Dr. Matthew Goodman is Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia. He has an active primary care practice, and devotes a considerable amount of his time and energy to the education of medical students and residents at all levels of training.
He has been practicing and teaching mindfulness for over ten years and has been instrumental in introducing mindfulness to patients, students, and physicians at the University of Virginia Medical School and the larger community.
Mindfulness is present moment non-judgmental awareness and can be learned and practiced. Through mindfulness, we can learn how to pay attention to our lives as they are unfolding. When we bring this sort of awareness to the practice of medicine, we can increase our self-awareness and learn wiser responses to stressful situations. We can practice the self-compassion so necessary in this difficult field and use our self-compassion as a key to deepening our relationships with patients.
In his talk, Dr. Goodman described the concept of mindfulness and how it applies to the practice of medicine. He also described how physicians can benefit from mindfulness to reduce stress in their own lives. As Dr. Goodman describes it: “Medicine is a wonderful profession. The field is intellectually stimulating, and physicians are well paid and highly regarded. It is a helping profession in which we have a chance to make a real difference in people's lives. However, it is also a demanding field, and often times filled with ambiguity and complexity. The relationships which make medicine rewarding can at times make it a trial as well. Physician burnout and dissatisfaction are distressingly common.”