John M. Barry MD, presented “Life 2019.” 

How to cite: Barry, John M. Life 2019” March 7, 2019. Accessed Feb 2020.

Life 2019- Summary:

John M. Barry, MD, Professor of Urology at Oregon Health & Science University, shares the insights from his life and tenure as a urologic surgeon that he has found most helpful and valuable. He gives his perspective on values, impactful books, principles, character, parenting, careers, time, decisions, change, and death in this presentation.

Life as Defined by an Accomplished Urologic Surgeon  

Even as a 78 year old urological surgeon who has performed over 2,500 kidney transplants, Dr. Barry says he has not been claimed by the dreaded “physician burnout.” In this presentation, he shares the observations and experiences from his lifetime that have helped him achieve fulfillment and self-actualization, as well as extend his ability to be an active member of society later in life.

Maintaining the following principles can be helpful guiding points for us as human beings: leadership should emphasize helping others; achieving perfection should be sought in concert with the knowledge that it is unattainable; and money should be a subsequent result of a meaningful career. With those principles, it is important to remember that public service is a responsibility of citizenship, and should be participated in to the best of one’s abilities. This, in turn, will contribute to a healthy civilization in which members do the right thing and look out for each other.

Developing one’s character can be as simple as asking, “Who am I?” every morning. However, it involves facing ethical dilemmas mindfully, as well.  

Dr. Barry also reflects on considerations specific to various stages of life, including responsible parenting; performing in and sustaining a career that provides meaning, focus, and stability, especially in times of crisis; and optimizing retirement. In terms of day to day life, he ruminates on ideals of moving forward, time management, work/life balance, prioritizing, and dealing with change. He shares helpful “grids” for simplifying and contextualizing different aspects of life.

Finally, he explains how life often can be the most authentic when it is close to death, and that life, at its core, is problem solving and the pursuit of happiness.