When The Conversation Changes

February 27, 2019 by celia

“Learn the art of fragmented, irrational conversations and follow
the patient’s lead instead of trying to control the dialogue.”
Zen and the Art of Coping With Alzheimer’s

In the days when there were video stores I would walk by the film “Iris” countless times, knowing it was a story of the writer Iris Murdoch and her husband’s experience with her cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease. (more…)


August 28, 2017 by celia


A colleague recently forwarded a New York Times article, “The Appointment Ends. Now The Patient is Listening.” The author Paula Span notes new efforts to help patients understand their health status by recording appointments.  (more…)

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.


What Is Left Unsaid…

June 1, 2015 by celia

Who among us has not attended a professional conference and exchanged a slew of business cards with like-minded colleagues promising to be in touch? But how many of us actually follow up? (more…)


February 16, 2015 by celia

Two years ago, I posted a blog, Inviting Doctors to Tell Difficult Truths about this very subject (more…)

Why Every Patient Should Be Recording Appointments

July 9, 2013 by celia

Like many proactive patients, you might already bring pen and paper to your doctors’ appointments so you can take notes. (more…)

A Medical Humanist Says Hello

September 19, 2012 by celia

When I receive the letter, I do not recognize the return address on the envelope, but “MD” alerts me it is from a physician.