Empathy on the front lines

One of the great privileges of my job is visiting our excellent medical institutions across the country. I recently had the high honor of visiting “America’s Medical School,” the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). I was invited by the Dean, Dr. Arthur Kellermann, to keynote the inaugural induction ceremony of a new GHHS chapter and make a site visit to better understand their new curriculum that creates synergy among the great traditions of officer leadership in the military, the responsibility of the physician and nurse, and a renewed focus on humanism.

The ceremony was moving, with the members of the military in dress uniforms. USU inducteesIf you look closely, you can “read” their uniforms and see on the chests their extensive service. Thirty percent of the students come to the school after serving in the armed forces in many capacities and in this class are veterans of our recent wars.

Dr. Kellerman and his colleagues have embedded in the four-year curriculum a continuum of exercises designed to support humanism, encourage reflective practice and to take advantage of the growth of medical officers who must understand the importance of both leadership and teamwork not only for optimal healthcare but for the successful delivery of compassionate and empathetic care in any place on earth, regardless of the imminent danger to survival. It is most impressive.

At various times during the celebration, I was given “Challenge Coins,” a military tradition that dates back to WWI and it was an enjoyable honor while I was there. I was also inducted into the “Exemplary National Faculty,”as shown by the center pin in the photo below.

USU photo rich 3

As we create a closer and more meaningful relationship with the GHHS alumni and the members of the Advisory Council, we hope to engage them in our rituals as speakers and observers so that we might populate our “speaker’s bureau” with wonderful members of GHHS who have dedicated themselves to its principles and have achieved greatly. I met several GHHS inductees at USU who would be wonderful ambassadors for GHHS and the Foundation.

The Foundation was recognized throughout my stay as one of the important, national institutions supporting healthcare of the highest level. They were honored by our presence and I was proud of our work.

Richard Levin, MD Levin-8925 squareis President and CEO of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation