Changing Centers – A View of the LIVESTRONG Symposium

Changing Centers – A View of the LIVESTRONG Symposium

By Iram Leon

Iram is many things to many people: proud father, amazing cancer survivor, and runner extraordinaire. Recently he attended and spoke on a panel at the LIVESTRONG Patient Centered Cancer Care Symposium. Here’s a cross-post of his experience – you can read all of his musings at his personal blog, “Picking Up a Hitchhiker.

Maya Angelou once wrote “The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.”  A woman known for many soft and hard words, that was the quote that couldn’t quite escape me as I had the privilege of attending and sharing my story at Livestrong’s Patient Centered Cancer Care Symposium.

For two days, there would be brilliant minds from doctors talking about new approaches in medicine to designers talking about the music centered teenage branch of hospitals about how to make the approach to cancer. The life stories of the speakers alone told you both about their personal history and the projects potential. From the openers like Tom Kean who was retired and still dedicating himself at age 72 to help out with this cancer cause even after achieving some impressive awards, to people like Randall Carter of Planetree and Ellen Beckford whose brains are much better than mine and whose selling point was somehow a great balance of both evidence and compassion, they shared bits of information of how the system could be much better.

But their characters were also revealed in that some of these guys  had also turned down other “high power” positions to be things like the new dean of the new UT medical school, or guys who had helped the YMCA become more family centered in tough communities – simple examples of people who had been randomly thrown together had suddenly joined to become a singular team. The anecdotes would continue as they shared pictures  large and small of how costs mattered at the macro scale (talking about projects that costs more money than I can imagine) to little things about why hospital gowns could change from design (there are medical procedures where your backside is irrelevant but for some reason the gowns are still one size fits – and shows – all) to letting people pick out colors (raising a little girl, trust me this make a difference). The mission and respect they had with each other showed both in how they paid attention to each other when in agreement and how they learned in discussion and debate while in panel and table discussions.

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