SpeakSooner Presents…

March 28, 2016 by celia

Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM) co-founders Dr. Bernard Bandman and Celia Engel Bandman have been invited to share their groundbreaking work throughout the region.

On January 21, 2016 the Bandmans presented, “Difficult Conversations in Community Healthcare” at Southwestern Vermont Health Care’s Community Health Rounds, a forum for providers participating in the Vermont Blueprint for Health. The group was introduced to the Difficult Conversations Toolkit and SpeakSooner initiative.

On April 2, 2016 the Bandmans will present a workshop in Montpelier, VT addressing communication issues surrounding the use of complementary care at the Vermont Cancer Survivors Network conference “Expanding Cancer Care: Exploring Choices in Complementary Integrative Medicine” .

On May 2, 2016 the Bandmans will be in Burlington, VT to speak on “Difficult Conversations in Primary Care” at the University of Vermont Medical Center Family Medicine Grand Rounds.

CCM’s outreach programs are aimed at educating patients, loved ones and healthcare professionals about the SpeakSooner initiative. The next SpeakSooner community program in Bennington, VT Finding Your Path Through Illness & Getting The Help You Need is scheduled for April 26, 2016.


April 26, 2016 – Community Education Program

March 16, 2016 by celia

SpeakSooner Community Education Program – April 26, 2016

Oldcastle Theatre, 331 Main Street Bennington, VT from 5:30 – 7:00 PM

 Illness forces us to ask: what do I need and to whom do I turn?

On Tuesday, April 26, 2016 the Bennington-based Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM) will present, “Finding Your Path Through Illness & Getting The Help You Need,” the first in the 2016 SpeakSooner community education series builds upon last November’s program attended by over 120 people. As one attendee noted, “The overwhelming attendance reflected the thirst and need for your expertise.” The program is free and open to the public.

This event will assemble a panel of experts to discuss resources available in our region that help to support patients and loved ones facing healthcare challenges. Learn to be better prepared to ask for the supports you need.

The panel includes: patient Lindy Lynch; SVMC hospitalist James Poole, MD; SVMC cancer patient navigator Rebecca Hewson-Steller, RN; licensed acupuncturist Cindy Reilly, Dipl.Ac.; Reverend Lucy Ijams; and medical humanist Celia Engel Bandman. The program will be moderated by CCM co-founder Bernard Bandman, PhD. There will be time for audience questions and a reception will follow.

CCM’s SpeakSooner initiative is committed to getting patients living with serious illness, their loved ones and healthcare providers on the same page sooner in the course of illness through timely, open and honest conversations about risks and benefits of treatment options, quality-of-life considerations and supports, respectful of one’s needs, values and goals.

Through the generosity of sponsors, all attendees will receive a complimentary copy of CCM’s Difficult Conversations Toolkit.

Reserve here

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Building Your Team & Navigating the System

February 10, 2016 by celia

On Thursday, November 12, 2015, the Center for Communication in Medicine held a community program at Oldcastle Theater in Bennington, VT. The program, “SpeakSooner:  Building Your Team & Navigating the System”  was offered to help improve communication between patients and their families, friends and healthcare providers. Over 120 people attended!  Read More .

The first in a series of SpeakSooner community education programs offered in Bennington by the Center for Communication in Medicine, the evening included video of patients sharing their first hand experiences, a panel discussion and a question-and-answer segment.  On the panel were Jan Martin Bopp, patient/patient-advocate; Rose-Marie Pelletier, caregiver; Dr. Orion Howard, medical oncologist; Dr. Allen Hutcheson, palliative care physician; Dr. John Hearst, primary care physician; and Celia Engel Bandman, medical humanist. Dr. Bernard Bandman as moderator.

Recognizing that illness does not impact just one person, the SpeakSooner initiative is committed to getting patients living with serious illness, their families, friends and healthcare providers on the same page through timely, open and honest conversations about treatment options, quality-of-life considerations and needed supports, respectful of one’s values and goals.

Through the generosity of sponsors, all attendees received a complimentary copy of the Difficult Conversations Toolkit.

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Center for Communication in Medicine founders participate in Forum at Manchester Community Library

April 15, 2015 by celia

Center for Communication in Medicine founders psychologist Dr. Bernard Bandman and medical humanist Celia Engel Bandman joined radiation oncologist Dr. Matthew Vernon and a cancer survivor in a panel discussion following the viewing of excerpts from the documentary, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. Community members then participated in a dynamic conversation about cancer and its impact on patients, loved ones and healthcare providers. As one library staff member wrote to the Bandmans, “You enlightened attendees on the need for honest communication between doctor and patient and the importance of empowering patients to take control of their treatment. Your participation was invaluable!”


Vermont Country Store issues Challenge Grant

December 1, 2014 by celia

The Vermont Country Store gave a strong vote of confidence in our Speak Sooner initiative by supporting a challenge grant for expanding programs using the Difficult Conversations Toolkit at Rutland Regional Medical Center (RRMC). Dr. Allan D. Eisemann, Medical Director of, RRMC’s Cancer Center/ Palliative Care/Hospice tells us, “Each workbook chapter opens doors for better communication and understanding.  Physicians, nurses, and social workers are more fully engaged with each other and their patients.”

Through the generous support of the Vermont Country Store and our donors more patients and families will be better prepared to identify their needs, values and priorities in making decision about care and securing the supports they need—sooner rather than later.


“Illness Does Not Just Impact One Person: getting patients, families and doctors on the same page” Presentation and Panel Discussion at Burr and Burton Academy, Manchester, VT

October 23, 2014 by celia

We all came together on a rainy blustery evening at Burr and Burton Academy to learn more about Speak Sooner – an initiative of the Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM). We had a vibrant panel representing many walks of life – patient, doctor, family member, spiritual advisor, psychologist and medical humanist – showing we are ALL impacted by illness – that good communication is good medicine.

Through the generosity of our sponsors and donors each attendee was given a copy of The Difficult Conversations Toolkit (Workbook and Video) created to help patients facing serious illness and families to identify their questions and concerns to prepare for these conversations and to offer doctors a direct means of inviting patients to clarify what they are prepared to hear about prognosis and the risks and benefits of treatment options.

The Center for Communication in Medicine is looking forward to offering ongoing programs to educate the community at large.


SpeakSooner Receives $2000 Gift from Juliana Centner Memorial Fund

December 15, 2013 by celia

In December we were honored to receive a gift of $2000 from the Juliana Centner Memorial Fund, earmarked to support community education programs under the auspices of our SpeakSooner initiative. Juliana was not only a beloved friend but also worked an educator in Vermont and believed in self-empowerment. Her gift will help us to ensure that more patients can be given the tools necessary to become actively engaged in decisions about their own care—so that they can make determinations about what kinds of treatment are most likely to let them maintain their priorities and quality of life.


Difficult Conversations Pilot Program Launched at RRMC

November 29, 2013 by celia

In November we launched a pilot program to explore how to most effectively implement our Difficult Conversations workbook and video in an institutional context. In the pilot program the toolkit is being introduced to patients and their family members by doctors, nurses and social workers at RutlandRegionalMedicalCenter’s cancer center, in-patient palliative care service and VNA/Hospice. (more…)


Community Education Program Presented for Hospice & Palliative Care Awareness Month

November 12, 2013 by celia

As part of the regional implementation of our SpeakSooner Initiative, and made possible by the sponsorship of Rutland Regional Medical Center, we presented a community education program in honor of Hospice & Palliative Care Awareness Month. This program featured a screening of our Difficult Conversations video for members of the public, followed by a panel discussion featuring medical oncologist Dr. Allan Eisemann, nurse Eva Zivitz, social worker Jessica Greco and medical humanist Celia Engel Bandman.


CCM Presents “Good Communication Is Good Medicine” Seminar to Human Resource Managers

May 30, 2013 by celia

CCM was invited to present a seminar entitled “Good Communication Is Good Medicine” to human resource managers at the Philadelphia, PA headquarters of Health Advocate. Health Advocate is an independent healthcare advocacy and assistance company that helps clients (patients and family members) navigate the often complex healthcare system, including offering tools to help patients make more informed decisions and get more value out of the healthcare system.  (more…)