"Empathy in the Practice of Medicine"
February 24, 2011
At this undergraduate discussion lunch, students had the opportunity to have an informal conversation with Professor Jodi Halpern, author of From Detached Concern to Empathy: Humanizing Medical Practice, about the doctor/patient relationship. Among questions discussed were: What does a doctor need to know, beyond the science of medicine, about a patient in order to provide the needed care? The best care? Is it better for the doctor to be detached or emotionally engaged? What does the medical profession expect of doctors? How do we know what others are feeling or thinking - especially when they hear they have a serious, perhaps life-threatening illness? And how should those responses affect treatment? Jodi Halpern is Associate Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities in the School of Public Health/Joint Medical Program at the University of California, Berkeley. She works primarily in the areas of emotions and the imagination, with a longstanding focus on empathy. She received her BA, MA and PhD in Philosophy and her MD from Yale University. On campus as a guest of Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions, Professor Halpern delivered a public lecture, Thursday, Feb. 24, 4-5:30 p.m., in the Georgian Room (IMU) on "Rethinking Clinical Empathy." The lunch was co-sponsored by the Wells Scholars Program.