Dr. Colleen Guiry

After a remarkable career spanning decades in the medical field, Dr. Colleen Guiry, medical director of clinical education, is set to retire on July 3, marking the end of an era characterized by dedication, innovation, and a profound commitment to medical education. Her retirement coincides with the orientation of the new cohort of students into the clinical education program she helped establish, underscoring her unique role in shaping the future of health care professionals.

Dr. Colleen GuiryFoundation Medical Partners Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Salvatore Vella says, “Dr. Guiry is a role model for both practicing and future physicians in the art of medicine. Her leadership in establishing our clinical education program has not only provided invaluable hands-on experiences for medical students but also fostered a culture of collaborative learning and patient-centered care which will be her legacy.”

Dr. Guiry’s journey in medicine has been remarkable. Beginning as an army doctor stationed in Korea, her path led her to Foundation Medical Partners in 1995, where she initially served as a primary care physician in Family Practice in Milford. Drawn to our provider-run model and its emphasis on physician-driven decision-making, Dr. Guiry quickly became an integral part of the health system.

A defining chapter of Dr. Guiry’s career unfolded when she, alongside Paula O’Connell, director of operations, designed and implemented Southern NH Health’s first clinical rotation program in 2017 in partnership with the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNE COM). This initiative brings medical students to Southern NH Health, offering them invaluable hands-on experience and exposure to a variety of medical specialties.

Reflecting on the program’s beginnings, Dr. Guiry recalls introducing the program which was new to our system. Her determination and belief in the program’s potential transformed obstacles into opportunities. She remarks, “It was new to physicians in the system. Paula and I worked to demonstrate the opportunity and privilege. Working with medical students reminds you why you practice medicine in the first place.”

Central to Dr. Guiry’s vision is integrating students into the SNHH community, fostering a sense of belonging and investment in their learning environment. Students engage directly with patients across different medical disciplines, honing their clinical skills and embracing the osteopathic philosophy championed by UNE COM.

In Dr. Guiry’s words, “Medicine is a team sport.” She emphasizes the importance of understanding the diverse roles within a health care system, from providers to staff in all areas, including departments like radiology, labs, and pharmacy, emphasizing the collaborative nature of patient care. Through the program, students gain not only medical expertise but also a profound appreciation for interdisciplinary teamwork.

Dr. Guiry’s passion for teaching shines through in every aspect of her work. Whether guiding students through the “art of medicine” in clinical rotations or educating patients on their conditions and treatment options, she embodies compassionate care and effective communication. As Paula O’Connell explains, “Colleen is passionate about family health care. She is a respected physician in our community due to her clinical skills and collaborative nature. Our students benefit from seeing her model what a physician should be.”

As Dr. Guiry prepares for retirement, she leaves a legacy of excellence and a program poised for continued growth and innovation. While she looks forward to spending more time with her family and enjoying the outdoors, her impact on medical education and patient care will endure for years to come.