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Touchpoints WINTER • 2013
News about strengthening the relationship between patients and caregivers
Highlights: | New Rounds Sites Added | We are on target to reach 300 Schwartz Center Rounds sites across the U.S. early this year. PAGE 4
| Campaign for Compassionate Healthcare | We have an ambitious vision to make compassionate care a priority and standard for our country. PAGE 6
| Annual Dinner | The 17th Annual Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Healthcare Dinner brought together patients and caregivers to celebrate the human connection in healthcare. PAGE 8
Institute of Medicine President Kicks Off National Consensus Meeting Working group outlines actions to make compassionate care a priority They came from across the country and from every corner of the healthcare world: researchers, health policy experts, clinicians, educators, patients and family members. For two days in November, these national thought leaders and activists gathered in Boston for a singular purpose: to begin the hard work of creating a healthcare system that values, supports, teaches and rewards compassionate care. That hard work began with stories. In pairs, the 50 individuals who participated in the Schwartz Center’s National Consensus Project on Compassionate Healthcare Working Group Meeting shared deeply personal tales of compassionate care: the physician who broke hospital rules to ease a child’s fear, the nurse who delayed a procedure to reassure an anxious patient, the maintenance worker who returned a beloved stuffed animal that had been lost to a mother whose child had just died. (continued on page 2)
(continued from page 1)
Later, in larger groups, participants teased out the systemic factors that enabled these moments of human connection and healing to occur and came up with action steps in the areas of healthcare delivery, health policy, measurement and research, education, and public and professional awareness. The two days of storytelling, brainstorming and envisioning will provide the raw material for what the Schwartz Center is tentatively calling a “charter” – a vision statement that lays out what a compassionate healthcare system looks like and what system changes are necessary to turn that vision into reality. “The gathering was about more than brainstorming,” said Schwartz Center Medical Director Beth Lown, MD, the driving force behind the National Consensus Project.
Institute of Medicine President Dr. Harvey Fineberg giving the plenary address
“It was about the relationships that were formed during the meeting that we hope will become the basis of a national movement for compassionate healthcare.”
Dr. Fineberg then went on to outline the elements he believes are most critical to building a compassionate healthcare system: •
Time to experience the reality of compassion: “You cannot always be running to the next [thing]. The experienced clinician knows how to make every second count – how five minutes can feel like three seconds or an hour, depending on how you connect and what you do with the patient. But a setting that does not permit the time is not going to enable compassion.”
A physical environment conducive to connecting: “You have to have the quiet, the degree of privacy – the environment freed of unnecessary distraction in order for the feelings of empathy and sympathy and compassion to be expressed.”
A professional environment marked by respect: “The greatest inhibitor to individual caregivers showing compassion is that they themselves are disrespected, under stress, and not permitted to express their full professional engagement and responsibility. There has to be opportunity for caregivers to have an escape, to have their own humanity reaffirmed.”
An environment that counters the distancing of technology: “Before the stethoscope, the clinician literally had to lay the head on the chest of the patient. Now fast forward to robotic surgery. You can imagine how the advent of technology, which offers so much possibility, comes ineluctably with distancing. And so we need to be able to overcome that distancing.”
Creating Compassionate Clinicians and Systems At the plenary session that opened the meeting, Institute of Medicine President Harvey Fineberg, MD, PhD, asserted that while a healthcare system cannot be compassionate without caring clinicians, the jury is still out about how to teach compassion or whether it’s even possible to do so. “Can you learn from the experiences of others?” he asked. “Does it work through the hidden curriculum? Is it part of the cognitive curriculum? Do we teach it like you would teach biochemistry or you would teach patient interviewing? And if we want to teach it, how would we teach it as a cognitive experience?” Dr. Fineberg pondered whether compassion, as the Buddhists believe, is something that resides within each of us. “Is it our job then to eliminate the anger, envy, greed and other negative emotions that camouflage our compassion?” he asked.
“I would suggest that our best hope is that we can both elicit and teach compassion,” Dr. Fineberg concluded, “because I believe if we do not do a better job of identifying and eliciting compassion, then we have no hope of ever designing a health system that’s going to act in a compassionate way.” 2
(continued from page 2)
Insulation of the patient-caregiver relationship from the pressures of ﬁ nancing: “It’s not only about how the funding floats, because healthcare depends on funding, but how is the clinical experience arranged so that the reality of the economic surround does not intrude constantly on the experience of the patient and the clinician.”
Rules and procedures that reinforce the best of the compassionate care experience: “You can have rules about silence and lack of side conversations when you’re in the presence of the patient on rounds. You can have rules in place about systematic guidance – checklists and routines that protect safety and therefore enable compassionate care to be expressed.”
The Schwartz Center thanks the Amgen Foundation and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations for their generous support of the National Consensus Project on Compassionate Healthcare.
“In the end, a health system that gives compassionate care is a health system that is giving safe and high-quality care,” said Dr. Fineberg, whose organization is the nation’s leading authority on quality and safety. “It’s a health system that’s giving good value for the resources that are expended.” Next Steps Dr. Lown and other staff are now culling the best ideas from the working group meeting to begin the process of drafting a compassionate care charter. After receiving feedback from working group members and revising the document, Dr. Lown intends to circulate the final version widely, seek its endorsement by healthcare and advocacy organizations nationwide, and have it published. “We want to envision together what a compassionate healthcare system might look like and consider all of the many paths and practical action steps that we might take to get us there,” Dr. Lown told participants. “We want to become a chorus of voices, a social movement for change so that compassionate care becomes a professional norm and a public expectation.”
Schwartz Center Medical Director Dr. Beth Lown addressing the attendees
Among the organizations represented at the Working Group Meeting were: • American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation • American College of Physicians • American College of Surgeons • Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation • HHS Oﬃce of Health Reform
• Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care • The Joint Commission • National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems • National Center for Cultural Competence • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Schwartz Center Rounds Sites Grow as Need for Caregiver Support and Teamwork Increases Editor’s note: We are on target to reach 300 Schwartz Center Rounds sites across the U.S. early this year. Two of our newest sites, profiled in this article, exemplify the diversity of institutions that have adopted our signature program.
San Francisco General Hospital At San Francisco General Hospital’s first ever Schwartz Center Rounds session, the panel – composed of a medical interpreter, a psychologist and a nurse – presented a case in which a man had assaulted his wife and son, then killed himself. The psychologist, who had worked with the son in the aftermath, had never met the other two panelists. At the session, he told them that the son, whom they had cared for in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU), was thriving, offering them a sense of closure that had eluded them for years. The session spurred the PACU management to implement a new protocol that encourages staff to follow up on patients whose stays were particularly difficult – to help caregivers heal from these experiences. “We see people in the worst moments of their lives and then we never see them again,” said Blue Walcer, MPH, wellness innovator for San Francisco General’s Community Wellness Program and co-chair of the Schwartz Center Rounds planning committee. (Shieva Khayam-Bashi, MD, and David Elkin, MD, are the physician co-leaders.) “Now staff will be able to follow up on patients who had an impact on them instead of being left with a picture of just one terrible moment in a family’s life.” A 598-bed safety net hospital, UCSF teaching site and Level I Trauma Center, San Francisco General cares for many patients whose medical needs are complicated by poverty and violence. “The Schwartz Center provides an amazing opportunity to maintain our professionalism but also deal with the heart – the aspects of the work that affect us on a deeply personal level,” she said. So far feedback from staff has been excellent, according to Walcer. “We seem to have tapped into something that is really needed and appreciated.”
Duke University Hospital At her previous job at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, Lynn O’Neill, MD, had attended Schwartz Center Rounds and found them extremely valuable. So when her Duke colleague, Lynn Bowlby, MD, read a New York Times article about Rounds and suggested they bring them to Duke, Dr. O’Neill was enthusiastic. They both knew that a positive study of Rounds published in Academic Medicine would be an ace in the hole when it came time to convince skeptical colleagues. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University Hospital is a 924-bed academic tertiary care facility. “In an academic medical center, people speak a certain language,” said Dr. O’Neill. “When you can show them a scholarly article with data about the effect of Rounds, it provides fodder for the argument that this is valuable.” It was standing room only at Duke’s first Rounds session in September, which focused on the case of a frail, elderly patient whose family had instructed the ICU to resuscitate her at all costs, despite her caregivers’ belief that aggressive care would cause her undue suffering, a concern that came to pass. “Rounds have been very positively received,” said Dr. O’Neill. “And we’ve been very pleased with how many different disciplines have been involved. Over the course of three Rounds, we’ve had representation on the panels by doctors, nurses, a social worker, a physical therapist and a chaplain.” Hearing the perspectives of staff from different professions has been enlightening, especially for trainees, according to Dr. O’Neill. “The residents have commented that Rounds have increased their appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of healthcare,” she said.
Schwartz Center Board member Dr. Tom Lynch, head of the Yale Cancer Center, led the discussion at a recent Schwartz Center Rounds peer learning session in Boston. Peer learning sessions were held in Boston and Chicago in 2012.
In addition to Duke and San Francisco
General Hospital, 31 other healthcare organizations (see list at right) adopted the Schwartz Center Rounds program between May and December 2012.
Schwartz Center Senior Director of Programs Margie Stanzler at the Boston peer learning session
Schwartz Center Director of Programs Robb Johnson welcoming peer learning attendees
Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora, CO Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA Elmhurst Hospital Center, Elmhurst, NY Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare, Elmhurst, IL Erie County Medical Center, Buﬀalo, NY Griﬃn Hospital, Derby, CT Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates Kenmore Square, Boston, MA Holy Cross Hospital, Miami, FL Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH Kentucky Children’s Hospital, Lexington, KY Lankenau Medical Center, Wynnewood, PA Lasting Hope Recovery Center, Omaha, NE Lawrence General Hospital, Lawrence, MA Loyola University Health System, Maywood, IL Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, NJ NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY Norton Cancer Center, Louisville, KY Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital, Binghamton, NY Paoli Hospital, Paoli, PA Pekin Hospital, Pekin, IL Phelps Memorial Hospital Center, Sleepy Hollow, NY Reliant Medical Group, Worcester, MA Riddle Hospital, Media, PA Scott & White Hospital, Temple, TX Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA Sound Shore Medical Center of Westchester, New Rochelle, NY Syracuse VA Medical Center, Syracuse, NY University of California Irvine Healthcare, Orange, CA Wesley Long Community Hospital, Greensboro, NC Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT Yale-New Haven Hospital - Saint Raphael Campus, New Haven, CT
CAMPAIGN for compassionate
Funding Our Vision At our annual dinner in early November, nearly 2,000 people celebrated the launch of the Schwartz Center’s first-ever capital campaign. Campaign Chair Richard Walsh, president and CEO of Walsh Brothers, Inc., and a Schwartz Center Board member, announced that we have raised 64% of our $5 million goal – $3.2 million – from 77 donors (see insert). He was joined on stage by Honorary Campaign Co-Chairs and founding Schwartz Center Board members Ellen Cohen, who was married to Ken Schwartz, and Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. As outlined by Board President Richard Doherty and Executive Director Julie Rosen, our campaign will fund an ambitious plan to protect and preserve compassionate care for patients and families through a major expansion of our signature Schwartz Center Rounds program (see related article on page 4), the development of innovative new programs, and an ambitious new effort to make compassionate care a national priority, as exemplified by our National Consensus Project on Compassionate Healthcare (see cover story). Our vision is a healthcare system in which all patients receive compassionate care and all caregivers are supported by their healthcare organizations to provide it.
A Message from Our Campaign Chair Dear Friends of the Schwartz Center, You and I have much in common. We care about the quality of healthcare in our country, and we want all Americans to have access to the most compassionate care possible. And, frankly, after working in healthcare for many years, I want to ensure that clinicians get the support they need to deliver compassionate care. We all have our own healthcare stories – of keeping our children healthy and safe, dealing with our own illnesses and injuries, and caring for our aging parents. I was first drawn to the work of the Schwartz Center through my father, Jim Walsh. He and I started attending the annual dinner many years ago, and just as I took on the role of co-chairing the dinner, he became very ill. I watched him go in and out of the hospital, and I met many extraordinary caregivers – particularly his infusion nurse, Leah. His illness and passing were traumatic for me and for our family, but the compassionate care he received from Leah and others was beautiful to see. The company my family has run for over 100 years has given me a unique perspective on the thoughtful generosity of so many companies and individuals. I am eager to get to know more of you and to introduce the Schwartz Center to a new cadre of potential supporters. Alongside Ellen Cohen and Andrew Dreyfus and a core group of dedicated volunteers, we will reach our $5 million goal. We invite you to join us in this important endeavor. Sincerely,
Richard C. Walsh President and CEO, Walsh Brothers, Inc. Campaign Chair
healthcare 1. Schwartz Center Executive Director Julie Rosen 2. Schwartz Center Board Chair Richard Doherty
3. Campaign Chairs Ellen Cohen, Richard Walsh
and Andrew Dreyfus
Profile of Founding Campaign Donors Mark and Becky Levin “Compassionate care gave my mother 10 more years of life and then, ultimately, a death with dignity when the cancer returned,” says Becky Levin with great emotion. “As a result, my mother was able to see her granddaughter grow up and share an important part of my life with me. We were ready to give up, but my mother’s physician helped us to look at the diagnosis objectively and decide on an effective course of action. The time her doctor spent with us and the care and compassion she showed to us were true gifts that not only improved my mother’s quality of life but also the length of her life.” Becky, a Schwartz Center Board member, is passionate about compassion being a fundamental right. She believes that everyone deserves the same care and compassion her mother received. But she is also very concerned that the human connection in healthcare is being lost. She has been inspired to support our vision for the future with a significant personal donation, along with a pledge to raise $1 million from the biotech community. Becky and her husband, Mark Levin, are both executives in the biotech field. She founded one of the nation’s leading biotech recruitment firms, and he has led and invested in biotech companies for decades. By their own accounts, both are data-driven individuals in their professional lives. So, beyond their personal experiences, what has inspired them to support the Schwartz Center? Mark Levin sums it up this way: “What the Schwartz Center is doing is teaching caregivers to listen to their patients and integrate what they learn from them into their medical solutions. In the end, generations to come will benefit from this kind of ‘bedside to bench’ learning.”
Annual Dinner Raises $1.2 Million to Support Our Programs The 17th Annual Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Healthcare Dinner on November 8 drew nearly 2,000 healthcare leaders, practicing clinicians, patients and families to the Boston Convention Center for an evening that celebrated compassionate care and raised funds to support the Schwartz Center’s programs. This year’s dinner chairs were: Edward Bond, Jr., CEO of BOND; Jeanette Clough, president and CEO of Mount Auburn Hospital; Bob Coughlin, president and CEO of MassBio; Keith Pitts, vice chairman of Vanguard Health Systems; and John Scroope, vice president of CNA.
1. Dinner Chairs John Scroope, Bob Coughlin, Jeanette Clough, Ed Bond and Keith Pitts 2. Chris and Donna Ramsey with Board member Tom Sellers 3. Board member Peter Biagetti, Leadership Council member Ralph DiPisa, Board Vice Chair Lynn Wiatrowski and Board member and Leadership Council Co-Chair Tony Starr 4. Laura Mali-Astrue, Social Security Commissioner Mike Astrue and Board member Betsy Frawley 5. Board President Ellen Cohen with Dick Glovsky
6. Susan Dentzer of Health Aﬀairs, Dan Wolfson of the American Board of Internal
Medicine and Rich Baron of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation
1. 2012 Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award recipient Dr. John Zawacki 2. Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award recipients Cindy French (2008), John Zawacki (2012) and Vilma Barrios (2011) 3. 2012 Compassionate Caregiver Award Finalists Mark Puder, MD, of Boston Children’s Hospital; Mary Harris, RN, of Yale-New Haven Hospital; John Zawacki, MD, of UMass Memorial Medical Center; Kimberly Kelley, RN, of MetroWest Medical Center, and Konstantin Dragnev, MD, of DartmouthHitchcock Medical Center
“I believe compassion is a gift, which like the seed in the parable of the sower, can fall on a variety of soils which can be variably nurtured and produce 10, 20 or 100 fold.” - John Zawacki, MD The highlight of the evening was the awarding of the 2012 Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award® to John Zawacki, MD, a gastroenterologist at UMass Memorial Medical Center (see related story on page 12). The audience also heard from BJ Miller, a physician and triple amputee who serves as executive director of the Zen Hospice in San Francisco and spoke eloquently about the importance of compassion.
Save the Date!
18th Annual Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Healthcare Dinner Thursday, November 21, 2013 Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
“More than MRIs, more than ventilators, more than expertise, it is empathy that heals. This is not just a matter of bedside manner. This is essential. Honor compassion. Make it real. Make it the standard of care.” -BJ Miller, MD (left)
Our thanks to Sanofi Oncology and
Genzyme, a Sanofi company, for their generous support of the 2012 Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award®
The Schwartz Center thanks the following major corporate sponsors of the 2012 Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Healthcare Dinner: Champion $50,000-$99,999
CNA CRICO Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, PC Trustee $25,000-$49,999
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts BOND CVS Caremark – Minute Clinic Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Mount Auburn Hospital Partners HealthCare System, Inc. Tufts Health Plan Vanguard Health Systems Walsh Brothers, Inc. 9
Schwartz Center Happenings 2013 Grants Program The Schwartz Center is accepting letters of interest for its 2013 grants program, which will focus on maintaining and strengthening the continuity of compassionate patient-caregiver relationships within patient-centered medical homes. More information is available on the Schwartz Center’s website, www.theschwartzcenter.org under “Programs.” Letters of interest are due by February 15.
Fall Leadership Breakfast “Accountable Care Organizations and the Patient Experience” was the topic of our September Fall Leadership Breakfast moderated by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO and Schwartz Center Board member Eric Schultz. The program featured speakers from the five Massachusetts Pioneer ACOs who are leading the way in implementing this new healthcare delivery and payment model. Our thanks to Platinum Sponsor Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Silver Sponsor Press Ganey Associates, and Bronze Sponsors EMC and Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company – and to the Mandarin Oriental for hosting us.
Speaker Series Three innovative approaches to partnering with patients were presented at our October Speaker Series program sponsored by the Massachusetts Medical Society in collaboration with the Schwartz Center and CRICO. Featured were: the OpenNotes initiative that invites patients to review their clinicians’ visit notes; Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) being established by healthcare institutions to encourage greater patient and family involvement; and the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s PAIRS Program, which brings together medical students and early stage Alzheimer’s patients and their families.
New Board Member M. Lynn Buttolph, MD, PhD, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and clinical associate in psychiatry and staff psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital’s ObsessiveCompulsive Disorders Clinic, has joined the Schwartz Center Board of Directors. Dr. Buttolph is an internationally recognized expert on obsessive compulsive disorder.
Our Healthcare World With the elections behind us, it is now clear that the Affordable Care Act and its provisions to expand access, improve quality and control costs will continue to be the law of the land. The move toward accountable care organizations and value-based purchasing will likely accelerate over the next few years, and more of us will receive our care in something called a “patient-centered medical home.” So, what does it all mean? At its most simplistic, it means the continued consolidation of healthcare organizations into larger entities that can better absorb the financial risk of operating within budgets tied to performance. It means that care will increasingly be delivered by teams rather than by a single physician. For those with serious medical problems, it means more follow-up care to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and more questions and discussion about the value of certain drugs, tests and procedures. And for those who have never had health insurance before, it means having access to regular medical care for the first time. These changes are likely to have a dramatic impact on our healthcare system and on the patient-caregiver relationship. We know that the success of healthcare reform depends to a large extent on how well patients and caregivers work together to address some of the most intractable problems in healthcare today. Yet, in today’s changing healthcare environment, this relationship is at significant risk. Caregivers are under intense pressure, with increasing numbers of both physicians and nurses reporting symptoms of burnout. Patients don’t understand the importance of good communication and emotional support, and many consumers have come to expect impersonal and insensitive treatment on the part of healthcare providers and the healthcare system in general. For the more than 30 million uninsured Americans who are expected to have coverage for the first time, the question is whether there will be an adequate supply of clinicians to care for them and whether the care they receive will be compassionate and patient-centered. Because of their lack of experience with the healthcare system, these newly insured Americans may also be less skilled in asking for the compassionate care they need and deserve. In its most recent report, the Institute of Medicine notes that most clinicians “work diligently to provide high-quality, compassionate care to their patients. The problem is not that they are not working hard enough; it is that the system does not adequately support them in their work.” We couldn’t agree more. Through our Schwartz Center Rounds program and now through our National Consensus Project on Compassionate Healthcare and our Campaign for Compassionate Healthcare, we are focused not only on supporting individual caregivers, but transforming the healthcare system to make compassionate care a reality for each and every American.
Julie A. Rosen Executive Director
Mission Statement: To support and advance compassionate healthcare in which caregivers, patients and their families relate to one another in a way that provides hope to the patient, support to caregivers and sustenance to the healing process. Our operations are supported primarily by philanthropy. Please consider making a donation to the Schwartz Center by visiting our website, www.theschwartzcenter.org , and clicking the “Make a Donation” button at the top of the page.
Touchpoints The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare 205 Portland Street, 6th Floor Boston, MA 02114-2792 (617) 724-4746 www.theschwartzcenter.org Editor: Petra Langer Assistant Editor: Heather Olson Board of Directors Ellen R. Cohen, MSW, President Richard Doherty, Chair Lynn Wiatrowski, Vice Chair Clare Villari, Treasurer William A. Knowlton, Clerk Beverly A. Armstrong, JD, MBA Mimi Bartholomay, RN, MSN Peter A. Biagetti M. Lynn Buttolph, MD, PhD Andrew Dreyfus Betsy Pingree Frawley Ruth Kilduff, RN Becky Levin Thomas J. Lynch, MD Sharon McNally, ex oﬃcio Clare Midgley Britain W. Nicholson, MD Staff James Roosevelt, Jr. Julie A. Rosen, MMHS Eric Schultz Executive Director Thomas P. Sellers Tony Starr Karen Chretien, MMHS Rev. Judith Swahnberg Director of Corporate and Richard C. Walsh Foundation Relations Honorary Board Members Helene Feist Data Coordinator Carol Schwartz, MSW Elizabeth Hickman Eric Schwartz, MD Manager of Events and Marketing Legal Counsel Stephen M. Weiner, Esq. Tanya M. Holton Senior Director of Development Leadership Council Robb Johnson, MPH, MPA Sharon McNally, Co-Chair Director of Programs Tony Starr, Co-Chair Petra Langer Senior Director of Phillips Axten Communications Michael Berkowitz Beth A. Lown, MD Michael Blau Medical Director Nancy L. Cahners Pamela Mann, MSSA Joseph A. Chazan, MD Associate Director of Programs Andrea Cohen, MSW Susan Murphy, CPA Wendy K. Cohen, LICSW Director of Finance Laurie Cowan Mark DiNapoli Heather Olson Ralph DiPisa Program Manager Jon S. DuBois, MD Christina Parks Wendy Everett, ScD Campaign Coordinator Beth Freeman Marjorie Stanzler Glen Giovannetti Senior Director of Programs Liz Brody Gluck Matthew Surette Philip Johnston Staﬀ Assistant Charles Kireker Laurie Tellis Marie Kireker Systems Manager Richard Kobus Jeﬀrey L. Kraines, MD Special Advisors Richard Lynch Cathy Buch, MD Eliane Markoff Rounds Consultant Brooke Meltzer Joyce A. Murphy Pat Forman, MPH, MA Jennifer A. Pline Rounds Consultant Peter Resnick Tom Simons Joan M. Leiman, PhD Steve Sisselman Jeanie Ungerleider, LICSW Special Advisor in New York John Yozell Peter Zane
Thank you for your support. 11
A Caregiver’s Story: John Zawacki, MD In November at the Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Healthcare Dinner, John Zawacki, MD, a gastroenterologist at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, MA, received the 2012 Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award. John Zawacki grew up on the grounds of a Massachusetts state mental health institution where he learned compassion from his father, the assistant superintendent by day and a psychiatrist in private practice at night. “It was my father,” he says, “who taught me more than any other person what it means to be a physician.” As a child, he was taught to say “good night” to the patients waiting in the hallway of their home. “When I asked dad why people needed a psychiatrist, he said: ‘John, everyone needs a caring listener sometime in their lives.’” When John first expressed an interest in a medical career, his father placed him in the back wards of the state hospital to care for a group of men who were unable to care for themselves. “I washed and fed them every day for one summer,” he says. “The advice from dad was: ‘John, if you can do this, you can do anything.’” After graduating from Tufts Medical School as chief resident, Dr. Zawacki was offered a teaching position in Boston but chose to go to Worcester instead. For more than 30 years, he has cared for patients with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease, a difficult and painful condition sometimes associated with trauma and abuse. His ability to understand both the psychosocial and clinical aspects of care is evident in his many letters from patients. Says one, “I have come to know and completely trust Dr. Zawacki as a healer without equal. He is a compassionate man who gives tirelessly of himself and is an optimist for both of us even when all options conventional and clinical have been exhausted.” Dr. Zawacki comforts a patient
Dr. Zawacki on his wedding day with his father and family
Says another, “What I have enjoyed most about my relationship with Dr. Zawacki is that he sees me as a partner and not just a patient. He listens not only to my concerns but also my ideas and is willing to trust my judgment. I have never felt rushed in a visit with him, and he knows me as a person as well as a patient.” Dr. Zawacki has taught and mentored hundreds of medical students, residents and GI fellows. He often tells them, “As long as you share your feelings and have good intentions, the words will come. It [being a doctor] is not a scripted experience.” He says that the ability to connect with patients comes from “being comfortable with yourself, spiritually, emotionally and physically.” “Much of what I learned about being a physician, I learned from being around my dad who modeled for me every day the needed attributes: respect for others, caring, compassion, listening with both your mind and heart, and a willingness to journey with those who are ill. I hope I have honored him by trying to do the same.”
To view Dr. Zawacki’s acceptance speech at the dinner, please visit our website at www.theschwartzcenter.org and click “Videos” on the upper right navigation bar.