President's Message


Each month, ACH President Jenni Levy, MD, FACH addresses ACH members through her president's message, sharing updates, goals, and information to keep members engaged and involved in the Academy.     

October 2017

My desk is piled with the abstracts, meeting schedule, business cards, handouts, and pocket cards that I brought home from ICCH/HARC. It’s been two weeks and I still haven’t put any of it away. I haven’t fully absorbed everything I saw or heard or learned, either. There was so much!

I facilitated my final in-person Board meeting, and I want to thank Laura Singler and the rest of the ACH staff for making everything run smoothly – not just the meeting but the entire conference. If you were there, you saw them working at registration, helping fix A/V issues, making sure food and drink appeared on time, and helping us feel welcome.

I am also grateful to AMR for helping us achieve financial stability. In addition to their guidance, this milestone was reached thanks to the hard work of Laura Cooley and Calvin Chou. Our external education program is robust and continues to grow; thanks to their diligence, our budget discussion was far more enjoyable than any I’ve ever had before. We also made changes to the governance structure to provide more continuity and continued our work toward diversifying our leadership and membership.

My ACH roots are in education. I’ve attended ENRICH and Winter Course regularly since 1997. I didn’t attend Forum until I joined the Board, and this is my third ICCH meeting. I’m trying not to look backward and regret everything I missed in the years before I attended the research meetings. I always find something to take back and immediately affect my work, and there is deeper learning under the surface that creates more gradual change.

I had the honor of moderating three of the Oral Sessions. In the first, the topics ranged from an evidence-based approach to treating behavioral health in primary care to an analysis of humor in clinical encounters. I was relieved to learn that the use of humor often improves a physician’s ability to create a therapeutic relationship. The second session I moderated included presentations on palliative care and end-of-life issues. Each of the presentations will have an impact on how I work with patient and families. Palliative care doesn’t yet have a large research base; I am excited to see that expanding and deepening.

My third session was “other communication-related topics.” This was the most geographically diverse of my sessions, ranging from work done in Alaska with the Native population to a discussion of learning communities in Tromsoe, Norway. The topics included uncertainty tolerance, culturally appropriate end-of-life planning, and a statistically rigorous exploration of the impact of health literacy on depression and anxiety screening. Every topic was new to me, and each presenter made me want to learn more.

As always at these conference, the richness extended beyond the formal sessions. Greeting old friends, reconnecting with colleagues I haven’t seen for years, matching faces and voices to names for people I’d previously only “met” on Email – these encounters are the best part of the meeting to me.

I was delighted to meet college undergraduates, medical students, and second-year doctoral students at their first professional presentations. The future of our field is in good hands. I was also pleased to see more of the ACH “education” folks at this conference than I’ve seen before. We’ve played in separate sandboxes for far too long. 

Planning for ENRICH/Forum 2018 is already well under way. I encourage you to attend. If you’ve never been to Forum, you will appreciate the quality and breadth of research presented. If you’ve never been to ENRICH, you will experience hands-on skills-based learning in a supportive atmosphere unlike any other continuing education out there. I know time and money are limited; if there’s any way you can expand your ACH world, you will not regret it.



Mission + Vision

Mission Statement:

ACH is the professional home for all those who are committed to improving communication and relationships in healthcare.  

ACH accomplishes this through:

  • Welcoming researchers, educators, clinicians, patients, patient advocates, and all members of the healthcare team.
  • Providing opportunities for collaboration, support and personal and professional development.
  • Identifying strengths, resources and needs of patients, their family members and healthcare professionals, both as unique individuals and in relationship to one another. 
  • Developing skills that integrate biological, psychological and social domains.
  • Applying existing scholarship from multiple disciplines and developing new knowledge through research.
  • Promoting collaborative relationships between clinicians and patients, teachers and learners, and all members of the health care team.
  • Incorporating core values of respect, empathy and genuineness in human relationships and the importance of self-awareness in all activities. 

Vision Statement:

A health care system where all patients, healthcare professionals, trainees and researchers feel valued, are treated equitably with respect, compassion, understanding, and are actively engaged in healthcare processes and decisions.

Basic Beliefs We Share as an Organization

  1. ACH believes that the healing human relationship among healthcare professionals, patients and their families is a critical aspect of healthcare. We believe that highly performing interpersonal and inter-professional delivery systems are necessary to achieve the greatest benefit from our biotechnical services.
  2. ACH believes in the highest quality, most fully accessible and cost-effective health care for all.
  3. ACH believes that relationship skills, communication skills, and teaching skills are learnable and teachable.
  4. ACH believes that improved relationships and communication enhance team and patient satisfaction, reduce errors and grievances, improve efficacy, efficiency and safety, and enhance health outcomes, as documented in the peer-reviewed literature.
  5. ACH believes that organizational investment in the continuous quality improvement of relationships and communication rewards the organization in many dimensions.
  6. ACH believes in learner-centered methods of teaching and coaching, facilitating discovery of learning needs and preferred learning styles.
  7. ACH leaders and teachers live the relationship-centered human values we teach, with each other in the organization and in our interactions with patients, family members, colleagues on the health care team, clients, and interested others; we strive to remain curious about and respectful of all forms of diversity that our individual experiences bring to our relationships.
  8. ACH is committed to evidence-based practice in healthcare and teaching, grounded in highest quality research that continually informs our work.
  9. ACH is committed to promoting diversity in its membership and leadership, including but not limited to diversity in profession, seniority, interests, gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. It believes that such diversity is critical to attaining the best research, scholarship, teaching, health care and other strategic goals of the Academy. Accordingly, ACH believes it essential to assertively recruit under-represented minorities into our organization.
  10. ACH is committed to assisting in the training of under-represented minority healthcare professionals and to reducing healthcare disparities.
  11. ACH is committed to human relationships grounded in integrity, congruence, transparency, empathy and unconditional positive regard. 
  12. As a non-profit human service organization, ACH adheres to a clear mission and assures that resources are used on mission-centered activities.

[Our basic beliefs were developed by participants at the 2009 Winter Course and edited by the Executive Committee. The mission, vision, and beliefs were updated by the Board in February 2014 and October 2015.]

2017 President Message Archives

Watch your inbox for the President’s message each month. If you miss an email, you can visit this page for archives of past messages.

January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017

2016 President Message Archives

Watch your inbox for the President’s message each month. If you miss an email, you can visit this page for archives of past messages.

2015 President Message Archives

Watch your inbox for the President’s message each month. If you miss an email, you can visit this page for archives of past messages.

Copyright © 2017 Academy of Communication in Healthcare ACH
201 E. Main Street, Suite 1405 Lexington, KY 40507 Phone: 859-514-9211 Fax: 859-514-9207
Site designed and maintained by AMR Management Services
Terms Of Use|Privacy Statement