It’s been over a year since I left full time status at University of North Carolina and I’m excited to share with you what’s been going on during this exciting new chapter of my life—which includes fulfilling a passion of mine to improve doctor-patient relationships in a way that ultimately improves the overall quality of patient care and healthcare outcomes.
As many of you may know, I did many things during my 35-year career at UNC: research, clinical care, teaching, and administration. I also acquired a significant number of outreach activities: visiting professorships, consulting with industry, working on national and international committees, and collaborating on research and teaching programs around the world. Over the last few years I began to feel constrained with administrative responsibilities and thought I was spending more time doing what I had to do than what I wanted to do especially as more and more outside opportunities emerged. I questioned whether I could be as happy, productive and personally fulfilled at UNC in my future years as I had been in the past.
While gastroenterology had long been the basis for my teaching, I am now focusing more on teaching the essentials of communication skills and techniques to improve the patient provider relationship. I began this with Dr. Engel and later in the 1990’s with the American Academy on Communication and Healthcare. Over the last year I was given opportunities to promote this globally: I participated in the “12 Gurus” health conference in NYC, March 2012. At this conference national educators addressed innovative methods in health care. My presentation addressed the stigmatization of patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) in modern society and offered techniques to enhance the doctor-patient dialog. Watch the video
In June, our training center (see below) produced a 1 ½ day CME accredited symposium: “The Rome Foundation AGA Institute Communication Skills Workshop” and the lectures and workshops are now available online.
In August I filmed two PBS shows: “Mystery Diagnosis” where I had to diagnose an unusual clinical presentation and “Second Opinion – IBS” which involved one of my IBS patients, Erin Slater, who shared the challenges of dealing with her symptoms and health care providers.
I was awarded the 2012 David Sun Lectureship at the American College of Gastroenterology meeting in October where I presented, “Helping Your Patients by Helping Yourself: How to Improve the Patient-Physician Relationship.” The full article was published in the April issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Several days later I presented the same topic to the United European Gastroenterology Week in Amsterdam and in November to the Pan American Gastroenterology Meetings in Panama City.
I encourage you to take a look at the videos and review my article in the AJG to get a more in –depth sense of what I am doing and how my work may benefit your practice. I will share details of the newly created Drossman Center for the Education and Practice of Biopsychosocial Care and my new private practice, Drossman Gastroenterology in upcoming posts.
Quick links to the PBS Videos on YouTube
Although I have taken on new activities, I am enjoying life in a different way with a greater sense of freedom and opportunity to pursue my interests. There is more time for relaxation at home, getting up later and even watching TV shows in the evening like “Downton Abbey and “Homeland” with my wife, Debbie, and dog, Ralph; something I hadn’t done before. I want to give very special thanks to my associates who helped me through the transition, including Andrew Greganti, Marschall Runge, Bill Whitehead, and many others too numerous to name. I am particularly grateful to Debbie, who has been a tremendous source of support, input and encouragement throughout the transition. My adjunct appointment at UNC gives me academic privileges and teaching opportunities with the GI fellows, and I remain as an advisor and co-director emeritus of the UNC Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders. This allows me to retain some of the enjoyable parts of UNC as I move forward.