Sydney West Translational Cancer Research Centre
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Prof Ron Epstein: Re-thinking communication with the seriously ill

PoCoG and the University of Sydney Cancer Research Network



Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

Ron Epstein is Professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry and Oncology and Director of the Centre for Communication and Disparities Research at the University of Rochester Medical Centre in the USA.

The title for Prof Epstein's presentation is Re-thinking communication with the seriously ill and he will discuss the importance of honest and compassionate discussions about prognosis to assist patients with informed decision making and life planning.

Dr Ron Epstein has been passionately devoted to promoting physician self-awareness, mindfulness and effective communication in clinical practice. He is a family physician and palliative care physician and now devotes the majority of his time teaching, researching, and writing about communication and mindfulness in clinical care.

Over the past 25 years, Dr Epstein has developed innovative educational programs in mindful practice, communication skills, the patient-physician relationship, physician self-awareness and assessment of professional competence. His seminal 1999 JAMA paper, Mindful Practice, opened the door to exploring how clinician mindfulness can positively influence the clinician-physician relationship, resilience and quality of care. With Mick Krasner, Dr. Epstein co-directs Mindful Practice programs at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry where he is Professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Oncology and Medicine (Palliative Care). He also Director of the Center for Communication and Disparities Research and co-directs the Deans Teaching Fellowship program.

Dr. Epstein graduated from Wesleyan University (1976) and Harvard Medical School (1984). Honors include the George Engel and John Romano Dean's Teaching Scholar Award at the University of Rochester, the Lynn Payer Award from the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare for lifetime achievement in research on communication and health and the humanism awards from the New York Academy of Medicine, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, and the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. He has been a two-time Fulbright scholar in Spain and a visiting scholar at the University of Sydney and at the Brocher Foundation in Switzerland. Dr. Epstein is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences on medical education, communication, and mindfulness, and has published over 250 articles and chapters; his first book, "Attending" was released in 2017. He enjoys playing the harpsichord, cooking, and cycling and cross-country skiing.