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Faculty Development: Email 4 Preserving Humanity

Resource Email 4 Preserving the Patient's Humanity

Good day,

This week’s Piece of My Mind, is not from JAMA. It is from Dr. Erik Stratman. Recently he shared the attached article with his Derm residents. I’m sharing it with you as it is a powerful Piece.                                      The Name of the Dog,   describes a powerful and simple way of engaging your patients that results in improved patient engagement and improved patient adherence to treatment.

In our highly work compressed world, we are continuously pulled away from engaging our patients as humans. The article Dr. Stratman shared with his residents is important in at least 2 ways. First, it is important for its message that is clear and concise. It provides an easy way to keep in mind that each patient in front of us is a human being. Second, it is important as it is a residency program director telling his residents that this is important to him, he uses it and he advises his residents to use it. That’s being human.

I had the good fortune to experience a program director in my training who did what Dr. Stratman did. He told me what he does to preserve the humanity in each patient he treated.  To this day, it guides me. Once, as I was staffing a patient, he paused and said, “Mike, it’s important for me to find at least one likeable thing in each person I treat.”  Sometimes that has been hard for me to do. And each time it was critical to how I worked with the patient. Sometimes that likeable thing has been the patient sharing a photo of their dog!


FOR FACULTY: What helps you preserve the humanity in each patient you treat? Please share that with your residents.

FOR RESIDENTS: Learn from your faculty, your peers, your own experience and develop  a word or phrase that will help you preserve the humanity in each patient you treat.

Please share that with each other. It’s a critical part in our learning to provide the best care for others and for our own well-being.



Michael J. Schulein, Ph.D.

Resident Well-Being Committee chairperson

MCHS Division of Education