Campus-wide Demand for New Presence Course: Med 267: IDEO, Presence, & Human Experience in Medicine

Presence,The art and science of human connection in medicine, is a new center under the leadership of Abraham Verghese, MD. Presence partnered with IDEO, a premiere design firm in Palo Alto to create and teach a new course focused on reducing diagnostic errors, while championing the human experience in medicine.

MED 267: IDEO, Presence & Human Experience in Medicine will be co-taught by the Presence team - Dr. Verghese, Dr. Donna Zulmann, Sonoo Thadaney + the IDEO team - Dr. Jayant Menon, Dr. Farzad Azimpour and Grace Hwang. Classes will be held on campus and at IDEO. Students are being selected via an application process. The deadline to apply was March 1.

Fifty applicants are seeking twenty coveted spots. They range from Humanities and Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Business, Environmental Sciences and include undergraduates, Master’s students, Distinguished Careers Institute Fellows, Ph.D. students, Postdocs, Biodesign Fellows and others.   

The applicant pool is diverse in terms of experience, but a vast majority of the applicants have worked or volunteered in clinical or hospital settings, both locally and in other countries such as Cameroon, India and South Africa. In addition to students, professionals who applied to the course include a former nurse, a research assistant, a patient health educator, doctors and therapists. One unifying characteristic they share is a grasp of the various challenges faced by both providers and patients under current medical systems. And they share a “fire in the belly” to be part of the change we believe in, addressing the needs of our diverse population.

The applicants express a keen interest in applying design thinking to solve medical diagnostic errors, the main focus of the course. Selected class participants will be divided into small groups with designated coaches. Each group will work with the course leadership to define a specific challenge and utilize the design thinking process to create and measure deployable pilots in the living labs of our hospitals and clinics.

The goal is to assess the impact of the class over the summer and explore a multi-quarter version in future years, where pilots can lead to deployable solutions. The yearlong course will focus on the fact that being present is essential to the well-being of both patients and caregivers, and it is fundamental to establishing trust in all human interactions. Being present is integral to the art and the science of medicine and predicates the quality of medical care. The experience of suffering and care are the most poignant of human experiences. Presence believes both can be better addressed in society and in our health care systems. The goal is to foster research, dialogue, and multidisciplinary collaboration to produce measurable and meaningful change in health care.

Presence is unifying the best talent to strengthen the human dimension in medicine and medical education.

-- Written and submitted by Ambri Pukhraj, Program Associate, Presence.