The White River Junction VA Medical Center and Dartmouth Medical School Institutional Review Boards have approved a pilot study to evaluate the effectiveness of CCM’s Difficult Conversations Workbook materials in improving doctor-patient communication about prognosis, treatment choices and quality-of-life issues. Dr. Joseph O’Donnell, VA medical oncologist and Senior Advising Dean at Dartmouth Medical School, is Principal Investigator on the study.
CCM has received a $10,000 grant from the Vermonters with Cancer Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation to educate advanced cancer patients, families and healthcare providers about the key role of communication in understanding treatment options and quality of life issues when cure is no longer possible.
CCM founders Dr. Bernard Bandman and Celia Engel Bandman were invited to speak to physicians and nurses about the use of their Difficult Conversations Workbook in clinical practice at the prestigious MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.
In her article “Art Informs Medicine,” Medical Humanist and CCM founder Celia Engel Bandman recounts the conversations she had—in her medical humanist capacity—with a prominent artist diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer.
“Narrative Based Medicine: Potential, Pitfalls and Practice,” published in The Permanente Journal (Winter 2009) highlights the medical humanist communication model. The authors, Drs. Vera Kalitzkus and Peter Matthiessen, write that “A narrative approach to medicine will only succeed if ultimately it has a positive effect on daily practice instead of just adding to the already existing pressure.” The article points to CCM’s innovative work in implementing a program in day-to-day practice that documented the patient’s perspective for the medical record, facilitated communication with doctors and helped to humanize healthcare delivery.
CCM founder Dr. Bernard Bandman was interviewed about communication with healthcare providers; self-advocacy; and “survivorship as opportunity” for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s “Living Well Beyond Cancer” video series. Dr. Kenneth Miller, Director of the Lance Armstrong Survivorship Program at Dana Farber, interviewed leading experts on issues that survivors face as they transition from active treatment to life beyond cancer. CCM also served as consultant to the project.
Celia Engel Bandman’s discussion of her medical humanist work, “A Medical Humanist Says Goodbye,” which originally appeared in the July 9, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), was cited by Dr. John Launer in the October 2008 issue of the London-based Postgraduate Medical Journal. In his article, “Learning Humanity,” Launer writes extensively about the medical humanist’s role in bridging the language of medicine and the patient’s lived experience of illness, warning that “Medicine can become locked within its own words.”
CCM’s Executive Director, Dr. Bernard Bandman, is serving on the Education and Awareness Committee at the Alliance for Quality Psychosocial Cancer Care. Formed to advance the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine’s 2008 report on “Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Healthcare Needs,” the alliance is composed of healthcare professionals and advocacy groups working to implement guidelines for psychosocial distress screening and treatment of cancer patients.
CCM founders co-authored an article highlighting the perspectives of the four patients featured in their award-winning Advanced Cancer video. The article covers these patients’ thoughts on such subjects as: the impact of illness on their sense of self; family relationships; expectations of doctors; barriers to communication; spiritual issues; and issues surrounding death and dying.