From an early age, James Feeney, MD, hospitalist at Highland Hospital understood that his father, Colin Feeney, MD, an Alameda Health System (AHS) provider was truly making a meaningful difference in people’s lives through an exceptional dedication to his patients at Highland Wellness and the medical intensive care unit (MICU) at the Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus.

“While I observed many of the hard aspects of my dad’s job, including the long hours and emotional toll, I also witnessed the deep connections he made with each of his patients and their families,” said Dr. James Feeney.

In fact, it was Dr. Colin Feeney’s strong bond with his patients that inspired his son to pursue medicine. “I first knew I wanted to be a doctor when I was in high school and my dad took me to the funeral of a patient he had cared for over many, many years,” shared Dr. James Feeney. “I saw firsthand the interaction between him and her family members. It opened my eyes to the human connections this job offers.”

While his father retired in 2020 as chief of the pulmonary and critical care division, Dr. Colin Feeney continues to serve as a services as needed (SAN) provider, working occasional weekends in the medical intensive care unit (MICU).

Over his 35 year career at AHS Dr. Colin Feeney dedicated his medical expertise to serving the most vulnerable patients in Alameda County. “I chose to come to AHS because this is where you can do the most good,” he said.

“Most times when you go to a doctor, the first question they ask is what type of insurance do you have, but at AHS the first questions we ask our patients are what brought you to the hospital and where does it hurt?,” he shared. “The focus is always on the individual person and how we can help them feel better.”

It was this approach to patient care that attracted Dr. James Feeney to follow in his father’s footsteps. He shared, “My father has modeled so many exceptional characteristics as a physician it was undoubtedly a daunting shadow to step into. He leaves no stone unturned during diagnostic workups and will fight tooth and nail to ensure that a patient gets the care he or she needs.”

That legacy of service continues today in the K-6 clinic at Highland Wellness, where Dr. James Feeney now provides primary care for many of his father’s former patients who represent multiple generations within families.

Upon learning of his impending retirement, Dr. Colin Feeney reassured his patients they would still have a Dr. Feeney to take care of them for years to come. “I told them they would be in great hands because my son is much smarter than me and much better looking,” he shared with a laugh.

Drs. Colin and James Feeney have more than medicine in common. They both share a passion for soccer and last year took a family trip to Australia for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. While at Montera Middle School in Oakland, Dr. Colin Feeney coached his son’s soccer team, and for several years he played alongside his son and daughter on a co-ed soccer team in Alameda.

Dr. Colin Feeney continues to be a cherished role model for his son both as a physician and in his personal life. “There is perhaps no better advocate or embodiment of the phrase ‘work hard, play hard’ than my father,” shared Dr. James Feeney. “While most at AHS will remember his tireless work ethic and endless energy, he also made ample time for our family. I have tried to strike that same balance the best I can in my own life because I think it’s incredibly important for all physicians.”

As Father’s Day approaches on June 16, we celebrate Drs. Colin and James Feeney for their ongoing contributions and collective approach to medicine, setting a gold standard for patient- and family-centered care at AHS.