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Dr. Randi Diamond, Assistant Professor of Medicine in Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian Hospital, describes her work and reflects on the nature of palliative care the latest addition to IGHPE’s podcast series. Dr. Diamond is also the founding director of the Liz Claiborne Center for Humanism in Medicine, and she discusses how many aspects of the humanities can benefit both patients and practitioners. Techniques such as story-telling and an emphasis on self-reflection can improve the practitioner’s understanding of the patient’s experience as well as help the practitioner reflect on their own responses to the patient stories they see on a daily basis.

Together with her husband, Dr. Howard Eison, Dr. Diamond formed “Palliative Care for Uganda”, a project that sees her providing medical care in rural Uganda as well as providing education for local health carers. She compares the experiences of working in Uganda and New York, contrasting the needs of her patients in the two locations, and the resources available.  Dr. Diamond reports that working in Uganda has helped her focus on the art of being a doctor, given the absence of many of the technological aids she is accustomed to using in the USA.

Besides her great interest in the role of the humanities in medicine, Dr. Diamond has contributed to studies on other aspects of palliative care, including “sentinel hospitalisation” and the intervention preferences of medical practitioners.