In this interview we’ll meet Dr. Steven Reich, an orthopedic spine surgeon with a busy practice in central New Jersey. In addition to his private practice, Dr. Reich has an appointment as Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Rutgers Robert Woods Johnson University Medical School where he particularly enjoys working with medical students. He has also been politically active for many years and was appointed by the Governor of New Jersey to the New Jersey Commission on Spine Injury Research, which he also served as chairman. It was in that capacity that Dr. Reich testified before the U. S. Congress.
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Dr. Reich has also been a generous philanthropist. He and his wife, Jodi, established the Humanologi Foundation with the aim to “refocus attention on the roles of empathy, humanism and compassion in healthcare.” The Foundation approaches this goal by means of a unique methodology of assessing emotional intelligence and promoting self-aware behavior. The expected result is better understanding of their own strengths and identification of opportunities for improvement by enhancing stress management techniques and improving communication skills.
Dr. Reich’s Prescription for Success:
Number 1: Treat every patient like you would treat your own family. If you do that, you’ll never treat anyone the wrong way.
Number 2: Make a personal connection with every patient.
Number 3: Pretend that every patient who comes to see you is carrying a 20/20 camera and you’ll be seen by all your colleagues and mentors.
Number 4: Remember why you went into medicine in the first place. Understand who you are. Have a personal mentor or coach to help you understand your strengths and your challenges.
Connect with Dr. Reich:
Humanologi Foundation Website: humanologi.org
(On the importance of participation) Being involved in the legislative process is important. If you and I and all physicians don’t take a leadership role in shaping the future, we’re lost.
(On the dangers of apathy) …we end up complaining to each other in the hospital lounge about how bad things are…unfortunately, that’s our responsibility.
(On the dangers of narrow mindedness ) …we see only from our own vision of what’s best for the patient…at times, that’s a severe detriment [because] the only way to make change is to understand the whole battlefield.
(On being heard) It’s critically important to be involved…and to find your voice…and to be trained to make your voice count.
(On patients) Patients never want to be the patient – they trust their entire life in our hands.
(On burnout) Refocus on empathy and compassion. Those issues are the antidote to burnout, depression, and suicide.”