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ATTENDING

Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity Ronald Epstein, MD • Scribner

A family physician and a professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, Ron Epstein has been working to improve how doctors treat others for decades. Together with colleague Mick Krasner, he has encouraged caregivers to pay attention to what’s happening in their own minds and bodies as they interact with patients—with particular attention to how they communicate and the quality of the time: Are they really “attending” or are they not quite all there? In 1999, Epstein launched a small revolution with “Mindful Practice,” a piece in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. Ten years later, he and Krasner reported in the same journal on the results of their mindfulness work with doctors: They were more present, less stressed out, and more attentive to patients, and they incorporated mindfulness skills into their everyday lives. (See Mindful, October 2014: “The Doctor is Not Well.”) Now, Epstein has contemplated and compiled all he has learned from using the lens of self-awareness to view the health-care system and the lives of the people in it.

Both analytically clear and empathic, he guides us to a vision of a new…

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