Barry P. Simmons, MD

To: Barry P. Simmons, M.D.

By: Peter M. Waters, M.D. | Dedication, 2012-13 PDF

Barry P. Simmons. Even his name reveals the contrasts that highlight his uniqueness. The informal Barry punctuated with the formal middle initial P. Similar to the seeming disconnect of a classic bow tie, kaki pants and comfortable clogs he often wears to work. Completely relaxed with a dignified Ivy touch. Barry’s distinctive approach has always been fresh air to the HCORP residents. Dial it down a notch in terms of anxiety and pressure; dial it up a notch in terms of expectations for learning and surgical skill development. Embrace the people around you in a fun and warm way, but be prepared to be serious and professional with patients and staff. The ebb and flow of calmness, humor, and connection that defines the temperament of Barry’s service results in high quality care and has helped attract many Harvard residents to careers in hand surgery.


Barry grasped a vision a long time ago that hand surgeons should involve care of the entire upper limb. Brachial plexus to finger tip. He built a hand and upper limb program reflecting that vision with mostly cooperative, and occasionally competitive, efforts with the arthroplasty, trauma and sports teams. Fortunately, his chair at the Brigham and Women’s, Tom Thornhill, and counterpart at the Children’s Hospital, Jim Kasser, helped guide the growth of varied, high level expertise within and amongst all the teams. The present faculty of the Harvard Hand and Upper Limb Service are the reality of Barry’s foresight and leadership. Our program is most highly regarded nationally and has the good fortune to select from the best of candidates. Much of the credit goes to Barry for his ability to attract and nourish talent. However, even with high level expertise and complex care,, Barry always made it a priority to be certain the fellows and faculty knew the importance of the residents on rotation and their surgical role. Residents on service were well taken care of.


The residents and fellows have always been most important professionally to Barry. The time he spends reviewing applications in minute detail; talking with each candidate on interview day in an engaging and thorough way; and, being certain the applicants that match here will fit in seamlessly with his and our teams. That is magnified by the care Barry takes of the residents on service and the fellows during their year with us. His social leadership is exemplary and reflected by his legendary dinners in his home with laughter, conversation and Laura’s fabulous meals and garden tours. We all have been lucky for his tutelage.


Barry Simmons, M.D., Dedication, OJHMSFinally, although his patients, the HCORP residents, and the Harvard Hand Surgery fellows are Barry’s professional priorities, he never lost sight of his greatest priority: the love of his life Laura, their three daughters Quincy, Sara, Molly, and their expanding families. Barry’s devotion to his family has been a guiding light of commitment to life beyond the walls of the hospital. It is an honor to write this dedication to my mentor in hand surgery, Barry P. Simmons MD.


Peter M. Waters, M.D.

2013 Harvard Orthopaedic Journal