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The Human Genome Project was a 13 year long international effort to map and sequence all of the genes in the human genome. Leading this ambitious endeavor was Dr. Francis Collins, who was also Director of the National Institutes of Health from 2009 to 2021. His work has had a far-reaching impact on our understanding of diseases and the development of new therapies. In addition to being one of the foremost physician scientists of our time, Dr. Collins is also well known for his bold defense of his Christian faith and for his steadfast promotion of dialogue between science and religion. His book, The Language of God, was an international bestseller. In this episode, Dr. Collins joins us to share his remarkable path in medicine, the origins and evolution of his faith, and his perspectives on the moral mission of medicine.In this episode, you will hear about:A close personal look at Dr. Collins’ career, leading to his directorship of the Human Genome Project - 1:56The mission and implications of the Human Genome Project - 10:02The cultural upheaval that has occurred during Dr. Collins’ lifetime and the way popular culture tends to pit science and faith against each other - 15:25The origin of BioLogos and its mission to foster a community that strives to harmonize science and Christian faith - 24:47A brief discussion of Intelligent Design, a movement that aims to prove the existence of God through science, and how it differs from BioLogos - 28:26Dr. Collins’ reflections on the reconciliation between his faith in God and the human suffering he has witnessed throughout his career - 32:42Advice on finding meaning and fulfillment in both life and work, and how community can help combat burnout - 40:38Dr. Francis Collins is the author of The Language of God  and the founder Biologos.org.Dr. Collins references The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewisas being particularly enlightening to his personal worldviewDr. Collins was recently interviewed by Science.org about his time leading the National Institutes of HealthVisit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
With around 63 million beneficiaries, Medicare is the single largest provider of health insurance in the United States, serving Americans aged 65 or older, as well as some younger patients who have certain disabilities. Directing this massive program is Dr. Meena Seshamani, an otolaryngologist and former Vice President of Clinical Care Transformation at MedStar Health, a large health care organization primarily operating in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. There, she led initiatives in palliative care, geriatrics, and community health. She has also served as Director of the Office of Health Reform at the US Department of Health and Human Services. In this episode, Dr. Seshamani discusses her path from surgeon to health policy leader, what draws her to caring for older adults, and her vision for a better, more sustainable health care of the future.In this episode, you will hear about:Dr. Seshamani’s enthusiasm for medicine at a young age and the diverse career trajectory that followed - 2:08A discussion of Dr. Seshamani’s past leadership roles, including those at the Office of Health Reform under the Obama administration and at MedStar Health - 6:27Balancing the need for clinicians to work collaboratively and the inclination of physicians to value autonomy - 10:20An explanation of Medicare’s role in the US healthcare ecosystem - 14:51What draws Dr. Seshamani to focus on the care of older adults - 17:39The crisis of burnout in the medical profession and Dr. Seshamani’s vision for how this can be addressed - 21:00The fee-for-service mechanism of healthcare reimbursement, accountable care relationships, and the value of preventative care - 25:33The pay disparity between specialists and primary care physicians, and the role Medicare can play - 30:40How the growing population of aging Americans impacts the future sustainability of the Medicare program - 38:41How Medicare is reforming its allocation of resources to promote health equity - 42:02Dr. Seshamani’s advice to students and clinicians on engaging in meaningful work as they advance in their careers - 48:24In this episode, we discuss the speech “Cowboys and Pit Crews” by Atul Gawande, published in the New Yorker.You can follow Dr. Seshamani on Twitter @DrMeenaSeshVisit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
Pediatric neurosurgeons manage some of the most complex diseases in children, operating on the delicate and precious organ that makes us essentially human. Dr. Jay Wellons is Chief of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the author of All That Moves Us, a memoir that offers an intimate and gripping account of the triumphs, terrors, joys, and pathos he encounters on a daily basis. In this episode, Dr. Wellons joins us to discuss his path to neurosurgery by way of English literature and family medicine, his faith as an anchor amidst his challenging work, and reflections on what the human dramas involving the most vulnerable children he has cared for has taught him about resilience, courage, and grace under pressure.In this episode, you will hear about:A discussion of the range of procedures pediatric neurosurgeons perform - 1:58How a fascination with neuroanatomy drew Dr. Wellons into neurosurgery, and how his literary studies have impacted his patient care - 3:58The origin of Dr. Wellons’ book All That Moves Us and his experiences with a personal health crisis - 8:59What it is like to operate on one of the most intricate and delicate parts of the human body - 18:00How Dr. Wellons deals with the weight of unsuccessful procedures, and how he carries on - 27:51Forming relationships with the families of very young and often very ill patients - 31:12A discussion of spiritual faith and its place in the life of a surgeon who sees so much tragedy - 35:27Dr. Wellons’ advice to students, trainees, and clinicians on how to stay connected and hopeful in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges - 40:52Dr. Wellons is the author of a book All That Moves Us: A Pediatric Neurosurgeon, His Young Patients, and Their Stories of Grace and Resilience, as well as the article “How the Summer Camp Doctor Earned His Stripes ” for Garden & Gun magazine.You can follow Dr. Jay Wellons on Twitter @JayWellons5Visit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
On New Year's Eve of 2020, at the age of 29, Katie Coleman was diagnosed with metastatic renal oncocytoma, a type of kidney cancer so rare that she is the only known case in the United States and one of only a handful around the world. The sheer uniqueness of her situation resulted in a prolonged course of prognostic and therapeutic uncertainty. Thanks to the work of oncologists at the National Cancer Institute and MD Anderson Cancer Center, Katie is now in remission. Today, she is a patient advocate who passionately supports other patients through their cancer journeys. In this episode, Katie joins us to share her incredible story, her experiences with grief, uncertainty, and hope, and her lessons learned on finding joy and meaning in life.In this episode, you will hear about:Katie’s backstory and the events leading up to her diagnosis - 1:50The experience of being diagnosed with one of the rarest cancers in the world - 3:58How Katie’s oncologists discussed this unusual diagnosis with her - 10:42The experience of receiving treatment with the goal of prolonging life, rather than curing the disease - 13:06How co-host Dr. Tyler Johnson communicates issues of serious illness with his patients - 15:38How the uncertainty around a terminal cancer prognosis impacts the way patients approach living their lives - 22:21How Katie’s changing prognoses have altered her life plans - 28:53The wisdom on living well one gains from facing a life-limiting illness - 34:32Lessons on hope in the face of uncertainty - 39:55The various ways clinicians can open up and connect with their patients on a human level - 44:14Katie’s story has been profiled by the National Cancer Institute, NBC News, and the Today Show.You can follow Katie on Twitter @KayDAustinKatie is also an active content creator and patient advocate on Youtube, TikTok, and Instagram.Visit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
Technological advancements have enabled us to accomplish medical miracles through novel medical devices, algorithms, and digital tools. At the same time, the exponential entanglement of tech with healthcare has led many clinicians to feel disconnected from the human element of medicine. Here to discuss this conundrum is Dr. Bryant Lin, the director of Medicine and the Muse, the medical humanities program at Stanford Medical School, and a mechanical engineer by training who focuses on medical device development. Dr. Lin also conducts research in Asian population health and is the cofounder of Stanford’s Consultative Medicine Clinic, which evaluates patients with medical mysteries. In today’s episode, Dr. Lin shares his unique perspective at the crossroads of technology and the humanities, and discusses how storytelling can be a powerful instrument to keep physicians grounded in what truly matters for their patients.In this episode, you will hear about:How an early interest in engineering led Dr. Lin to medicine - 1:42A poignant letter Dr. Lin received from one of his long-term aging patients that reaffirms why his medical career is meaningful - 4:10A discussion of how medical bureaucratization has stolen away much of the human connection that underpins fulfilling medical work - 7:39How Medicine and the Muse, the medical humanities program at Stanford, helps clinicians connect with the meaning in medicine - 12:40What Dr. Lin hopes to achieve through teaching medical humanities to future clinicians - 25:45How storytelling helps healthcare providers better connect with their patients - 27:28How Dr. Lin integrates storytelling into medical device design, and why it is imperative to not allow technology to distance physicians from their patients - 31:24Dr. Lin manages the forthcoming digital medical humanities newsletter Panacea Health. Visit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
Dr. Rana Awdish was on the last day of her critical care medicine training when her life changed forever. Seven months pregnant at the time, Dr. Awdish abruptly found herself in a life threatening crisis when a previously undiagnosed liver tumor suddenly ruptured. She was rushed to the ICU of her own hospital, where she came unimaginably close to death multiple times. Despite this tragic event, she survived thanks to the incredible work of her medical team. Today, Dr. Awdish is the author of the acclaimed memoir In Shock, which recounts her time as an ICU patient. She is also the Medical Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Program at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and Medical Director of Care Experience for the Henry Ford Health System. In this episode, she shares what she has learned from her experiences about compassion, hope, and improving empathetic communication in health care. In this episode, you will hear about:How a family ailment inspired Dr. Awdish to pursue a medical career - 2:10An riveting personal account of the catastrophic medical event that befell Dr. Awdish - 4:17A discussion of the learning curve in medicine and the need to create safe spaces for physicians to admit ignorance - 12:13The fascinating and unsettling experience of being a highly-trained physician and a critically-ill patient at the same time, and how this experience showed her the way our current medical culture disempowers patients - 15:17Dr. Awdish’s reflections on the antagonistic environment of her prolonged hospital stay - 20:19A discussion of hope, concept often misunderstood by physicians as running counter to realistic expectations - 27:37The intense and unexpected role of spirituality in Dr. Awdish’s critical care experience - 32:14Navigating the medical profession while confronting suffering and not burning out - 34:37A discussion of Dr. Awdish’s profound essay The Shape of the Shore about the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Detroit - 37:36Dr. Awdish’s advice to new physicians and students to help them stay connected to their work and to see the humanity in their patients - 44:33Dr. Rana Awdish is the author of:In Shock: My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope, a memoir about the harrowing events discussed in this episode and the revelations she attained by going through them.The Shape of the Shore, an essay about working in the ICU during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic.Dr. Johnson mentions the essay The Learning Curve by Dr. Atul Gawande.Follow Dr. Awdish on Twitter @RanaAwdish.Visit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
Imagine showing up for work every day for a year, knowing full well that each day you risk contracting a potentially devastating disease with unknown long-term consequences. That's exactly what Dr. Thomas Fisher went through, as he documents vividly in his recent book, The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago E.R., which delves into what it was like fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines in 2020. Dr. Fisher, an emergency physician at the University of Chicago Medical Center, former healthcare executive, and former White House Fellow, has dedicated his life to caring for his community, the black population of Chicago's South Side. In this episode, he recounts harrowing stories from the emergency room, gives an impassioned critique of a health care system with too little space for doctors to provide the care their patients need, and shares a renewed vision of healthcare as a foundation of social justice.In this episode, you will hear about:What motivated Dr. Fisher to write his book, The Emergency, a riveting first-hand account of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic - 2:09The uncertainty and terror physicians faced at very beginning of the pandemic - 5:29An intimate picture of how emergency physicians approached the first COVID-19 patients - 9:45How an upbringing in Chicago’s South Side propelled Dr. Fisher into a career in healthcare, and how the reality of inequitable systems has shaped his medical practice - 13:10A discussion of the concept of “heroism” in the context of frontline healthcare workers - 20:35How Dr. Fisher used letters addressed to patients as a narrative device in his book to explore social injustices that affect individual health - 30:50Dr. Fisher’s reflections on maintaining a connection to the meaning of his work despite the seemingly insurmountable systemic challenges that he recognizes - 35:57Practical advice for clinicians on making space for patient care within a rushed healthcare environment - 42:28Dr. Fisher is the author of The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago E.R.Follow Dr. Fisher on Twitter @TFisherMD.Visit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
What is it like to comfort patients in the moments before they surrender consciousness to undergo surgery? What can the humanities teach us about being present for a patient when they are at their most vulnerable? As an anesthesiologist and founding director of Medicine and the Muse, Stanford Medicine’s health humanities program, Dr. Audrey Shafer has spent her career pondering and addressing these questions. In this episode, Dr. Shafer discusses how her exploits in the humanities have shaped her career in medicine, gives us an intimate and vivid picture of the vital work anesthesiologists do, and shares what her recent personal experiences with cancer have taught her about what it means to truly care for patients.In this episode, you will hear about:How growing up in an artistic household initially pushed Dr. Shafer away from the arts and toward a medical career - 1:51Why Dr. Shafer chose to become an anesthesiologist - 5:51Dr. Shafer’s discovery of the medical humanities and how she would later create the first program of its type at Stanford Medicine - 8:57A discussion of what the medical humanities are and a defense of its value - 12:00Reflections on the profound privilege of being an anesthesiologist and a medical educator - 17:45A behind-the-scenes look at an anesthesiologist’s work - 25:02Dr. Shafer’s recent cancer diagnosis and her treatment journey - 34:29Advice for clinicians and medical students about seeing patients’ illnesses within the greater context of their lives - 41:15Follow Dr. Shafer on Twitter @AudreyShafer.You can peruse the Literature Arts & Medicine magazine here.Visit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
Born with hemophilia in a time before effective therapies existed and having experienced treatment complications including hepatitis C and HIV, Dr. Eric Winer spent much of his childhood and young adulthood in and out of the hospital. Today, he is the Director of Yale Cancer Center and President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the largest organization of clinicians caring for cancer patients. An internationally renowned expert in breast cancer, his research has immensely impacted how breast cancer is now treated. In this episode, Dr. Winer shares his path to oncology and his insights from being a lifelong patient on stigma, compassion, and empathy.In this episode, you will hear about:How growing up with hemophilia led Dr. Winer to the field of medicine - 1:50The patient that cemented Dr. Winer’s dedication to oncology as his life’s work - 7:55Dr. Winer’s reflections on how his experiences as a patient shape his work as a doctor - 12:52Facing the reality of caring for patients with terminal illness - 18:21How Dr. Winer grounds the care he provides in the humanism of each patient - 23:49Dr. Winer’s mission and vision as president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology - 25:49How leading by example is critical to cultivating a strong, respectful, and collaborative institutional culture - 31:02Dr. Winer’s advice to medical students and new clinicians on maintaining a connection to meaningful work - 33:12Visit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
Our modern world grants us unprecedented access to high-reward, high-dopamine stimuli—not just drugs, but also food, news, shopping, sex, gaming, social media, gambling, and more. But psychiatrist Dr. Anna Lembke argues that this society-wide overindulgence in pleasure threatens to lead us to deeper pain. Dr. Lembke is the director of the Addiction Medicine Service at Stanford Medicine and is the author of two bestselling books, Dopamine Nation and Drug Dealer, MD. As one of the first doctors to sound the alarm on the opioid epidemic in America, she's an expert on the issue and has advised policymakers at the highest levels of government. In this episode, Dr. Lembke describes her work treating all kinds of addiction, discusses her deep concern with the overconsumption of pleasure in our culture, and shares what we can all do to renew meaning and connectedness in our lives through balancing pain and pleasure.In this episode, you will hear about:What first drew Dr. Lembke to a medical career and how she initially discovered psychiatry - 2:13Why Dr. Lembke dedicates herself to addiction medicine, and how her philosophy can help others find meaningful work - 9:16The historical shift, with the advent of the opioid epidemic, to understanding addiction as a medical condition instead of a moral or personal failing - 12:53Reframing addiction as a medical diagnosis and approaching patients facing addictive disorders with compassion - 17:58How flaws in contemporary medical practice and misaligned incentives for doctors contributed to the opioid crisis - 24:15A discussion of Dr. Lemke’s book Dopamine Nation, including how easy access to pleasure causes addictagenic responses in nearly every aspect of our lives - 29:32How humans can reconnect with meaning despite living in a culture that often substitutes meaning with cheap pleasure - 34:15Dr. Lembke’s advice to all clinicians for how to better connect with patients - 45:20Tyler refers to the essay “I Used to be a Human Being” by Andrew Sullivan.Visit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
What happens when miscommunication between a doctor and patient leads to intractable conflict? What happens when a patient requests an intervention a doctor does not feel ethically comfortable with? In the toughest of situations, doctors turn to the clinical ethicist for help. Dr. David Magnus, an internationally regarded leader in clinical ethics, is the director of the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Bioethics, and former president of the Association of Bioethics Program Directors. In this episode, Dr. Magnus shares lessons learned from the most ethically ambiguous scenarios he has managed, the importance of ethical thinking skills for all clinicians, and the difficulties inherent in clinician-patient communication.In this episode, you will hear about:What it’s like to be a clinical ethicist, handling the tough ethical questions doctors call on them to resolve - 5:05How an ethicist determines what is “right” in a given circumstance - 9:10How Dr. Magnus’ deals with patients who refuse to accept his recommendations for care - 11:33Dr. Magnus’s journey from professor of philosophy to leading thinker on medical ethics - 14:00How the intense specialization of modern medicine may be contributing to clinician burnout - 23:31How misinterpretation of language can be a major barrier to good health care - 32:25Why clinicians use “hedge language” and “shield attributions” and how they can dramatically alter a patient’s understanding of their situation - 40:46Dr. Magnus’s advice to new clinicians on cultivating skills in ethical thinking and responsible patient communication - 50:45Learn more about the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities here.Visit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
As former CEO of the Permanente Medical Group, Dr. Robert Pearl was responsible for the work of 50,000 healthcare workers and the medical care of 5 million Americans through Kaiser Permanente hospitals across the country. A leading expert on healthcare management and strategy, Dr. Pearl is the author of two bestselling books, “Mistreated: Why We Think We’re Getting Good Healthcare–And Why We’re Usually Wrong” and “Uncaring: How the Culture of Medicine Kills Doctors and Patients,” a regular contributor to Forbes, and the host of several popular medical podcasts. He is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, clinical professor at Stanford Medicine, and lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In this episode, Dr. Pearl shares his thoughts on why American healthcare is failing not only patients but also physicians, and what we can do to address inherent problems in the culture of medicine.In this episode, you will hear about:Dr. Pearl’s journey to a career in plastic surgery - 2:13Grappling with complications that arise during surgery - 9:40Dr. Pearl’s transition from surgeon to CEO of the Permanente Medical Group - 12:49The mission that Dr. Pearl brought to his role as CEO and how he implemented that mission - 17:21How Dr. Pearl paved a path for increasing both the quality of care and physician satisfaction, while keeping costs low, and why so often these goals seem at odds with each other - 20:32The toxic culture of denial in medicine and why it is killing doctors and patients - 27:45How status and compensation disparity contributes to physician burnout, and what to do about it - 35:47Dr. Pearl’s administrative strategy that led Kaiser Permanente to much success during his tenure as CEO - 43:08Dr. Pearl’s advice to physicians on how to stay connected and empowered in their careers - 46:38Dr. Robert Pearl is:Author of two books: Mistreated: Why We Think We’re Getting Good Healthcare - And Why We’re Usually Wrong; and Uncaring: How the Culture of Medicine Kills Doctors & Patients, with all proceeds going to Doctors Without BordersA frequent contributor to Forbes Magazine The host of two podcasts: Fixing Healthcare and Coronavirus: The TruthFind more information at RobertPearlMD.com or follow Dr. Pearl on Twitter @RobertPearlMDVisit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
As the real-life inspiration for and medical consultant to the popular TV show "House, M.D.," journalist-turned-physician Dr. Lisa Sanders has played quite the role in elevating the prestige and drama of medical diagnosis. For the past 20 years, Dr. Sanders has written a column in the New York Times titled "Diagnosis," in which she discusses bizarre and fascinating medical cases. In 2019, this column was turned into a Netflix documentary series of the same name. She has garnered much acclaim for presenting the process of diagnosis as a detective story, rather than the rote recall of a set of facts and figures. Dr. Sanders joins us in this episode to speak about her remarkable career path, her work, and how storytelling contributes to patient healing.In this episode, you will hear about:Dr. Sanders’ career prior to medicine as a TV journalist and how it influenced her path as a physician - 1:59Dr. Sanders’ revelation about diagnosis as detective work and how she developed her passion for it - 4:59Being part of the handful of “weirdos” that Yale Medical School admits every year, and combating imposter syndrome - 7:14Dr. Sanders’ reflections on the how money-making impacts physician burnout and how the burden of choice in medical career paths may lead to a sense of disconnect - 12:39Medical diagnosis itself as a kind of healing, allowing patients to contextualize their circumstances within their personal narratives - 18:05Dr. Sanders’ best-practices on communicating with patients - 29:03The methodology of solving and describing medical mysteries - 32:10Challenges and opportunities in eliciting and listening to patient stories - 42:16Dr. Sanders’ hope that the human dimension of medicine does not get displaced by the technical dimension, and why storytelling is integral to patient healing - 46:41Dr. Lisa Sanders is the author of several books, including Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis (2009), andDiagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries (2019)She writes a column for the New York Times called Diagnosis, which can be found archived hereFollow Dr. Sanders on Twitter @LisaSandersmdVisit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
When actress and playwright Ellen Dunphy — then a robustly-healthy 33-year old — first met co-host Dr. Tyler Johnson in early 2020, they were filming an educational video teaching doctors how to discuss terminal illnesses with patients. Six months later, in a twist of fate, upon receiving a terminal diagnosis of gastric cancer, Ellen learned that Dr. Johnson would be her oncologist — for real this time. In this poignant episode, Ellen candidly shares her experiences from the moment she received her diagnosis to how she has subsequently grappled with grief, and discusses how this has fueled the creation of a play about her cancer journey. This is a rare occasion of conversation and reflection between a dying patient and her doctor on what matters most in medicine.We note with sadness that Ellen passed away peacefully on July 4, 2022, surrounded by people who loved her.In this episode, you will hear about:The circumstances that first brought Ellen and Dr. Johnson together - 1:38Ellen and Tyler’s second meeting, under drastically different yet parallel circumstances - 5:03What it was like for both Ellen and Dr. Johnson at the moment her diagnosis was delivered - 7:24What was surprising to Ellen about going through cancer treatment - 13:24Ellen’s advice to medical professionals in light of her own treatment journey - 16:40Ellen’s reflections on the process of writing her play about receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis - 21:12The meaning of medicine, as seen by Ellen - 27:45Ellen’s advice to all patients on the importance of advocating for oneself - 29:00Ellen’s one-woman play “Imaginary Endings” about facing her cancer diagnosis can be viewed on YouTube.Visit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
Essayist Emily Maloney offers a wholly unique vantage point when it comes to American healthcare. At 19 years old, a suicide attempt landed Emily in the hospital for an extended stay, which then saddled her with a massive 5-figure load of unexpected medical bills. In an attempt to pay off her debt, Emily became an emergency room technician and began working in the very same system that was crippling her financial life. In today’s episode, Emily discusses her experiences as both patient and caregiver, and shares her insights on the true cost – financial and personal – that the flawed US medical system exerts on everyone involved, from patients to physicians.  In this episode, you will hear about:Emily’s motivation for writing her recently published book of essays, “Cost of Living”  - 2:33How finding herself in suffocating medical debt changed Emily’s life  - 10:24Why the true costs of medical interventions are impossible to know under the current system -  18:20What drew Emily into the medical profession despite her negative experiences as a patient - 24:43Emily’s ideas on how healthcare in the US should be reformed - 37:28Emily is the author of the essay collection “Cost of Living”Follow Emily on Twitter @emilyfmaloneyVisit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
As the founding medical director of Palliative Care Services at Stanford Hospital, Dr. Stephanie Harman is no stranger to death and grief. In this episode, she shares the story of how she discovered palliative care through the death of someone close and what it looks like to transform what are often the moments of greatest patient suffering into moments of profound meaning and humanism. In addition to her palliative care work, Dr. Harman is a clinical associate professor of medicine, a co-chair of the Stanford Health Care Ethics Committee, and Associate Chair for the Women in Medicine initiative in Stanford’s Department of Medicine.In this episode, you will hear about: How PBS, zebrafish, and comparative literature influenced Dr. Harman’s decision to enter medicine - 3:08How the death of someone close propelled Dr. Harman into palliative care and informs her philosophical focus on honoring a patient’s values and wishes - 8:09Why Dr. Harman felt drawn to a medical specialty that so often deals with the most painful part of medicine: witnessing patients dying - 15:53How Dr. Harman had to advocate for the legitimacy and dignity of palliative medicine, despite being told it was “a waste of her career” - 19:18How Dr. Harman processes the emotional weight of her chosen field with preventive and supportive measures - 22:20A discussion of how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced public and personal conversations about grief to the forefront - 27:24Dr. Harman’s vision for the future of medicine, and specifically the broader adoption of palliative care services - 33:33Dr. Harman’s advice to new medical professionals and students - 38:49You can follow Dr. Harman on Twitter @Steph_HarmanMDVisit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
Dr. Victoria Sweet is a prize-winning author, medical historian, and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. She is the author of two bestselling books: “God's Hotel,” which details her time as a doctor in the last almshouse in the United States, and “Slow Medicine,” a memoir that outlines her approach to medicine as both a craft and art. In this episode, Dr. Sweet discusses why she reframes the doctor-patient relationship from one of a mechanic repairing a machine, to one of a gardener tending to her plants. Through vivid stories of her remarkable experiences, she illustrates how combining insights of premodern medicine with advances of modern health care can lead to better healing.In this episode, you will hear about: How the writings of Carl Jung drew Dr. Sweet to medicine - 2:18The story of how a resourceful nurse and a stubborn patient taught Dr. Sweet what it meant to be “a real doctor” - 9:36The origin of the Slow Medicine movement and how it shapes Dr. Sweet’s approach to patient care - 16:19The Philosophy of the Minimum and why examining side effects and placebo groups is critical to delivering the best patient care - 22:03Dr. Sweet’s time at Laguna Honda Hospital, the “last almshouse in the United States”, and what she learned about healing from the slower pace of that hospital - 27:07How studying medieval figures like Hildegard of Bingen influenced Dr. Sweet’s appreciation for premodern medicine and how she pairs it with modern medicine - 33:58Dr. Sweet’s advice for clinicians facing the mounting challenges of the modern corporate medical landscape - 40:02Dr. Sweet is the author of God’s Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine and Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing.Dr. Sweet discusses the influence of Carl Jung’s memoir Memories, Dreams, and ReflectionsVisit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
Dr. Pamela Kunz is the Director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers at Yale Medicine. For 19 years, she was at Stanford University, most recently serving as Director of the Stanford Neuroendocrine Tumor Program. But in 2020, Dr. Kunz announced her departure, citing years of gender discrimination, microaggressions, and harassment. In this episode, Dr. Kunz opens up about the challenges she faced, how she overcame them, and how she now taps into a clear-eyed awareness of her values to lead health care settings that empower underrepresented individuals and to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in academic medicine.In this episode, you will hear about: How Dr. Kunz’s science-filled childhood led her to a career in medicine, and why she took on the daunting task of treating cancer patients - 2:21What it is like to build relationships with patients who have life-limiting cancer diagnoses - 7:25Dr. Kunz’s past struggles working in a toxic environment due to constant disrespect and denigration based on her gender - 12:18How leadership coach Rebecca Merrill (our guest on Episode 7) helped Dr. Kunz realize why she was so unhappy in her work and what she could do about it - 16:15The development of Dr. Kunz as an advocate of diversity, equity, and inclusion in academic medicine - 18:48Dr. Kunz’s advice for women and other underrepresented individuals going into medicine on preparing against potential hostility in their chosen careers, and how to create a “tapestry” of mentors - 22:01How Dr. Kunz addresses her own burnout, and how seeing oneself as an advocate can be a tool to self-empowerment - 32:25 The advice Dr. Kunz would give to her past self if she could go back in time - 41:02Dr. Kunz mentions the book “Dare to Lead” by Brené Brown as being especially transformational in her journey to overcome challenges in the workplace.Follow Dr. Kunz on Twitter @PamelaKunzMDVisit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
A former dean of Stanford Medical School and past leader at the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Phil Pizzo is as renowned for his groundbreaking research on childhood cancers and immunodeficiency as he is for his promotion of medical education. He is also a tireless scholar who continues pursuing knowledge and purpose deep into what many would consider the retirement years. In this episode, Dr. Pizzo shares what caring for children with some of the most harrowing diseases has taught him about courage, and how his creation of Stanford’s Distinguished Careers Institute epitomizes his vision for longevity and philosophy of lifelong learning.In this episode, you will hear about: How Dr. Pizzo’s love of learning and objection to the Vietnam War led him to a career in medicine - 2:00Teddy, a “boy in the bubble” whom Dr. Pizzo cared for and who profoundly shaped Dr. Pizzo’s career and life philosophy - 5:54Leaning into the work of treating severe diseases, despite the realities of the deep suffering involved - 14:46The guiding principles behind Dr. Pizzo’s time in leadership at the National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, and Stanford Medical School - 20:01How Dr. Pizzo manages to maintain tranquility of mind and buoyancy of spirit over his long career, and why he created the Distinguished Careers Institute - 22:51The surprising next step in Dr. Pizzo’s scholarly journey - 30:42Dr. Pizzo’s advice to young people about the value of a habit of lifelong learning - 34:40Read more about Teddy DeVita, the “boy in the bubble” whom Dr. Pizzo cared for, in this Washington Post article.Visit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.Copyright The Doctor’s Art Podcast 2022
Dr. Abraham Verghese is a prolific writer and revered physician who has deeply contemplated the philosophical underpinnings of the practice of medicine. He is renowned as an advocate for the importance of bedside examination and physical diagnosis, and his best-selling books probe the intricacies of human connection in the context of healthcare. In this episode, Dr. Verghese discusses how maintaining a literary life has impacted his approach to doctoring, why the human touch still matters for healing in our increasingly digital age, and his vision of the future of medicine.In this episode, you will hear about: How Dr. Verghese’s love of literature influenced his decision to enter medicine  - 2:39Reflections on the challenges of contemporary medicine - 7:51How physical exams can be seen as a ritual for “reading the body like a book” - 10:07Dr. Verghese’s perspective on the future of doctor-patient relationships given the rise of telemedicine and other technologies - 20:36Balancing the need to connect with each patient for their treatment, while being responsible for so many at once - 26:23How the craft of writing relates to medicine for Dr. Verghese - 31:50The counterintuitive diagnostic efficiency of taking the time and care to meet patients where they are at - 35:45Dr. Verghese is the author of three books:My Own Country (1994) - traces the story of young Dr. Verghese in the mid-1980s in Johnson City, Tennessee, who began to treat patients with a then unknown disease, HIV.The Tennis Partner (1999) - Dr. Verghese writes of his experience moving to El Paso in the midst of an unraveling marriage. There, he meets and becomes a mentor to David Smith, a medical resident at the hospital and a brilliant tennis player recovering from drug addiction.Cutting for Stone (2009) - a novel about twin brothers, orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and forsaken by their father.The book that Dr. Verghese credits as having inspired him to pursue medicine is Of Human Bondage (1915), by William Somerset Maugham - Available for free Follow Dr. Verghese on Twitter @cuttingforstone and visit his website AbrahamVerghese.org.Visit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review our show, available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you know of a doctor, patient, or anyone working in health care who would love to explore meaning in medicine with us on the show, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments or send an email to info@thedoctorsart.com.
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