Works of Love
Rx: Love Heals
The first thing that Sir John Templeton said to me more than 20 years ago is this: “Stephen, love heals.” After three-plus decades of teaching about the healing influences of empathy and compassionate care in three medical schools (the University of Chicago, Case Western Reserve, and Stony Brook) and helping train more than 5500 medical students who are now in clinical practice, has this ever caught on! No one thinks of such training as “touchy feely” anymore because they know how it improves diagnostic accuracy, wound healing rates, adherence to treatment, and clinician well-being (so long as their lives remain balanced). After more than 50 peer-review articles, eight books, 400-plus plenary talks at major healthcare and medical meetings on six continents, it is nice to see that this all rising to the very top of the charts in medical research and education. A strategic high point was being selected (2000) as the Public Member of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Composite Committee and working with a team to have an entirely new full day national test for all medical students after their clinical clerkship year to assess their empathic and patient-centered communicative skills based on simulated patients (USMLE Step 2 CK).
This is all the focus of the second big Institute question: “How does such love prevent illness and contribute to the art of healing?”
Here are medical students dancing with kids with autism and connecting with these children and their families so as to develop empathic skills that will help them be better able to serve this population one day as doctors.
The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love has been at the forefront of discovery in this area of study since its inception in 2001. Dr. Gregory Fricchione, MD, Head of Psychiatry in Medicine as Mass General Hospital once noted, “Stephen, your work in this field has made such a huge difference to healing across America!”
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