A Generous Gift to Improve Patient-Doctor Communication

u-of-c-2In the physician’s office, the communication between doctor and patient can be just as important as any medical exam or test. To set a patient on a healthy path, a doctor must explain diseases and treatments in a manner that is accessible and relevant to each individual. The conversation must also be a two-way street, with the doctor listening to the patient instead of merely lecturing. In the increasingly technical and hurried world of medicine, more and more of that critical interaction is lost to 10-minute appointments and physician switching.

To counter that trend, an exciting new institute was announced at the Medical Center this morning. The Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence at the University of Chicago will be made possible by a $42 million pledge from The Matthew and Carolyn Bucksbaum Family Foundation. The institute, inspired by the relationship between the Bucksbaums and their long-time physician Mark Siegler, will focus on how to improve doctor-patient interaction and train the next generation of doctors how to be advisers, counselors, and navigators for their patients.

“These generous donors have pinpointed a fundamental aspect of medical practice that deserves greater attention,” said Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, dean of the Division of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago. “They are giving us the resources to concentrate on training physicians who not only possess extraordinary technical knowledge but can work effectively with patients to reach the best clinical decisions.”

An announcement ceremony this morning will be followed by a panel discussion of the patient-doctor relationship and patient outcomes, with Siegler, dean of medical education Holly Humphrey, and Pritzker medical student Rebecca Levine participating. That event will be webcast live, and coverage will follow here on the blog this afternoon. In the meantime, you can read more about the institute at the New York Times, hear a story about it at WBEZ, and watch the official announcement video below.

About Rob Mitchum (525 Articles)
Rob Mitchum is communications manager at the Computation Institute, a joint initiative between The University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.
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