A Passion for Inspiring Others: Stephen Corman’s Story

  Sometimes an organization is lucky enough to have a donor whose goal is not only to create impact by supporting the organization financially, but also to inspire others to do the same. Stephen Corman is one of those donors for the Schwartz Center. A combination of five personal cancer diagnoses and two end-of-life parent …

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Compassion in Action with Monica Worline

We spoke with Monica Worline, PhD, about her new book, Awakening Compassion at Work: The Quiet Power That Elevates People and Organizations, and the workshop she will be presenting at our inaugural Compassion in Action Healthcare Conference this June in Boston. Monica is a research scientist at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism housed in …

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Compassion in Action with Stephen Berns, MD: Nurturing the human connection

Vitals  Name: Stephen Berns, MD Title: Director of Education for Palliative Medicine, Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital; Associate Program Director, Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship, The Mount Sinai Health System Advice to the Next Generation of Caregivers: Berns encourages young caregivers to cultivate their listening skills because sometimes just listening in silence can be very …

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Caring for the caregiver: The legacy of Dr. Daniel Burdick

“Caring for the cancer patient is complicated, time-consuming and demanding. Physicians who care effectively for their cancer patients must reach deeply within themselves to mobilize their inner resources for this effective care.” Dr. Daniel Burdick wrote these words in 1987; nearly 30 years later, they remain as true as ever. As a general surgeon and …

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Compassion in Action with Ramita Bonadonna, PhD, APRN-BC: Giving care, but remembering to care for the self

Vitals Name: Ramita Bonadonna, PhD, APRN-BC Title: Psychiatric Consultation Liaison Nurse, Medical University of South Carolina Hospital Advice to the Next Generation of Caregivers: Bonadonna advises caregivers to have a desire to grow as they interact with people. She also encourages caregivers to develop personal relationships with their patients. Interesting Facts: Bonadonna is a student …

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Compassion in Action with Reb. Naomi Tzril Saks, MA, M.Div., BCC: Practicing mindfulness from within

Vitals Name: Reb. Naomi Tzril Saks, MA, M.Div., BCC Title: Director of Spiritual Care and Volunteer Services at Kaiser Permanente Advice to the Next Generation of Caregivers: Saks advises new caregivers to follow their inner voice and seek the best training possible, either in the form of academics, meditation or whole person training in order to …

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Compassionate Care and the “Sandwich Generation”

As baby boomers age, many more people will find themselves caring for their aging parents while still raising their own children. Those faced with this situation wonder: How can I do both well? And with all of my responsibilities at home, how can I be present enough for my parents to ensure that they receive …

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Compassion in Action with Nancy Searl: When we include, we connect

It started out as an average day for Nancy Searl, a fourth-grader at the time, where the class would gather as part of the daily routine and listen to a story read by their teacher before going home for lunch. As other kids dashed out of the classroom following story time, Ms. Simpson pulled Searl aside to tell her about the new boy. “He’s older because he’s been out of school for a very long time and I want you to push your desk right beside him,” said Ms. Simpson. Determined not to let her favorite teacher down, Searl did exactly as asked and soon found out why Ms. Simpson trusted her with this important task.

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Striving for Humanity in End-of-Life Care

Andrea, Fran’s daughter, had hoped to give her mother something simple yet profound at the end of her life: a peaceful death. Fran witnessed her beloved husband die in unrelenting pain from lung cancer in 1970, tethered to machines in a hospital. Andrea was young when she lost her father, and yet the haunting memories …

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For Me, Compassionate Care was a Red Popsicle

Sharon McNally credits her incredible caregivers for providing her with the emotional support she needed as she underwent a series of health scares. Here, Sharon highlights her healthcare challenges, honors her caregivers and shares how a red popsicle truly changed the course of her life. Sharon has channeled her passion in many directions including serving …

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A Legacy Born from Compassion and Human Connection

Like so many proud mothers, Ellen Cohen watched her son graduate from college this spring. Later in the summer she helped organize his move to the Big Apple to pursue his passion in film. Twenty years ago, the two of them spent a profoundly different summer enduring the pain and shock of watching their beloved …

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Compassion in Action with Steven Field, MD: Building long-term patient relationships through listening

At a young age, Steven Field experienced a life-changing event that has been integral to shaping his perspective of the patient-caregiver relationship. His mother was diagnosed with cancer when he was 12 years old, and he remembers his mother’s doctor modeling behaviors that showed him a compassionate way to care for others. Encouraged by his family’s experience with a caring provider, Field decided to volunteer at his local hospital throughout junior high school and high school, visiting with patients and then later working on physician-led research projects.

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From Caregiver to Patient: A Valuable Lesson in Compassionate Care

A very accomplished woman who always felt she was firmly in control of her surroundings, Dr. Mallika Marshall believed only one thing was missing from her life–she and her husband wanted to have children. In 2003, Mallika was early on in her career as both an urgent care doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital and a …

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Compassion in Action with JoAnne Reifsnyder, PhD, RN: Being fully present and instilling hope

“I think one of my uniforms will fit you. Please put one on and come down here. I need you,” said her mother. Heeding her request, JoAnne Reifsnyder donned a uniform and headed to the small nursing home set in a historic stone mansion where her mother worked as the director of nursing. Reifsnyder was only in high school at the time, but still vividly recalls her first impression. “I got to enter this world that was just incredibly beautiful, and met older adults who had stories to tell and life in their eyes,” says Reifsnyder. “I was captivated.”

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Compassionate Care Has No Age Limit

From athlete to patient in a strange land Ellie’s diagnosis came out of nowhere. She was an athletic 10-year-old girl who was never sick, so no one expected her slight limp and sudden blurry vision to mean anything. Her tennis coach first mentioned his concerns when Ellie complained about not seeing the ball correctly, and …

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Compassion in Action with Rev. Birte Beuck: Being in the moment with empathetic presence

The patient was in her twenties, pursuing her dream in the U.S., with a full life ahead of her. Then one day, she was diagnosed with incurable cancer. Rev. Birte Beuck recalls the time spent together with this patient in clinic and the deep bonds this young woman formed with her care team. “She was at the hospital where I worked at the time, and was in and out for many months,” said Beuck, who is now the Director of Spiritual Care Services at John Muir Health in California. “One of her last wishes was to travel back to Peru because she wanted to die at home.” It was a long way from California to Peru and the young woman didn’t have any means to get back home. Beuck pulled the care team together and they devised a plan to help.

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Compassionate Care Involves Body, Mind, and Spirit

When Coordinated Care is Lacking Can living healthy and looking well be a barrier to effective healthcare? Stephanie Wexler found this to be true when she moved to a new city with her husband and started experiencing symptoms that were somewhat vague and common, yet worrisome. She was searching for a new primary care doctor, …

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Compassion in Action with Mia Lozada, MD: Cultivating trust and maintaining the human connection

The dinner table is a place where families come together to reflect on their day and be present in the moment with each other. For Mia Lozada, it was where her family talked about health and medicine, given her father’s profession as a surgeon. The language of science was very comfortable for her at an early age, and when she started college she explored pre-med and social work as potential career paths. She enjoyed science and helping people in their time of need, and ultimately decided to become a physician.

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Experiencing Compassionate Care Three Times Over

Rita McDonough vividly remembers the image from more than 50 years ago of being in a hospital room as a young teen, with her doctor sitting by her side. She didn’t know why she was there, what was wrong or what the future would hold for her. But she felt good that he stayed with her, …

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Compassion in Action: A Q&A with Jon DuBois, MD

While in high school, I worked as an orderly, a volunteer at the American Oncologic Hospital in Philadelphia, which is now Fox Chase Cancer Center. So early in my life, I was exposed to cancer patients and their families. I saw how challenging, yet rewarding it could be to potentially help people at a time in their lives when they needed it the most…being struck by their courage, dignity and humanity. So this led to majoring in science in college and teaching high school science before committing to medical school, and the rest is history.

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Founding Campaign Donors Mark and Becky Levin

“Compassionate care gave my mother ten more years of life and then, ultimately, a death with dignity when the cancer returned,” says Becky Levin with great emotion. “As a result, my mother was able to see her granddaughter grow up and share an important part of my life with me. We were ready to give …

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