The Person Inside The Patient

November 13, 2019 by celia

Adrienne Barnes, a nurse diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, was featured in “Voices From The Lived World of Illness,” a video produced by the Center for Communication in Medicine. During the interview she shared her frustrations when her doctor tells her “there’s really nothing I can do for you.” (more…)

Transforming Medical Crisis into Opportunities to Find Meaning in One’s Life

October 16, 2019 by celia

The Center for Communication in Medicine, which I am a founder, decided that our next SpeakSooner Community Education Program on October 26 in Bennington would focus on the theme of transforming a medical crisis into an opportunity to find meaning and joy in one’s life. Planning this event brought to mind a woman whom I had known from time passed.


SpeakSooner® Community Education Film Series – Saturday, October 26

September 25, 2019 by celia

The Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM)’s SpeakSooner® Community Education Film Series continues on Saturday October 26, 6pm at Oldcastle Theatre, 331 Main Street, Bennington, VT 05201, with an exclusive screening of The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

The SpeakSooner® film series has been hugely successful in helping to foster open and honest communication at a time when it is most needed – even with humor! The upcoming film does just this as two men who meet as patients facing serious illness find ways of transforming medical crisis into an opportunity to find meaning in their lives.

After the film there will be a panel discussion with cardiologist, Dr. Scott Rogge, nurse practitioner, Alison Malmborg, and patient, Jeff Babson discussing quality of life challenges that arise at these pivotal moments.

Tickets are $25 and include a dessert reception. Tickets can be purchased by calling Oldcastle Theatre at (802) 447-0564 or reserve online here.

The SpeakSooner® film series is offered by the Center for Communication in Medicine to educate the public about how to improve communication between patients, families and healthcare providers. To learn more about CCM programs and communication tools visit

Would You Prefer A Medical Fix or Good Communicator?

September 11, 2019 by celia

I recently stumbled upon an old email from a nurse with whom I worked with many years ago at the cancer center in Bennington, VT.  At the time she had asked me: “Do patients, really want their doctors/nurses to be human?  Or do they want them to do what they were trained to do and fix the problem? (more…)

Who is This Doctor at My Bedside?

August 19, 2019 by celia

Recently, a friend went to the emergency room with complaints of severe GI pain and was admitted to the hospital. Naturally, she was worried about the cause of her symptoms, which she had been experiencing on and off for 6 months. Under the care of her family doctor she tried several medications but none seemed to alleviate her pain entirely. Now, the doctor who she had known for many years and trusted was no longer involved in her care. Instead, a hospitalist appeared at her bedside and would be in charge of the case. (more…)

SpeakSooner® Community Forum: Re-defining Quality of Life: Living Fully With Illness, Disability and Aging

July 24, 2019 by celia

On Saturday, September 7 from 6– 8 pm the Bennington, VT-based Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM) will offer a SpeakSooner® community education forum, Re-defining Quality of Life: Living Fully With Illness, Disability and Aging at the MACK Performing Arts Center at Arlington Memorial High School in Arlington, VT. The program is free and open to the public.

The forum will explore the complicated issues surrounding quality of life concerns when facing the effects of illness, disabilities and aging. Panelists for the program include: patient Jim Baker, caregiver Kim Baker, family practice physician Dr. Michael Welther and Rev. Kathleen Clark. CCM founder Dr. Bernard Bandman will moderate the program.

Healthcare decisions and quality of life considerations are making an impact across all sectors of society. For the past 20 years, CCM has developed hands-on tools and educational programs that help to promote open and honest communication between patients, family caregivers and healthcare professionals, resulting in better informed decisions about care, greater patient satisfaction and reduced healthcare costs.

You can watch a short interview with Col. Baker and Dr. Bandman here.

To reserve a place please call CCM at 802-442-5800 or reserve online here. Arlington Memorial High School’s MACK Performing Arts Center is located at 529 E Arlington Rd, Arlington, VT 05250.

To learn more about CCM’s SpeakSooner® programs and communication tools visit

Panelists Col. James W. Baker (Ret) – former Director of Vermont State Police,
and his wife, Kim, a retired registered nurse.

Prognosis: Talking in Code

June 26, 2019 by celia

Prognosis is not a term familiar to most people unless used by a doctor to explain the expected course of a medical condition. Even then, the word or its implications may not be understood. (more…)

CCM to offer program at Vermont Center for Independent Living

by celia

“How to Improve Communication with Doctors”

On Wednesday, July 10, Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM) founders, Dr. Bernard Bandman and Celia Engel Bandman, will be presenting a program, “How to Improve Communication with Doctors”,  sponsored by the Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL). The event is free and open to the public.

Here in Vermont and across the nation the need for open and honest doctor-patient communication has never been more urgent. Most of us prefer not to think or talk about serious illness. Yet, we or someone we love will be a patient someday and find ourselves unprepared to communicate with doctors. In today’s healthcare climate, doctors and nurses are facing increased demands and pressures, which often means less time at office visits. And, when conversations about treatment options and preferences for care are postponed or avoided, the resulting silence can have consequences that include unnecessary physical and emotional suffering and regrets about decisions.

The presenters will introduce the Difficult Conversations Toolkit, a guide developed by CCM to help patients and families identify and communicate questions and concerns about risks and benefits of treatment options, quality of life considerations and supportive care needs – beginning sooner in the course of illness.

SpeakSooner programs help improve communication between patients, families and healthcare providers. An attendee at a recent program said, “CCM offers the community a priceless gift. There is an overwhelming need and thirst for your expertise.” Visit to access the Difficult Conversations Toolkit, read Celia’s blog “A Medical Humanist’s Notes” and sign up for CCM news updates.

Registration is required to ensure enough materials and seating. This is a scent and chemical free event. If you would like an ASL interpreter, please let the organizers know by July 5.

The event is free and open to the public and will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 108 School Street, in Bennington, VT from 1 – 2:30 pm.

To register, for more information, or to request accommodations, contact Lynn Mazza, Vermont Center for Independent Living, 802-442-1876, or Charlie Murphy, 802-445-3015,


June 19, 2019 by celia



The Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM), a Bennington, VT based nonprofit, will offer a workshop, “How to Improve Doctor-Patient Communication” on Monday, July 22, 6PM at HAYC3 in Hoosick Falls, NY.

After the success of CCM’s SpeakSooner® Community Education Program, ”When The Doctor Becomes A Patient” at the Hoosick Falls Central School in April, many attendees requested a follow-up workshop on the use of the Difficult Conversations Toolkit, a guide to help facilitate communication between patients, family caregivers and healthcare providers.

The “How to Improve Doctor-Patient Communication” workshop will offer the opportunity to view videos of actual patients speaking about the challenges in navigating the healthcare system, followed by a discussion aimed at helping participants become more effective in communicating their questions and concerns to healthcare providers who are facing increased demands on their time.

There is no cost for the workshop and participants will receive a personal copy of the Difficult Conversations Toolkit.

HAYC3 is located at 80 Church St, Hoosick Falls, NY 12090.

Space is limited. Please click here or call CCM at 802-442-5800 to register.

I Want a Doctor Who Can Say…

May 19, 2019 by celia

In my most recent blog What Do You Want From Your Doctor, I shared a response to this question by a patient who participated in the Writing is Good Medicine® program I facilitated at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center. (more…)