Armed with roses in a rainbow of colors, a large box of handmade cards and a stack of yellow buttons and stickers, nearly a dozen School of Medicine students took time on Friday, Feb. 13, to spread some early Valentine’s cheer to patients at Truman Medical Center and promote compassionate care.
The students are members of the School of Medicine chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. This was the third year in a row members of the organization have delivered roses and Valentines to patients. This year, they also handed out yellow stickers and buttons to hospital staff that proclaimed “Solidarity for Compassionate Patient Care.”
“It feels good to do something like this,” said Maria Uloko, one of the Year 6 students. “It’s kind of lonely being in the hospital. So on a holiday like Valentine’s Day, it’s fun to do this for the patients.”
Before heading to the hospital to visit the patients, Carol Stanford, M.D., the chapter’s faculty sponsor, also handed out a stack of 11-by-17 sheets of paper and markers with instructions to ask the patients a few questions about themselves. The students were to write down their responses then post the sheets somewhere nearby were hospital staff could read them and know a little more about their patients.
“Our goal is to find out more about our patients,” Stanford said.
With that, the students paired off in teams of two and began delivering the flowers and cards.
The broad smile on the face of Valerie Nevels, one of the patients, showed how much patients at Truman appreciated the gesture. “This really brightens my day,” she said.
Nevels said she is usually the one visiting someone else at the hospital and having the students stop by with their special gifts and kind words helped her feel as if she hadn’t been forgotten. Then she looked at the card she had just received and read the message: “Smile!”
“They must have known that I love to smile,” Nevels said. “This is very much appreciated. When I get home, this rose will be frozen and the card is going to be framed.”
The Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics has begun hosting salons modeled on the lively discussions of ideas that took place in Europe in previous centuries. “It’s a gathering of kindred spirits,” said Stuart Munro, M.D., professor and chair of humanities and social sciences.
The most recent Medical Humanities and Bioethics Salon took place Jan. 28 in the Humanities Conference Room. In advance of the event, salon guests were encouraged to read a chapter from the 2012 book The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, From Vienna 1900 to the Present by Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric R. Kandel. The book examines the interactions of the humanities and sciences in Vienna at a time when Sigmund Freud and the painter Gustav Klimt were ascendant.
Klimt, Munro noted, was interested in science. The painter watched cadaver dissections and invited an anatomy professor to teach him and his fellow artists about biology. “Klimt was one of those artists in the salons who would look inside a microscope and see human tissue, with the cells and the nuclei, and he painted them in his paintings,” Munro said.
Bibie Chronwall, dean of the Emeritus College at UMKC, led the conversation at the Jan. 28 salon, which many Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics faculty attended. Carol Stanford, M.D. ’79, associate professor of medicine, prepared for the discussion by reading another recent book with Klimt as a central character, The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. Stanford discussed the book, which describes the legal battle between the Austrian government and a descendent of Bloch-Bauer, who argued the painting was stolen by the Nazis during World War II. The book is the basis of an upcoming feature film, Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.
The salons, Munro said, fit with vision of William Sirridge, M.D., and Marjorie Sirridge, M.D., the founding physician-docents who worked to the increase opportunities for students to study humanities and bioethics. Their vision and generosity in establishing the Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics in 1992 has encouraged faculty and students from all disciplines to collaborate in healing patients in a holistic and compassionate manner, he said.
The Medical Humanities and Bioethics Salon is open to all. The next salon is expected to take place in April. For more information, contact Britt Filkins at FilkinsB@umkc.edu.
The Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics and the Medical Humanities Interest Group are now accepting submissions for the Human Factor.
UMKC Health Science’s students with the best piece of prose, poetry, photography or short story will be published in the 2015 Human Factor. To be considered, students must send a copy of their work to HumanFactor@umkc.edu by September 2nd , 2014.
The Sirridge Office is also conducting the 3rd Annual Healing Arts Contest. Prizes will be awarded to UMKC medical students with the best pieces of prose and/or poetry, as well as chance for publication in the Human Factor. To be considered for the award, students must send a copy of their work to Dr. Lynda Payne, Sirridge Missouri Endowed Professor in Medical Humanities and Bioethics by Dec. 1.
All entries should be emailed to PayneL@umkc.edu. For more information regarding the Healing Arts Contest, contact Britt Filkins at FilkinsB@umkc.edu
It was a family affair at the 20th annual William T. Sirridge, M.D., Medical Humanities Lectureship on March 13 at the School of Medicine. Mary Sirridge, Ph.D., spoke first, discussing her late father’s appreciation for the arts. Stephen Sirridge, Ph.D., then introduced his brother, Christopher Sirridge, M.D., ’78, as their mother, former Dean Marjorie S. Sirridge, M.D., sat in the audience.
Christopher, an oncologist and hematologist at an affiliated private practice of the University of Kansas Hospital, presented his lecture titled, “‘From the Heart of Hell, I Strike at Thee’: Reflections on Moby Dick,” which explored the prominent themes, symbolism and human issues in the novel and how they relate to the art of medicine. Sirridge said he was honored to be the featured speaker for his late father’s lectureship and mentioned storytelling as one of his father’s greatest talents. The first graduate of the School of Medicine’s combined, six-year program to also major in English, Sirridge shares his father’s appreciation of literature’s insights on humanity.
The 1991 School of Medicine Alumni Achievement Award winner said his father instilled in him the importance of listening to his patients and their stories.
“Listening is the greatest technique as a physician; let the patients tell theirstory,” Christopher said. “My dad used to say, ‘if you listen long enough, they will tell you what they have. If you listen longer, they will tell you what they need.”
Christopher mentioned the traditional literary themes of morality, man’s inhumanity to fellow man, loss of innocence, death and dying, failure, lack of forgiveness and unfiltered shame and how they are entrenched in Moby Dick. Christopher described his moment of loss of innocence in the beginning of his career. As a resident at the Cleveland Clinic, he was preparing to do a routine blood gas as a resident at the Cleveland Clinic, and as he pushed up the man’s sleeve, he saw the patient’s Auschwitz tattoo. The man instructed the young Dr. Sirridge to insert the needle into the “6.”
“This was a huge loss of innocence for me,” Christopher said. “Remember, your moments of loss of innocence and convert them to pillars of your character.”
Christopher went on to say that everyone is unique, and “we all have our own Moby Dick.” The whale symbolizes what is frightening and unknown.
Another message Christopher had for the audience was to “be tolerant and understand the uniqueness; let’s be dependent upon one another and celebrate uniqueness.”
Throughout the years, Christopher has remained invested in supporting the humanities not only at the SOM but also in the Kansas City area. His expansive medical career spans the military, academics and private practice. After graduating from the SOM, he completed an internal medicine residency program at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio, followed by fellowships in oncology and hematology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Since 1984, Christopher has been active in the United States Army Medical Corps. He began as a captain in 1984, was promoted to a major in 1986 and then served on active duty as a lieutenant colonel from 1993-2000. Christopher has received many distinguished honors within the military, including three Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals and five Army Achievement Medals.
He has also had several academic appointments including the director of ambulatory services in the Oncology Clinic at Truman Medical Center-East, assistant professor of medicine of hematology and oncology at the SOM, and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Medical School and the University of Kansas School of Medicine.
Denise Davis, M.D., ’81, has spent the past year looking at women physicians’ lives from a unique perspective: the vantage point of their daughters. Davis presented the 2013 Marjorie S. Sirridge, M.D., Outstanding Women in Medicine Lectureship on Sept. 19 at the School of Medicine to UMKC faculty, staff and students, as well as other members of the community, about “Pride and Presence: Narratives of Women Physicians and their Daughters.
She has been working on the study, which explores the relationships and feelings between mother physicians and their daughters, for a year after being inspired by her invitation to deliver the lecture and her relationship with her own daughter.
“This lecture on the narratives of women physicians and their daughters was inspired by some of the paradoxes my daughter said she observed in me,” Davis said. “She said when she heard me on the phone with patients I displayed patience … she also tells me that sometimes in communicating with her, I come off as demanding and short-tempered. And yet, not only is my daughter surviving, she’s thriving. This peaked my curiosity.”
Davis, an internist, is an associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco, a member of the core faculty for the Center of Excellence in Primary Care, San Francisco VA Medical Center and a member of the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare. At UCSF, she currently serves as an attending for residents, nurse practitioners and nurse practitioner fellows in ambulatory care.
Along with medical student remediation, Davis is involved in faculty development workshops and teaches topics that range from basic communication skills, including improving doctor-patient communication, obtaining informed consent, working with angry patients and negotiating cultural differences in clinical relationships, to giving effective feedback to learners and coaching learners through remediation. Davis has received the Kaiser Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching for her work with students at UCSF School of Medicine.
She consistently received awards as one of “America’s Top Doctors” and has received many Patients’ Choice Awards during her 20 years in a successful private practice. Consumer Checkbooks rated her as one of the finest physicians in the East Bay and the J magazine readers twice voted her as one of two favorite primary care physicians in the Bay Area.
Communication is a pillar on which her career has been based. Davis has been involved with the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare for 10 years. Through education, research and training, the organization helps caregivers improve the health care setting. Her love of communication led to her interviewing the sample of women physicians and their daughters for the study she presented at the Marjorie Sirridge Lecture.
“Even if this lecture had been cancelled [for any reason], it would have been worth it to me to pursue this journey of listening to other women and their daughters talk about their experiences, their strengths, their joys,” she said. “And some of the women said this interview process has led them to talk more with their daughters about the meaning of their work.”
Davis said she plans to continue interviewing and see what themes continue to emerge. “It would be great to speak with a more diverse group of women and single mothers,” she said. “I also do a lot of work with residents and would like to learn more about young women, what their thoughts are on becoming mothers and what they think would be supportive for them.”
Mary Sirridge, Ph.D., daughter of Marjorie and William Sirridge, M.D., welcomed Davis on behalf of her mother and her other family members.
“My mother has watched Dr. Davis’ career since she graduated over 30 years ago from UMKC with great fondness and great interest,” she said. “Like my mother, Dr. Davis has moved back and forth between being a skilled and caring physician to being someone who’s very involved in passing the baton to the next people in line.”
Davis mentioned her gratefulness for the mentorship she received from Marjorie Sirridge and what it meant to her to come back to the School as the Marjorie S. Sirridge, M.D., lecturer.
“It connects me with her nurturing of me and how that made a difference and continues to make a difference in my life, not only as a physician, but also as a mother and as a person.”
The School of Medicine’s new Department of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences was recently featured in a new web blog, Wing of Zock, created as an online community for medical school and teaching hospital faculty, residents, students and executives.
Stuart Munro, M.D., chair of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences, wrote a featured blog discussing the importance of the medical humanities and the School’s role in promoting the humanities into the medical curriculum. In his blog post, Munro writes:
“Medicine demands rigorous intellectual work. For this reason, candidates for the field are carefully chosen for their intellectual capacity and their ability and willingness to work very hard. The medical humanities balance this capacity for intellectual activity and hard work with new ways of seeing and feeling that produce a more effective and satisfied physician and person.”
The Wing of Zock accepts contributions from medical students, residents, faculty and administrators in academic medicine to share successes and best practices to help other academic medical centers work through the transformation of health care.
Brittany Filkins recently joined the School of Medicine as the administrative assistant for the Department of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences and the Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics.
She is a graduate of UMKC with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and has worked for the University at Swinney Recreation Center for five years, the last three as UMKC’s intramurals coordinator.
Filkin has been a part of the Staff Council for five years, where she has worked to make student employment more enjoyable on UMKC’s campus. The council also does volunteer work throughout Kansas City with organizations such as Operation Breakthrough, Gillis, and Harvesters. She received the Swinney Recreation Center’s 2010 Employee of the Year Award.
At the School of Medicine, she will assist Stuart Munro, M.D., chair of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences, Lynda Payne, Ph.D., Sirridge Missouri Endowed Professor in Medical Humanities and Bioethics, and Marilyn Pesto, director of the Sirridge Office of medical Humanities and Bioethics, in support of the humanities classes, committees and board.
She can be reached in the humanities office at 235-5882 or at FilkinsB@umkc.edu
The UMKC School of Medicine chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) grew with 21 new inductees during a ceremony on March 23 at Diastole. The 2013 induction class includes 16 students, three residents and two faculty members.
Each year the GHHS selects senior medical students, residents and physician teachers from nominations from fellow students and faculty based on their excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service. Members are selected for their exemplary care of patients and humanistic approach to clinical practice.
Three former School of Medicine deans attended the ceremony: Richardson K. Noback, M.D., Harry Jonas, M.D., and Marjorie Sirridge, M.D., who is also the founder of the School of Medicine Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics.
Sirridge gave a brief keynote address and GHHS members Melony Chakrabarty, MS 6, and Vicky Rizk, MS 6, talked about the organization’s highlights of the past year the introduction and induction of the new members by chapter sponsor Carolyn Stanford, M.D., associate professor of medicine and Gold 5 docent.
The GHHS began in the late 1990s and now has 104 chapters at medical school across the United States. The program is sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation of the GHHS.
Special recognition went to Chakrabarty and Jill Moormeier, M.D., associate dean for Graduate Medical Education, as recipients of the 2013 Leonard Tow Humanism Awards. The award is given annual to one graduating student and one faculty member who demonstrate the ideas of compassion in the delivery of care, respect for their patients and their families, and for their colleages, as well as for demonstrated clinical excellence.
2013 GHHS Inductees Students
Abdelrahman Aly, M.D.
Khalil Abuamr, M.D.
Mark Schultzel, M.D.
The School of Medicine has created the Department of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences that will be chaired by Stuart Munro, M.D., clinical professor in psychiatry. The new department centralizes a variety of courses programs from the School into one cohesive unit.
It made the most sense at this time for the School to combine the various courses that deal with the social aspects of medicine into one academic department which shared a common theme, according to Paul Cuddy, Pharm.D., professor and senior associate dean of academic affairs. The department will also house the International Medicine Program and the Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics.
“I am excited to be part of this new department. It is another way the School continues to emphasize the importance of the social aspects of medicine,” Munro said. “It is on the cutting edge for a medical school to create a humanities and social sciences department.”
The International Medicine Program, led by Munro, supports students’ efforts to explore study abroad opportunities and requests to study at the School from students at our affiliate international universities
In addition, the department will provide oversight for several courses in the medical curriculum which address the social aspects of medicine: Fundamentals of Medical Practice I-IV, Hospital Team Experience, CUES (Communication, Understanding, Education and Self-awareness), Behavioral Sciences in Medicine, and Patient-Physician-Society I and II.
The Sirridge Office will continue to be led by Lynda Payne, Ph.D., Sirridge Missouri Endowed Professor in Medical Humanities and Bioethics. It was established in 1992 to expand opportunities to provide humanities courses for students in UMKC’s six-year BA/MD program.
After an external search, Munro was selected and began as chair March 1. He continues to serve as the academic chair of the psychiatry department until the current search for a new chair is complete.
“Dr. Munro was the right choice for this department,” Cuddy said. “Through his years of service, he has taken an active role teaching in many of the courses and programs which will become part of the new medical humanities and social sciences department. His experience in these areas will be a great help in overseeing the new department.”
Munro has served in a variety of roles at the School since 1986, including psychiatry chair, behavioral sciences course director, advisory board member for the Sirridge Office, assistant Dean for Years 1 & 2, International Medicine Program director, and interim dean. He also received the Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award for the School of Medicine in 2012.
Paul Larsen, M.D., a pediatric neurologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), completed his exam of a young patient and asked if the family had any questions. Before he left the room, the little girl asked, “Is it OK for me to go to sleep tonight.”
“I thought, ‘I need to really listen. This is really important,’” said Larsen, who delivered the annual William T. Sirridge, M.D., Medical Humanities Lecture at the School of Medicine on March 7. “I need to be able to reassure her that she can go to sleep and that it is going to be OK.”
Larsen serves as the head of pediatric neurology at UNMC and has been named to the list of Best Doctors in America since 2003. He is director of the second-year neurology core and a lecturer in the first year neurosciences core at the University of Nebraska. He also developed the integrated neuroscience course and served as course director at Creighton University School of Medicine.
Larsen’s lecture focused on how two areas — his passions for studying the brain and caring for children — have impacted his journey in medicine and how he practices his craft.
A key ingredient to providing care, he said, is to care about the patient.
“When you care for a patient, they should not be alone,” Larsen said. “We can treat diseases. We can care for a person, but the essential part of healing is to be there and to be able to make sure they’re not alone.”
While there are bound to be difficult cases, Larsen said there are things physicians can enjoy each day. He talked about taking advantage of the joy of interacting with children, something he called an integral part of the physician’s work that should not be wasted and described a well-done examination as akin to watching a ballet. “It (an examination) is a beautiful thing to watch when well done,” he said.
Just as important, he added, is for physicians to remember their roots, stay up to date on the science of medicine, and to be confident in their practice.