Doctors will get dose of ‘Kitchen Table Wisdom’

Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.

Doctors should have a comforting bedside manner, but the subject has often been neglected in medical school curricula. Today, however, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen’s award-winning course on humanism in medicine, “The Healer’s Art,” is taught in more than 50 percent of U.S. medical schools.

Remen, the New York Times bestselling author of “Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal” (1996) and “My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge and Belonging” (2000), will be the keynote speaker at the second annual Cindy Wool Memorial Seminar and dinner. The event for health care professionals will take place on Wednesday, March 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the Marriott University Park Hotel. The Maimonides Society of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona is sponsoring the evening in conjunction with the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

The seminar was established by the family and friends of Cindy Wool, who died from acute leukemia in 2008. “Through my experience with Cindy and my patients, I learned that with greater self-awareness comes the ability to comfort and support patients and their families,” says Dr. Steven A. Wool, Cindy’s husband.

In “Kitchen Table Wisdom,” Remen calls for “reclaiming the capacity we all have to heal each other, the enormous power in the simplest of human relationships: the strength of a touch, the blessing of forgiveness, the grace of someone else taking you just as you are, and finding in you an unsuspected goodness.”

Remen is currently a clinical professor of family and community medicine at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, and is founder and director of the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness, a 10-year-old professional development program for graduate physicians. She is also co-founder and medical director of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, and has cared for cancer patients and their families for almost 30 years.

With a 48-year personal history of Crohn’s disease, Remen combines the viewpoint of physician and patient.

Tickets for the dinner are $100; for the dessert reception and seminar, beginning at 7 p.m., $36 (reception/seminar free for medical students). For more information, contact Marlyne Freedman at 577-9393 or mfreedman@jfsa.org.