The Doctor Is In: To CHAT

Perhaps you have had a discussion with friends about the best attributes you want in your own doctor.

At A2Ethics.org, we have recently had such a chat (More on an entirely different kind of chat in a moment). One quality we decided is truly essential: the doctor who listens, not only to our hearts and lungs, but who actually listens to what we say and hears us out. In other words, we want our doctor to give us a fair amount of time. We don’t need all day. Just enough to get our concerns circulated and aired in a fair-minded and nonjudgmental manner.  

Not only does Susan Dorr Goold, Professor of Internal Medicine and of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan Schools of Medicine and of Public Health--do just that--that is, listen to the hearts and lungs of her individual patients in her daily practice, she is acutely (and as she has been doing this for awhile--chronically--we suppose) committed to expanding the involvement of the public in all manner of health policy matters.

Dr. Goold is especially attentive to and is doing something to listen to different publics talk about medical care plans and the financial coverage they most need and want for their health and well-being.

To accomplish this, Dr. Goold has created an innovative town meeting-type game, focusing on individual and collective health care coverage and plan priorities, known as C(hoosing)H(ealth plans)A(ll)T(ogether). Yes, that's right, CHAT.

Not only did we, yes that's all right, chat with her about the ethics ideas demonstrated through participating in the CHAT game, used in various communities in the U.S., and internationally. We also talked about her eclectic research interests and innovative endeavors, from her work in studying conflicts of interest to her founder's role in creating the medical school's first bioethics program, which after a merger with another university group is now the Center for Bioethics and the Social Sciences in Medicine.

After talking with Dr. Goold, we decided we might all be better listeners to others' concerns, if we considered meeting in small groups in our communities to discuss what we need and want individually as well as collectively in our health plans. Which sounds to us like we should all CHAT.