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 speaksooner.org

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

CCM to offer program at Vermont Center for Independent Living

June 26, 2019 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

Questions Only God Can Answer

November 28, 2018 by celia

In the early 2000’s the Center for Communication in Medicine created a program for physicians at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center titled “Doctors Conversation Hour.” (more…)

…Stories as a Reminder of Love

April 27, 2018 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
Denise Grady, New York Times (August 14, 2007)

Recently a colleague e-mailed me the link to Jane Brody’s New York Time’s article Alzheimer’s Patients Keep The Spark Alive by Sharing Stories.  (more…)

Prescribe The Pen

January 25, 2017 by celia

To be a person is to have a story to tell.  —Isak Dinesen

It’s hard enough that a diagnosis comes along to threaten our lives—does it also have to threaten our life stories? (more…)