Nav: Home

Rochester mindfulness expert writes book on humanity in medicine

January 25, 2017

Ronald Epstein, M.D., a University of Rochester Medical Center professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Oncology, and Medicine, has written the first book for the general public about mindfulness in medical practice, providing an inside look at how doctors think and illustrating his points with true stories.

Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity, is published by Scribner. Epstein will appear at a book-signing at 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 26, at the College Town Barnes & Noble, 1305 Mt Hope Ave., Rochester.

As a third-year Harvard medical student years ago, Epstein watched an experienced surgeon fail to notice that his 18-year-old patient's kidney had turned blue. Epstein spoke up and the surgeon was able to repair the kidney as the operation was extended for an hour. In that same rotation, Epstein observed that a different surgeon was adept at shifting from autopilot to deliberate precision during an extremely complicated surgery. The difference between the two doctors left a lasting impression, he writes, and set the stage for his life's work: to identify the qualities and habits that allow healthcare providers to be at their best.

"Mindfulness is the secret," Epstein says. He makes a case that being attentive, curious, and open-minded is a moral choice that also greatly improves the doctor-patient experience and impacts medical outcomes. Epstein believes that anyone--doctors and nurses, as well as patients and families--can learn to listen closely, set aside judgments, and take a more compassionate and conscientious approach to medical decisions and caregiving.

"I'm hoping that people see medicine through new eyes," Epstein says of the book. "I also hope that people realize that mindfulness is not just for doctors, it's for anyone. Setting aside expectations, the need to interpret or give advice and just listening and really understanding one another, is something that's valuable for everyone."

Epstein has built a worldwide reputation for physician training. He wrote a 2002 medical education article that is among the top-five most widely cited articles in the last century. It called for revamping the definition of "professional competence" beyond knowledge of medicine and basic skills and to include reasoning, judgment, time-management, communication skills, and the way doctors cope with ambiguity. He has also written extensively about physician burnout and doctor-patient communication when the stakes are particularly high, as in cases of advanced cancer.
His mindfulness and communication research continues with support from the National Institutes of Health.

University of Rochester Medical Center

Related Mindfulness Articles:

The science of mindfulness -- What do we really know and where do we go?
The historical practice of mindfulness is a burgeoning integrated medicine field associated with benefits for people with issues ranging from insomnia to chronic pain and fueled by more than $550 million in federal funding over the past 20 years.
Two studies reveal benefits of mindfulness for middle school students
Two new studies from MIT suggest that mindfulness -- the practice of focusing one's awareness on the present moment -- can enhance academic performance and mental health in middle-schoolers.
Adults with mild cognitive impairment can learn and benefit from mindfulness meditation
Pilot study shows promising evidence that adults with MCI can learn to practice mindfulness meditation, and by doing so may boost their cognitive reserve.
Mindfulness smoking-cessation app can change the brain
Brown University researchers have found that a mindfulness-based smartphone app designed to help people stop smoking was effective at reducing study participants' self-reported daily cigarette consumption.
Study: Mindfulness may help decrease stress in caregivers of veterans
Caregivers of veterans who engaged in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy found it relieved stress, anxiety and worry, according to a new study led by University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo.
More Mindfulness News and Mindfulness Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...