Negotiating Professional Care

Professionalism in Health Care


As we reconsider the terms of health care from the patient’s perspective, it’s important to think about what this shift means for medical professionals. At the Center, our advocates and researchers use their unique position between patients and providers to cast medical professionalism in a new light, breaking down barriers in communication and offering strategies to promote trust and solidarity.


Professional Collaborators

In their introduction to the book “Patient Care and Professionalism,” Center staff and associates Meg Gaines, Rachel Grob, Mark Schlesinger, and Sarah Davis explore how health care professionals can re-imagine what it means to provide care. Their experiences providing patient advocacy at the Center elicit a deep consideration of what “advocacy” really means, and how principles of patient advocacy can be better included in other professional categories. Inherent to this reconsideration of professional roles is a new, holistic understanding of health care, one where doctors, patients, and other stakeholders collaborate to create health in their communities.


Building Community Trust

In a workshop entitled “Patient and Community Roles in Transdisciplinary Professionalism,” hosted by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, Director Meg Gaines asked professionals to see things from the patient perspective. She encouraged a point of view that placed patients in their social and cultural particularity—as individuals, and as part of a community. In various examples, Gaines outlined situations where patients might be in need of empathy, understanding, and, potentially, advocacy.

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