Physicians, Patients, and Society

This is a roundtable forum led by an invited speaker to discuss a wide variety of important, but often ignored, aspects of medicine. Physicians, Patients and Society was formerly known as the Behavioral Medicine Conference.

Wednesday, 9:00 - 10:30
General Internal Medicine Clinic at Roosevelt
4th Floor Dermatology/Pain Center Conference Room
4225 Roosevelt Way NE
Park under the building and parking validation will be provided after conference.


The goal of this course is to explore the intersection of medicine and "real life," with particular attention given to the things that make this a profession rather than just a job. We do not believe the topic areas to be comprehensive, but hope that they can serve as jumping off points for individuals to explore issues of importance to them that are not otherwise covered in residency training. We are hopeful that each of the topic areas will provide the chance to view the ethical considerations of the practice of medicine from a slightly different perspective, and that they will challenge us to refine our own conception of what it means to be a doctor.

  1. Global Health - At least once per quarter, we will have a lecture/discussion about issues of medicine in the international setting.
  2. Medical Economics - at least once per quarter, we will have a lecture/discussion about issues of paying for medical care (from societal and individual perspectives)
  3. Humanities in Medicine - At least twice per quarter, we will have a discussion of medicine in literature, film, music, and/or the visual arts. In addition, each resident entering clinic block will receive a reading list of fiction/non-fiction/poetry to consider reviewing for enrichment during the months when they have time to do so (and possibly for consolation during those months when they do not).
  4. Behavioral Medicine (Physician-Patient Interaction) - Taking their name from the parent of the current course, these sessions will focus on improving the communication between doctor and patient. At least once per quarter, we will have a practical session devoted to strategies for changing patient behavior.
  5. Medicine and the Law - One of the least comprehensible topics to many doctors-and as such one that many of us are afraid of-legal issues in medicine affect many aspects of our practice and have many implications for how our field is viewed by society. Once a quarter, we will try to have a lecture, discussion, or debate.
  6. Marginalized Patients - We take care of many of these patients every day of our residency, but many times we have no idea what their life is like. During three sessions a quarter, we will have speakers and take tours of places representing locations where we send many patients for further care or treatment, namely skilled nursing facilities, methadone clinics, and homeless shelters.
  7. End of Life Care - One of the most challenging experiences for many doctors is decision-making at the end of life. During one session a quarter, we will have an expert in the field help us practice strategies for engaging patients and families in these often difficult discussions.
  8. Medicine and Spirituality - Another difficult area is the intersection of the mystical and the biological. These talks will focus on how to engage with patients who may have radically different beliefs from your own, as well as how to maintain your own spiritual or religious focus in the challenging environment of residency and future medical practice. One per quarter.
  9. Physician Health - Once a quarter, we will focus on ways that doctors take care of themselves, with special attention paid to mindfulness and the effects of sleep deprivation.