Mindful Practice In Medicine at the University of Rochester offers educational programs to develop and inspire health professionals and organizations to thrive, restore joy in medicine, build community, and promote excellence in healthcare.
We offer introductory workshops, facilitator training, and advanced teacher mentoring, which, since 2007, have engaged physicians, nurses, medical educators, and other health professionals from around the world. Based at the Chapin Mill Retreat Center in New York State, we also offer programs at health care institutions and organizations in North America and across the globe.
Published outcomes data demonstrate that our programs improve clinician well-being and quality of care, and that the immersive and interactive learning format is energizing, professionally relevant and life-altering.
We offer in-person and online interactive presentations, workshops, and seminars for physicians, other health professionals, medical educators, and trainees, targeting individual clinicians as well as organizations and institutions.
Our approach emphasizes self-awareness, self-monitoring, emotional intelligence, deep listening, teamwork, and compassion for self and others. We embody a relationship-centered focus and engage participants actively in intellectual/cognitive, physical/somatic, and emotional/affective domains.
Built on a strong biopsychosocial foundation, Mindful Practice in Medicine programs integrate three major components or “technologies” – mindfulness meditation, narrative medicine, and appreciative inquiry to help clinicians and organizations improve quality of care, quality of caring, and clinician well-being and resilience.
Mindfulness is a naturally occurring human capacity, not just restricted to meditation or other ‘mindfulness-based’ interventions. It can be cultivated through various means including meditative exercises, physical activity, conversation, poetry, and music.
The seeds of Mindful Practice in Medicine were first planted in the 1990s. Ron Epstein, an academic family physician with expertise in physician-patient communication, established an intellectual basis for mindfulness and self-awareness in medicine with the publication of his groundbreaking 1999 JAMA article, “Mindful Practice.” Drawing on his background as a meditator and a musician before going into medicine, Ron described qualities of mind of exemplary clinicians including attentive observation, critical curiosity, beginner’s mind, and presence. Aspirational in approach, this seminal article set the stage for developing ways of promoting those qualities in health professionals.
Meanwhile, Mick Krasner, a primary care internist and an experienced Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher, adopted the MBSR program to address the unique stresses experienced by health professionals. Through this experience in facilitating mindfulness training to health professionals, Ron and Mick began a decades-long collaboration to translate the aspirations of Mindful Practice into a practical, acceptable, and efficacious training program based on research evidence demonstrating positive outcomes for participants.
Starting in 2006, Mick and Ron received generous grant support from several foundations to develop, offer, and investigate programs to enhance health and quality of care for medical trainees and health professionals. In 2009, they published results from their year-long 52-hour “Mindful Communication” program for primary care physicians in JAMA, reporting improved physician well-being, attentiveness, patient-centeredness, and empathy, all mediated by greater mindfulness.
The publication of the JAMA article was a watershed. It became clear the need for similar programs around the world. Since 2010, Ron and Mick have offered dozens of programs in “Mindful Practice” including regular intensive multi-day workshops held at the Chapin Mill Retreat Center in New York State and later, on six continents as well as workshops designed to be experienced online. In 2021, we published the results of these workshops, showing improvements in clinician well-being, patient-centered compassionate care, work satisfaction, meaning, and engagement. In addition, Ron and Mick have published dozens of articles and book chapters relating to mindfulness and self-awareness in medicine and have offer offered speaking engagements, interviews, and podcasts around the world.
Mindful Practice in Medicine is a program of the University of Rochester
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