Danielle Ofri gives highly engaging lectures to both medical and non-medical audiences on a wide range of topics. There are no slides, Powerpoint, or handouts–just lively discourse and compelling human stories.
Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group
New York, NY
New York, NY–BLR Reading 6 pm
Medical Women’s International Association
University of Washington
University of Pennsylvania
San Diego, CA
Pacific Coast OB/GYN Society
American Society of Nephrology
Society to Improve Diagnosis
Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan
New York, NY
NYU Ethics Colloquium
New Haven, CT
The Power of Words: Despite modern medicine’s infatuation with high-tech gadgetry, the single most powerful diagnostic tool in the medical armamentarium is the doctor-patient conversation. However, what patients say and what doctors hear are often two vastly different things. When you add in stereotypes, unconscious bias, multitasking, and fear of lawsuits, the risk of misdiagnosis and medical errors multiplies. This presentation examines how refocusing the doctor-patient conversation can lead to better health outcomes.
A Culture of Safety: Patient safety is a critical issue in medicine today. There is, rightly, a strong emphasis on systems approaches to improving medical care and decreasing error. However, medicine is fundamentally a human endeavor. Without attention to the human aspects of the medical enterprise—emotions, cognitive abilities, biases, communication—crucial aspects of patient safety will remain beyond our grasp.
Emotions, Doctors, and Patients: Despite our commitment to the scientific method, doctors are not nearly as rational and evidence-based as we tell ourselves that we are. Emotions permeate our clinical decision-making, whether we choose to acknowledge this or not. The presentation offers an unflinching look at how emotions affect doctors and the medical care they are able to give their patients.
Inspiration in Medicine: Disillusionment in medicine feels like it is reaching epidemic proportions. Doctors say they would never choose the field if they had to do it all over again. Medical error and burnout seem to be everywhere. But might it be too soon to close the book on the medical profession? This presentation examines the impact of disillusionment, highlighting strategies for re-engaging physicians, combating burnout, and thriving in the new era of medicine.
Bringing Back the Humanity to Medicine: Despite enormous advances in healthcare, patients and doctors alike are dissatisfied with their experience. So much of medicine has been boiled down to rote algorithms and assembly-line care. Seeking inspiration from the gripping narratives of medicine to the unlikely poetry of the ICU, this presentation probes the most fundamental aspect of medical care—how doctors and patients connect.
Multiculturalism and Diversity: Like all areas in our culture, medicine faces many challenges in our multicultural society. Stereotypes and unconscious bias can subtly undermine medicine’s commitment to patient care. With a candid assessment of how biases infiltrate medicine, this presentation focuses on creative ways to bridge cultural gaps.
Technology in Medicine: Technology is transforming medicine at a breathless pace. From computerized treatment algorithms to artificial intelligence, every aspect of medicine has been refashioned by the digital revolution. This presentation digs into the technologies of medicine—some ancient, some disarmingly simple, some revolutionary, and some impressively overwrought—to examine the impact of this ongoing metamorphosis, and what it means for the doctors and patients who must navigate it.
Medicine Today and Tomorrow: Medicine is increasingly portrayed as a field that no one in their right mind would consider: the debt burden for medical students is gargantuan, regulations strangulate the practice of good medicine, litigious patients lurk in every corner, doctors are disillusioned in droves. Is this all really true? This presentation is geared toward an undergraduate and general audience, examining the current state of medicine, focusing on what it really means to be a doctor today, and why some of us wouldn’t give it up for the world.
The Power of Narrative: Caring for patients is never easy. In addition to being swamped by medical intricacies, doctors often find that they are submerged in their patients’ stories. This can be exhilarating or painful or both. But like patients, doctors need stories. Why, after all, do so many of our medical journals publish stories in their otherwise statistically significant pages? To be skilled clinicians, we must be able to interpret our patients’ metaphors. If we insist on thinking concretely, we’ll miss out on the many layers of meaning and maybe miss the diagnosis too.
Medical Professionalism: Professionalism is a hot-button issue in the medical world. As the field comes under assault from all corners, doctors can feel besieged and demoralized. Seeking inspiration from Chekhov, Sports Illustrated, and the legions of patients in a doctor’s life, this presentation strives to help physicians—especially those in training—avoid becoming ungrounded and losing their sense of self. An unusual look at medical professionalism.
Doctor-Writers: An Epidemic? More than any other field, medicine seems to inspire writing. Doctor-writers seem to be everywhere these days, giving rise to a new set of ethical dilemmas. This presentation illuminates the inherent connections between story-telling and medicine in a way that is accessible to a wide-ranging audience.
Malpractice and Medical Error: Lawyers tend to meet up with doctors only in the charged setting of medical malpractice, when doctors are radically changed from their usual selves. Geared toward risk managers, this presentation examines how doctors commit errors, hide errors, and alter their medical practice because of errors. It digs deep into the harrowing experiences of physicians who’ve experienced medical error and malpractice suits, illuminating the powerful emotional challenges to all who are involved.