Re-humanizing Medicine Review

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The American Medical Writers Association has published a review of Re-humanizing Medicine: A Holistic Framework for Transforming Your Self, Your Practice, and the Culture of Medicine.

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You can find the full review at this link. Below are some excerpts from the review written by Debamita Chatterjee.

“Re-humanizing Medicine by David R. Kopacz is an incisive reflection on the existing medical practices of an increasingly corporatized world. At the same time, it seeks to teach the medical and health care community how to correct that dehumanized outlook by being more compassionate and holistic.”

“Considering the absurdly frenetic pace of modern medical practice, this book does an excellent job of nourishing the soul of practicing physicians first, thereby helping them to regain their humanity. This, in turn, may translate into a more humanized treatment of patients and, ultimately, establish a pathway to a whole new paradigm of medical practice.”

“This book helps us to understand, appreciate, and correct the wrongs of modern-day medicine by inspiring us to be more connected—to be more human.”

 

Reviewer: Debamita Chatterjee

Debamita is a graduate of the University of Rochester in biomedical sciences. She has written for the University of Rochester Medical Center and journals including eLife and The Scientist.

A Proposition for a Counter-Curriculum in Healthcare Education and Practice

This is a copy of the blog post that I published in the member’s blog of the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine 8/11/16.

By AIHM Member Dave Kopacz

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What is a counter-curriculum and why do we need it?

A counter-curriculum is a course of self-study (which includes the study of the self) alongside the technical curriculum for training healthcare professionals.

We need it because something important is missing from the contemporary curriculum of healthcare providers.

I first developed this concept of a counter-curriculum when I was in medical school, actually even before that, back in high school when I realized that there were important areas I needed to be educated in that were outside of what I could learn through schools. My counter-curriculum included the works of Carl Jung, and writings in Zen Buddhism, poetry, literature and mysticism. It included looking at the best of being fully human, as well as the worst, so I had to study the “forgotten histories” of genocides of Native Americans and other marginalized peoples and cultures. I had to study the assumptions of the current facts that were being taught, which led to the philosophy of science and history of medicine as well as of different cultural and historical models of health and illness.

The counter-curriculum is more than reading books, however.  In order to be fully human, to counteract the dehumanizing aspects of professional training, in order to be the best doctor and the best human being I could be, I practiced various forms of meditation, yoga, tai chi, martial arts, fencing, going to various gym classes, working out, running, free and easy wandering in the woods with Thoreau and Chuang Tzu in my pack. The counter-curriculum led me to study various forms of healing, of energy, life force, breath and consciousness. It led me to seek out different forms of education and experience. It recently led me to start working with Native American visionary Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow), who taught me that we only truly exist in moments when we are raising our consciousness, the rest of the time we are just busy trying to keep everything the same, which is persistence―not existence.

And, finally, the counter-curriculum led me to write my book, Re-humanizing Medicine. And it led me to write this blog post and to encourage you to find your own counter-curriculum, so you can be a whole person, so you can be fully human, so you can truly exist.

Dave Kopacz is a psychiatrist, a founding diplomate of the ABIHM, and is recently certified through the ABoIM. He works in primary care mental health integration at the Puget Sound VA and is on faculty at the University of Washington. He has worked in a number of practice settings in the US and New Zealand. His first book, Re-humanizing Medicine: A Holistic Framework for Transforming Your Self, Your Practice, and the Culture of Medicine develops the concept of a counter-curriculum and presents a guide for being a whole person to treat a whole person. His latest book, with co-author Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow), is called Walking the Medicine Wheel: Healing Trauma & PTSD and is due out October 15th, 2016.

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Alliance of International Aromatherapists conference – Denver, September 2015

I just got some photos back from a conference I did in Denver back in September. My dear friend, Sara Holmes encouraged me to present at the conference. Here is a photo of the two of us together with Sara promoting my book!

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I have been presenting variations on the topic of “Becoming a Whole Person to Treat a Whole Person.”

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The idea is that we lose important aspects of ourselves as we learn to be good technicians. Therefore we must work to balance out our technical learning with human learning. This is what I call the “counter-curriculum,” the way that we re-humanize ourselves as we go through technical training and work in institutions that value economic and productivity issues in which we can lose sight of our humanity as well as the humanity of the client we are there to serve.

Be a Whole Person slide

In order to be a whole person, we must have some understanding of what it means to be a whole person. This is the framework that I use in my book:

Whole Person

I did a book signing as well as the presentation at the conference. The book signing was fun and I was able to have some great in-depth conversations with some people doing really great work. Here I am talking with Debrah Zepf (center) and Julia Graves, author of a very interesting book, The Language of Plants (right).

David Kopacz, Debrah Zepf, Julia Graves

David Kopacz, Debrah Zepf, Julia Graves

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Here are a few photos from the presentation that the conference photographer took:

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I was originally going to do a workshop, but ended up doing an hour presentation at the conference. I ran out of time to do this visualization, or perhaps I should call it a scentualization exercise. Here was the idea I had for this particular aromatherapy conference:

Integrating the Scents of Self

I also spoke some about my work with veterans and developing the hero’s journey class based on Joseph Campbell’s concept of the hero’s journey. This class uses narrative, story telling, writing, mindfulness, and understanding PTSD as a form of cultural adaptation as well as a conditioned response of the nervous system. Here is a painting that I did as part of the class where we do a “hero’s project.”

Hero's Journey

It was a great conference and I really enjoyed meeting these wonderful healers there. Sara had me stand in front of this painting for a photo and I thought the lighting was interesting, so let’s end this post with that. I forget what Sara was saying to try to make me laugh, but I know it was great seeing her and her husband, Chuck – great friends from our time in Central Illinois:

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We Need a New Holistic Paradigm – “Re-humanizing Medicine” Review

Please check out the Courage & Renewal Blog post, “We Need a New Holistic Paradigm – Re-humanizing Medicine Review,” by Sandra Carter, of the Center for Physician Leadership Coaching.

Here is a quote from the review:

“If ever a path was needed, the time is now! Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: ‘Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.’ In this case, a must read for physicians is Re-humanizing Medicine by David Kopacz, M.D., who shines a ray of light on a positive path forward.”

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Thanks Sandra for your kind words and thanks Courage & Renewal for your support!

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Some Photos from the Book Talk at University of Washington Bookstore, January 8, 2015

Photos courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

Photo courtesy of Salin Sriudomporn

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor appeals to colleagues: Do more than problem-solve

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Dave Kopacz at book reading at University of Washington Bookstore

HSNewsBeat article on Re-humanizing Medicine: A Holistic Framework for Transforming Your Self, Your Practice, and the Culture of Medicine.

http://hsnewsbeat.uw.edu/story/doctor-appeals-colleagues-do-more-problem-solve

“The push toward evidence-based medicine can blind physicians to other aspects of human interaction, Kopacz suggests.”

 

 

 

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Book Reading: University of Washington Bookstore!

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University of  Washington Book Store
U District store
4326 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

THURSDAY • January 8, 2015 • 7:00PM

Re-humanizing Medicine: A Holistic Framework for Transforming Your Self, Your Practice, and the Culture of Medicine (AYNI BOOKS)

Throughout the field of medicine, science and data reign supreme. In his new book, David R. Kopacz, MD, argues that this has resulted in a predominantly dehumanized profession. If medicine is to be effective, claims Kopacz, doctors must integrate a more holistic and human framework into their training, their practice, and their own personal understanding and self-care. To learn more about Kopacz’s impassioned challenge to the field of medicine and his map for individual and systematic transformation that has implications far beyond the medical field, join us at this special reading and signing with the author.

 

Re-humanizing Medicine on Web Radio!

You can listen to an interview with Dave Kopacz about his book, Re-humanizing Medicine, by Mary Treacy O’Keefe on her radio show, “Hope, Healing and WellBeing” at WebTalkRadio. It is my first radio appearance for the book. It is about 35 minutes long.

Mary Treacy O'Keefe

Mary Treacy O’Keefe

You can listen to the interview by following this link.

Thanks Mary for the interview, I think it turned out great!

Also, the book is now in warehouses and I received notice from Amazon that the pre-orders of the book should start being delivered early next month, even before the official release date!

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