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.

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 speaksooner.org

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 SpeakSooner.org 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, lmazza@vcil.org or Charlie Murphy, 802-445-3015, cmurphy@VCIL.org


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…)

Announcing the inaugural SpeakSooner Facilitator Training Program

May 15, 2019 by celia

This June we are offering the inaugural SpeakSooner training program. We will offer instruction on introducing and using our paradigm changing Difficult Conversations Toolkit; strategies for addressing resistance in using this material; and approaches for building relationships with healthcare and community organizations. The training will be lead by  CCM co-founders Bernard and Celia Bandman.

Contact Us for further description and application.
Click here to request information on how to share this information with your colleagues or healthcare institution.

What Do You Want Your Doctor to Know About You?

April 29, 2019 by celia

In previous blogs I described my role as a medical humanist at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center (2002-2005) where I documented the patient’s understanding of their diagnosis, prognosis, treatment plan and the impact of their illness on themselves and family. (more…)

Do They Know What I Am Thinking?

March 27, 2019 by celia

Always interested in receiving feedback about the “Difficult Conversations Toolkit”, a patient asked me if I would read what she had written.  “I am unsure,” she said, “of how I have structured it.”

“I’d be pleased to read what you have written,” I said. (more…)

When The Doctor Becomes A Patient

March 20, 2019 by celia

The Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM) will present a SpeakSooner community education program “When the Doctor Becomes a Patient” on Saturday, April 13, 2019, 6pm at the Hoosick Falls Central School in Hoosick Falls, NY. The program includes an Exclusive Screening of The Doctor followed by a panel discussion with local healthcare providers Dr. Marcus Martinez, Dr. James Carroll, Dr. Matthew Pender and nurse, Patty Ryan, who will share their personal experiences as patients. A Q&A and dessert will follow.

The film tells the story of a doctor who discovers the challenges of life from the other side of the stethoscope after being diagnosed with cancer. William Hurt stars as a doctor who thought he knew it all until he became a patient and finds himself frustrated in navigating the healthcare system. The film received wide acclaim and a prized “Two Thumbs Up” by critics Siskel & Ebert.  

CCM’s 2018 film series was highly successful with one attendee raving, “We can’t wait for the next film and discussion.” This SpeakSooner event is another of CCM’s community education efforts in support of our mission: “to prepare patients facing serious illness and their loved ones for meaningful conversations with healthcare providers, leading to improved communication and a plan of care that honors a person’s values, priorities, and goals.”

Admission to the film, discussion and dessert reception is free. Limited seating.

TO RESERVE TICKETS go to http://speaksoonerhoosickfalls.rsvpify.com or call CCM 802 442-5800