Saturday, November 17, 2012

Empathy Works for Business Too!

See the link below for an article on the value of empathy in the workplace that appeared in the online magazine Smart Business.

The importance of empathy in the workplace | Smart Business

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Great American Smokeout - An Empathic Opportunity

Though any time is a good time to quit smoking,  November 15, 2012 is the 37th annual Great American Smokeout, or GASO, a day when hundreds of thousands of smokers will try to stay cigarette free.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States, with approximately 443,000 U.S. adults dying from smoking-related illnesses each year!
The good news is that stopping smoking will provide some immediate health benefits. For example, your risk for having a stroke, heart attack or other cardiovascular event are reduced dramatically as soon as you quit smoking. Moreover, the risks of developing a smoking-associated cancer or other tobacco use-related condition also diminish over time.
Even if you don't smoke, someone you love may be a smoker and might benefit from quitting smoking during the GASO, or as a New Year's resolution, or any time!
So, what does this have to do with empathy and why am I writing about the Great American Smokeout here? 
Well, I can't help myself. As a physician, I have seen the ravaging effects that smoking has had on my patients and those who love them. As an educator, I have spent a good part of my career trying to help caring clinicians feel more prepared and confident about assisting their patients who smoke. And as a researcher,  I know that even a small dose of clinician empathy and a little advice and support improves smoking cessation outcomes.
So, if you are a smoker, take this opportunity to think about quitting. If you love a smoker, tell them you care about them and want to support them in their efforts to stay healthy. If you are a clinician, ask your patients who smoke if you can help them address their smoking.
The good news is that many forms of effective smoking cessation treatment, including medication, counseling and support, are now readily available:
  • Medications reduce symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and improve rates of quitting. Some nicotine replacement therapies (e.g., patch, gum, lozenge) are available over-the-counter while others (i.e., nicotine inhaler and spray; bupropion; varenicline) are available by prescription;
  • Behavioral counseling, alone or when provided with medication, improves quit rates. Counseling is provided in individual and group formats and also via free state-supported telephone quit lines; and
  • Online quit programs and mobile aps also show great promise.
For quitting resources and more on the Great American Smokeout, go to the American Cancer Society page at:

For a wonderful Youtube video by Dr. Mike Evans on how to quit smoking see:

And for addition quitting resources see the National Cancer Institute site at: