Join Dr. Simon for Some Tales from the Other Side of the Drill
Talk via Zoom 8/13 @ noon
(Zoom link sent at a later date.)
Dr. Simon believes" that encouraging providers to develop narratives as part of their practice is an effective means of improving whole patient care. I especially believe that the introduction of this format to dentists in training can be particularly beneficial; students’ empathy and coping skills both increase through the reflection process necessary for the generation of narrative."
Excerpt from Whose Story Is It, Anyway? JAMA. 2014;311(22):2273–2274.
"Whose Story Is It, Anyway? when I was 18 years old went camping in the snow and, through a combination of bad decisions and worse luck, contracted hypothermia. After a long midnight hike of which I have no memory, and a few days of resting under piles of blankets, I recovered with no ill effects. It’s not much of a story, really, the way I tell it, and it doesn’t come up often. I am a newly graduated dentist and an aspiring public health practitioner. At a recent conference for student run free clinics, I was surprised to run into an adored college friend. A fellow outing club member, he too had been on that ill-fated trip. Now, seven years hence, we smiled at each other in the Tennessee sunshine and compared stories from our respective clinics, the stress and joy of being an almost-doctor.
“You know,” he told me after an hour’s nostalgia, “I still tell that story all the time.” “What story?” “Oh, just that time you almost died and we had to drag you half-conscious through the woods. People love it, that learning-to-take-care-of-people angle.” There is a go-to narrative for students of health, and it usually goes like this: we are new and ignorant, we encounter a patient, and their suffering makes us grow or change in some way. We write about that first death, a meaningful mistake, or the patient we just couldn’t help. We tell stories of our empathy as catalyst. This is, of course, because in our inexperience, empathy is about the only skill we have."
Lisa Simon MD DMD is a physician and dentist at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Harvard Medical School. She has been involved in the implementation of innovative medical-dental integration projects embedded in community health centers, Harvard’s dental clinic, and the hospital inpatient setting, and has developed oral health curricula for medical providers at all phases of training and practice. She has published about the separation of dentistry and medicine in journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Dental Association and Health Affairs, and was the recipient of the 2019 David Whiston Leadership Award from the ADA and was named the 2020 “Woman to Watch” by the Lucy Hobbs Taylor Award for women in dentistry. She is currently a faculty affiliate of the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care and a resident physician in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.