Healing with Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen & Lota Ofodile
“Many people are healed and never cured, and many people are cured and never healed, and these are different things… healing has to do with purpose and meaning and wholeness, and curing has to do with the physical body...”—Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen.
Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen is a Clinical Professor Emeritus of Family and Community Medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine and professor of Family Medicine at Wright state Boonshoft School of Medicine. She is the founder of RISHI (The Remen Institute for the Study of Health and Illness), a training institute for health professionals based at Pure Health Care in Dayton, Ohio. Her course for first year medical students, The Healer's Art, has been taught annually in most American medical schools since 1985 and at medical schools abroad. Her bestselling books, Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather's Blessings are published in 23 languages. Her nationwide training programs remind health professionals and students that the practice of medicine is essentially an act of love and enable them to operationalize this insight in their daily practice.
Lota Yvonne Ofodile is a fourth-year medical student at Tulane University. She is Nigerian, and comes from a large family who mean the world to her. Before attending medical school, she spent two years working at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Kansas City, Missouri, where she developed an interest in sexual and reproductive health. She is a budding fiction reader and enjoys watching movies/TV dramas in her free time. She plans to pursue a Family Medicine residency, with the hope of building a career that leverages her love for storytelling by utilizing entertainment media as a means of disseminating health information to the public.
Healing is different from a cure or treatment
Healing is about wholeness – it’s about giving a person the ability to live a deep and meaningful life regardless of the circumstance they might be in, the condition of their body, or their diagnosis.
Healing comes from deep within oneself, not from the thinking mind or the physical body, but from the heart.
Healing can be encouraged by enabling people maximize their potential, serve their life’s purpose, and live out their values.
Medicine is a calling and an act of love
“Medicine is as close to love as science, and its relationships matter even at the edge of life itself.” – Dr. Rachel Remen.
There is much more to medicine beyond the cognitive, scientific, and technical aspects.
As physicians seeking to be healers, connecting to the humanity in all of us might be more important than the science of medicine in helping patients not just cure their bodies, but live a full and meaningful life.
Perceiving the practice of medicine as a calling rather than just a job or a career shifts the focus to one’s core values and can be a source of strength that helps one to endure challenges and find joy in difficult work.
Storytelling is incredibly powerful
Sharing stories of real people opens us up to possibilities, helps us to see what is human, and connects us to one another.
Stories can be a source of strength and healing.
Stories give voice and honor to people’s lived experiences, and offer a perspective that fosters empathy, solidarity, and love.
The Remen Institute for the Study of Health and Illness (RISHI)
The Healer's Art course taught in over half of U.S. medical schools
Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen
My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen
Little Book of Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen
What does healing mean to you?
Can you think of an instance when you were cured of something but did not experience healing, and vice versa?
Think of a time you felt healed after interacting with a healthcare provider - what are some of the qualities that person had, and what about that encounter resonated with you?
How old were you when you first realized that the needs of another living thing mattered to you? See if you can recall the story of this memory and write it down.
Pick an object in your environment that embodies your work/purpose. What is it and why?
Write your own Hippocratic Oath. Reflect the values that you want to guide your practice as a physician and the kind of physician you want to be. Read your Oath out loud and keep it nearby as an easy source of reference.
Host: Dr. Rebekah Byrne, MD
Guest: Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, MD
Student Interviewer: Lota Ofodile
Producer: Lota Ofodile, Alexander Blum, Erika Bennett
Sound Design: Timothy Knowlton
Original Music (Composed & Performed): Timothy Knowlton