocols to be far too severe and outside of the mainstream treatments for the average individual with diabetes to follow. But the medical community was soon proven wrong with her help.

Dr. Younger has been a loyal physician, teacher, and mentor at Joslin for the past 54 years. She has devoted herself unreservedly to all of her patients, treating every single one of them with the utmost level of care and respect.

“She is the best. She listens, she’s there for you, she gives you courage, she gives you hope, and she really just gives you everything that you’d ever want. She’s been a life line; I can always get ahold of and count on her. It’s just been a wonderful network,” said Francis Fitzgerald, one of Dr. Younger’s dedicated patients for 33 years now.

Nearly 100 people including patients, colleagues, staff, and admirers gathered together for Dr. Younger’s honorable ceremony. To be sure future generations understand and recognize her significant impact on her patients and colleagues, her portrait, uncovered at the beginning of the ceremony, was installed in the Joslin Clinic. Two of her long-term, grateful patients spoke about her faithful dedication to them. They recalled how she provided them with the knowledge to manage their health, challenged them to reach their full potential, and inspired them to envision a world without diabetes.

Dr. Younger serves as a role model to young physicians, teaching them how to practice medicine with respect and empathy for their patients. Dr. Younger has truly exemplified the spirit and impact of Joslin’s patient-centered care. She still maintains an office here at Joslin treating a few of her long-time patients. Some of her current patients are now grandparents who were once pregnant when she first started treating them. To further honor Dr. Younger, the M. Donna Younger, M.D. Fund is in the process of being created to support high quality clinical teaching and patient care at Joslin.

“I only see Dr. Younger twice a year now because I am doing dramatically better. When I first started seeing her I was like a vegetable, I don’t even like to remember it. I was 44 years old, I had five children, and I was just so weak and sick,” said Fitzgerald. “After diagnosing me, little by little she got me back on my feet. Today I’m 77 years old and I can truthfully say that I owe my life to her.”

Page last updated: November 01, 2014