Humanity in healthcare speaker series launched in FHS
Drs. Damon Dagnone and Catherine Donnelly have launched a speaker series focused on vulnerability and humanity amongst practicing healthcare professionals. The series, which holds monthly events featuring a range of speakers, aims to combine storytelling and facilitated discussion as a way to create a community of shared inter-disciplinary connectivity.
The idea for the series came to Dr. Dagnone a few years ago while he was speaking about his book, Finding Our Way Home: A family’s story of life, love and loss. Dr. Dagnone, who wrote the book about losing his child to cancer and how it affected him as a physician, was shocked by the effect that his openness and vulnerability was having. Together, he and Dr. Donnelly have worked to create a forum where these kinds of discussions can continue.
“What got the wheels in motion was the follow up discussions with other colleges that might not have ever spoken up, but because I spoke they felt more comfortable to talk about their vulnerability and humanity and the emotion that comes with caring for patients,” says Dr. Dagnone. “It was really rewarding and enriching to be able to have these conversations and talk to other people. I’ve benefitted from that and I want to pay it forward in a way that’s a little more unique than what’s available now and creates a safe space for people to open up.”
Through his discussions, Dr. Dagnone has learned that when he goes first, others are likely to follow. Fittingly, Humanity is Healthcare’s first speaker was Dr. Dagnone. His presentation, Doctor as person: Practicing medicine after losing my child to cancer, took place on October 28th and was attended by over 175 people.
Dr. Donnelly, who has been discussing this initiative with Dr. Dagnone for years, was extremely excited about the way that the first event played out. “People all have these lives that they bring to work with them. Healthcare providers have lives, students have lives and we often don't see what's behind the name badge. Part of this was being able to uncover the person behind the title,” says Dr. Donnelly. “Seeing people speak about this yesterday and share such incredibly personal experiences was exactly what we were hoping for and set the stage perfectly for what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Both Drs. Dagnone and Donnelly have several goals for Humanity in Healthcare moving forward. They are striving to create a space that is diverse, inclusive and ever growing, and they plan to keep their vision open to allow the community they create to collectively decide how the initiative should evolve. Ultimately, they hope that this series will allow healthcare professionals to alter the way that they think about themselves, their patients, and their colleagues.
“Within my talks I always use the moniker, doctor as person,” says Dr Dagnone. “As healthcare professionals we always consider what patients need from us, but I also like to ask what we need back from patients. I need my patients, and I need my colleagues to see me, Dr. Damon Dagnone as a person.”
Upcoming Humanity in Healthcare talks: