Professor of Medicine and Geriatrics
Indiana University School of Medicine
Staff, Cleveland Clinic
"Empathy and Resilience: Tales from Both Sides of the Stethoscope"
In an era increasingly marked by interactions with speech recognition software, “If you would like to speak with a human being to make an appointment, please press or say one now”, shared time and space with patients and computers both vying for attention, and “smart” phones that can do almost anything, what can be said for the effects of technology on the emotional lives of those receiving and giving healthcare? Are we losing, or have we already lost the ability to respond to the suffering of others with genuine empathy? Do the daily demands we live with leave us in a chronic state of distraction and “compassion fatigue”? Recent research from disciplines as far flung as neuroscience and the humanities suggests that empathy and empathic communication, in particular, have a critical role to play in health and in building healing relationships even where cure is no longer possible. My talk will focus on a personal narrative of loss, a professional lifetime of research on doctor patient communication, and the healing potential of empathy to build and sustain relationships on both sides of the stethoscope.
Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:
1) Distinguish between empathy and sympathy
2) Describe four key elements of empathic communication
3) Integrate the concept of “accurate empathy” into clinical practice
About Dr. Frankel:
Rich is professor of medicine and geriatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine and is the director of the Mary Margaret Walther Program in Palliative Care at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. He is also a staff member in the Education Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.
He is trained as a qualitative health services researcher whose interests include face-to-face communication, the role of technology and their effects on quality, safety, and outcomes of care. In addition to his health services research interests, Rich has been a medical educator for the past 35 years. He was the co- director of the internal medicine residency program at Highland Hospital/University of Rochester and also served as co-director of the Program and Fellowship in Advanced Biopsychosocial Medicine. From 2003-2013, he was been the statewide director of Indiana University School of Medicine’s professionalism competency and responsible for both curriculum and remediation in this arena. To date, he has published more than 225 scientific papers and edited 7 books.
Rich completed his undergraduate studies at Colgate University and obtained a PhD in sociology at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. He completed postdoctoral training at Boston University and was a Fulbright Research Fellow in Uppsala, Sweden. He is also a founding Fellow of the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare and is the recipient of the George Engel award and co-recipient (with Howard Beckman) of the Lynn Payer Award.
Rich enjoys biking, digital photography and collecting 18th and 19th century antiquarian books and prints.