People in conversation

"Life-saving dialogues" for COVID's front-line doctors

Dr. Judy Fleishman, Ph.D.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Anna Rabkina MD

“You need to know how life-saving your dialogue sessions were. I came because, cerebrally, I knew they were important. Once in these sessions, you gave me the gift to see and feel the beauty and sadness around me—in work and at home. This kept our humanity awake and alive.”

Doctor

Cambridge Health Alliance

My name is Judy Fleishman. I’m a medical educator with the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), a safety-net healthcare system and teaching institution affiliated with Harvard and Tufts Medical Schools serving communities north of Boston. I train physicians in family medicine to be more skillful with communication and relationships, so they can better meet the needs of their patients.

I want to share my Essential Partners story with you.  

Relationships are at the heart of primary healthcare—not just the relationships between patients and their providers, but also among doctors, nurses, administrators, and educators like me. No one in healthcare works independently. To provide the comprehensive and thoughtful care our patients deserve, we need to be able to collaborate effectively.

Last year, the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly shattered the healthcare community. Providers were exhausted, frightened, grief-stricken, and in dire need of support. When EP invited me to their free public series on connecting in a time of crisis, I was eager to participate. 

The solace and calm I experienced in those dialogues nourished me. I cried with strangers and shared the weight of seeing frontline healthcare workers terrified and anguished every day. 

Soon after, I was approached to build a program to support clinicians at a new CHA clinic for COVID patients. I knew EP’s dialogue approach would be an effective way to foster strength and companionship among clinicians, so I asked for help—and EP answered right away. 

I was profoundly grateful for this organization’s generosity, and their depth of expertise. At a time when we felt so bereft and so depleted, EP’s free, expert consultation was a lifeline. 

To provide free resources and coaching to people like me, EP relies on the generosity of donors. Can you help sustain their vital work with a year-end gift today?

The dialogue sessions EP helped me lead at CHA were so powerful. Colleagues shared their stories, burdens, and griefs. They put words to their experiences. They felt a renewed sense of connection to one another as a community. They no longer felt so alone. One colleague—a doctor—wrote to me after the dialogues:

“You need to know how life-saving your dialogue sessions were. I came because, cerebrally, I knew they were important. Once in these sessions, you gave me the gift to see and feel the beauty and sadness around me—in work and at home. This kept our humanity awake and alive.”

At the end of the three sessions I originally planned, fully one hundred percent of the participants said they wanted to continue holding them! 

That’s a remarkable endorsement. Clinicians don’t have hours and hours to talk. Their work is life and death. They need tools for deep communication that can be effective in a limited amount of time with a diverse group of people.

Essential Partners’ approach to dialogue gave them the opportunity to sustain themselves and each other in a time of extraordinary crisis. 

When healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic needed help, Essential Partners was there for us. When everything felt hopeless, they helped renew our spirits. When CHA doctors and nurses needed strength, the generosity of EP experts helped sustain them.

That generosity is only possible because of EP’s donors, whose gifts allow highly-trained experts to support communities like mine in times of crisis. 

Would you consider a gift to support Essential Partners this year?

Thank you for your generosity—it has a direct impact on people like me. 

Dr. Judy Fleishman, Ph.D.
Cambridge Health Alliance