‘Can the Humanities Heal Medical Practice?,’ Presentation by Dr. Harold M. Spiro, in Phoenix, Sept. 13; in Tucson, Sept. 14

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
While technology has vastly improved the care doctors give their patients, it has increased the risk of “losing the patients in their electronic images, their spirit and minds in the scans of their brains,” says Howard M. Spiro, MD, emeritus professor of medicine and founding director of the Program for Humanities in Medicine at Yale Medical School.
Dr. Spiro will discuss bridging the gap between medicine and the humanities – which focus on the experience of illness and not on the disease itself – in a free presentation, “Can the Humanities Heal Medical Practice?,” in Phoenix on Tuesday, Sept. 13, and in Tucson on Wednesday, Sept. 14. Open to the public, the talk is part of the Buffmire Lecture series, sponsored by the Flinn Foundation.
Born in 1924 in Cambridge, Mass., Dr. Spiro graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1947 and joined the faculty of Yale Medical School in 1955, when “there was much that physicians could not do and even more that we did not understand,” he says. “But it was a time when we looked at patients, talked with patients, examined and treated them rather than their laboratory and imaging results.” A widely-published gastroenterologist at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, Dr. Spiro’s writings have reinforced his belief that patients would be well served if physicians remembered that the patient’s story helps put into context the laboratory studies and images.
The Phoenix presentation will be held Tuesday, Sept. 13, beginning with a meet-and-greet reception at 5 p.m.,followed by the lecture from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., in the Virginia G. Piper Auditorium at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. (Please note: Complementary parking is available at 714 E. Van Buren, across the street from the medical school campus.) For the Phoenix lecture, please RSVP by Thursday, Sept. 8, to Sheila Maddox, (602) 827-2007, email smaddox@email.arizona.edu
The Tucson presentation will be held Wednesday, Sept. 14, with the lecture from noon to 1 p.m., followed by a meet-and-greet reception from 1 to 1:30 p.m., in the Kiewit Auditorium of the Arizona Cancer Center, 1515 N. Campbell Ave. The Tucson event also will be broadcast live and archived on the Internet at http://streaming.biocom.arizona.edu (Please note: There is a parking fee of $1.50 per hour in the University Medical Center visitor/patient parking garage, 1501 N. Campbell Ave., just south of the Arizona Cancer Center. For directions, visit the website www.umcarizona.org/body.cfm?id=13) For more information about the Sept. 14 and upcoming Buffmire lectures in Tucson, contact Rebecca Parada Anderson, UA College of Medicine Office of Alumni Affairs and Special Events, (520) 626-6177, email reparada@u.arizona.edu
About Dr. Spiro
Howard M. Spiro, MD, was educated at Harvard’s college and medical school and received his medical training at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. After a stint as chief of gastroenterology at Madigan Army Hospital in Tacoma, Wash., during the Korean War, he joined the faculty of the Yale School of Medicine in 1955. He established the school’s  gastrointestinal section and served as its chief for 27 years. He helped inaugurate Yale’s Program for Humanities in Medicine, one of the first in the country, and its e-journal, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine (http://yjhm.yale.edu). Dr. Spiro has been a prolific writer, from his single-author textbook, “Clinical Gastroenterology,” to the recent “Dean Winternitz: Yale Medical School’s Passionate Humanist,” a bio-memoir of Milton Winternitz, Yale’s dean from 1920 to 1935. He also is co-editor of “When Doctors Get Sick,” “Empathy and the Practice of Medicine” and other books.
About the Donald K. Buffmire Visiting Lectureship in Medicine
Initiated in 1997, the Donald K. Buffmire Visiting Lectureship in Medicine series continues the Flinn Foundation’s commitment to bring to Arizona leading practitioners and thinkers in the medical field. The lectureship offers physicians, students and community members opportunities to hear from distinguished leaders in the field of medicine and medical education. In 2008, the annual lecture was expanded to a biannual event and includes presentations in both Phoenix and Tucson.
The lectureship is named for the late Donald K. Buffmire, MD, in recognition of his distinguished career as a medical practitioner in Arizona and his leadership role with the Flinn Foundation in supporting the UA College of Medicine. Dr. Buffmire, who died in July 2008 at age 85, served as a board director for the Flinn Foundation for 36 years, from 1965 to 2001, including 14 years as president and chairman.
The Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation is a privately endowed organization that awards grants to non-profit organizations in Arizona, primarily to improve the competitiveness of the state’s biomedical research enterprise.
About the UA College of Medicine
The UA College of Medicine is the only allopathic medical college in Arizona. Beginning in 1967 with a class of 32 students on its Tucson campus, the college today encompasses full, four-year medical-education programs in Tucson and in Phoenix.