Organization Affiliations

The Institute for the Study of Health & Illness (ISHI) is a professional training institute founded in 1990 at Commonweal by Rachel Naomi Remen MD. The Institute offers discovery model education and support for health professionals at all levels of training who wish to explore the deep meaning of their calling and express it daily in their work. The national programs ISHI has patiently grown from seed have reached deep into the lives of many thousands of physicians, medical educators, medical students, nursing students, nurses and others in the healing professions —enabling them to hold to their values, their common humanity, and their professional excellence, renewing their commitment to themselves, to their patients and to medicine. [Learn more]
Commonweal is a nonprofit health and environmental research institute in Bolinas, California, founded in 1976. Commonweal conducts programs that contribute to healing ourselves and healing the earth – to a safer world for people and for all life. Commonweal does that through ten major program initiatives, including the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, founded by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen and Michael Lerner, PhD, and featured by Bill Moyers in his award-winning PBS series Healing and the Mind,  [Learn more]
The Healer’s Art (HART) is ISHI’s national curriculum and a response to the deformative power of medical training and enables student to embody the deep values that caused them to choose medicine as a profession. Developed by Rachel Naomi Remen in 1992 at UCSF school of Medicine, The Healer’s Art is taught annually at more than 70 medical schools in the U.S. and 7 schools abroad  (Brazil, India, Taiwan, Australia, Israel, Slovenia and Canada – Full list of Universities can be found here). The course is based on a highly innovative discovery model and offers a safe and respectful learning environment in which medical students and faculty can personally explore and strengthen their individual relationship to service, compassion, healing, loss, holism, awe and mystery—vital dimensions of medicine rarely discussed in medical training.
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Rachel Remen laughing

Rachel on Healing: An Interview

How does curing differ from healing?
Many people think physicians see patients with the primary intention of improving their physical health. How does this compare to the goals or intentions in your patient relationships?
Would you expand on how a patient can be healed in the absence of a cure?
Would you tell us what qualities or skills of a physician help their patients to heal?
So what are the tools one uses to heal? Do they differ from the tools one uses to cure disease?
Are there other tools besides listening?
Lastly, what is the task of those in medicine in the years to come?
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