Works of Love Newsletter
Research and Other Recent Activities
One of the happy things about the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook and our Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics is that many wonderful med students and faculty converge around the theme of compassionate care. This has truly caught on. There is much to be proud of, including our being awarded (as a school) the Alpha Omega Alpha award for Professional Identity Formation for excellent compassionate care. This award is considered one of the highest educational/cultural recognitions in American medical education. Below, please find the URL for a new article about kindness in medicine, the primary author of which is Austin B. Hake, MD/MA (Stony Brook Med Class of '23). Austin is doing his residency in Chicago at Rush in anesthesiology, where he feels that he can apply kindness to relieve patients of anxiety before surgery. Several studies indicate that kind interactions can be highly effective. Rush takes me back about 40 years because I did clinical pastoral training at Rush and at Northwestern Rehab once upon a time with finishing up a PhD at Chicago.
On altruism, a number of the Stony Brook students wrote a fine paper on medical student well-being and health during COVID based on the extent of involvement in volunteer activities. These authors have all gone on to great residencies this summer at such places as Hopkins (psychiatry), NYU, and Yale.
The Courageous Life Podcast - A Researcher's Journey Into the Power of Giving From the Heart
This podcast is currently ranked #5 across Apple and features the work of the Institute, which is always completely independent from any university as a 501 c3, but there is a certain amount of thematic overlap with the themes of the Center and theme 2 of the Institute, "kindness heals."
Conference at Linacre College
As an aside, the Institute convened a wonderful conference at Oxford with Linacre College and Stephen Bardle DPhil on "The Love of Nature." This was a great success, drawing faculty from Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge, and elsewhere. We looked at this philosophically, spiritually, historically, and with regard to health benefits.
Dignity for Deeply Forgetful People
Also this summer I was invited by the Templeton Foundation to give a talk on their annual meeting in Aruba on Dignity for Deeply Forgetful People. This was about how as a culture we can do more to include and understand the subjective experience of people with dementia, something I have studied for at least 30 years, and written more than 100 papers, including in JAMA and the NEJM, First Things, and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The book Dignity for Deeply Forgetful People was published with Johns Hopkins University Press (2022). It builds on an earlier work, The Moral Challenge of Alzheimer Disease, also with Hopkins (1995/2000), which was listed among the "medical classics of the 20th century" by the British Medical Journal.
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