COMPASSION IS WHAT SUSTAINS ME: CAROL COTTRILL

It seems so fitting that Carol Cottrill’s medical specialty is the hearts of children - both physical and emotional. Her career path began when her 4th child was born with congenital heart disease.  Growing up on a family farm, she learned to balance compassion and necessity, a skill she would use in caring for her daughter and later during 18 years as medical director of UK’s pediatric ICU. Her daughter’s illness introduced her to wonderfully compassionate doctors and nurses who….

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FRIEND TO THOSE WHO ARE AILING: DANESH MAZLOOMDOOST, MD

Danesh Mazloomdoost, MD has inherited a tradition reflected in his name itself. In his family’s native Iran, Mazloomdoost means “friend to those who are ailing.” His life in medicine seems almost preordained by his family history. His father (a U.S. trained anesthesiologist who specialized in pain management) and mother (who trained in anesthesiology in Iran and retrained in psychiatry in the U.S.) built their practice around a comprehensive mind-body approach to pain management, long before such….

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SUSTAINING AN ALTRUISTIC SPIRIT: TERRY BARRETT

Terry Barrett is Chief of the Gastroenterology Division of the Department of Medicine, University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He came to Lexington in 2013 from Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago.  Becoming a Doctor.   Although there were no doctors in his family, he always felt a parental expectation of excellence and high achievement. He had a poor impression of the competitive nature of pre-medical education he witnessed among his peers.

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How do you approach whole person care, mind/body/spirit medicine, dealing with mentally/emotionally troubled teens and ethnically/ religiously diverse families?

“I find that the key is to listen and do my best to be fully present. This is a skill I learned in the Healer’s Art elective as a student and then co-teaching the course for several years. I find that our teenagers are much more likely to open up and talk about what is going on with them when they feel that you truly care. I learned from my mentor, Dr. Hatim Omar, that our listening and our caring helps teens feel comfortable opening up and talking to us.”


“I also like to help the teens identify at least one adult support person in their life that they feel they can go to when they are having a problem. This is true for those teens at low risk as well as those at high risk. We also talk about getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating regularly throughout the day and basic self-care. Many of our teens are not getting enough sleep and this can affect their mood and decision making capabilities.


“When dealing with ethnically or religiously diverse families, I keep in mind that we are all humans with the same basic needs including the need to be listened to and cared for. At the basis of most religions is belief in a higher power, something that is bigger than ourselves.”


“ We are all children of God. We all need love and care and attention- and we are all called to help other children of God. Medicine is a calling. We are called to be humble and serve. We have to take good care of ourselves in order to fully and actively listen and be fully present with our patients. This is a work in progress for me.”


How can we help learners and colleagues in medicine maintain their compassion and prevent burnout?

“We can pay attention to our colleagues and check in with them. When something seems off, we can take the time to ask how they are doing. We can offer to be there if they need anything or want to talk. We can also help our colleagues if they need time off to take care of their own health or a family member.”


“Attendings can make medical students and residents feel they are part of the care team. Attendings can teach and model real caring and listening to patients. They can also take time for themselves, model personal self-care and support these behaviors in learners, who are their future colleagues. They can show concern if something seems off with a student or resident. Just being kind and caring can go a long way.”


Stephanie Stockburger is helping patients, physicians and physicians-in- training by being kind, being humble and serving.

Pediatrician Stephanie Stockburger MD majored in music/French horn performance at Eastern Kentucky University. As she walked across campus one day, she had “a God moment” and realized she wanted a job where she could make a difference and help others. She wanted to be a doctor.


Why pediatrics?

“Just being with children makes me happy. I love their joy and spontaneity- it’s kind of contagious. When I was applying to medical school, I was thinking about pediatrics. I almost chose family medicine but eventually realized I really enjoyed the children the most. Also, the pediatric residents were the happiest residents that I encountered as a medical student.”


Why adolescents?

“I enjoyed my rotation in the Adolescent Medicine clinic as a resident. The people in the clinic cared so much about their patients. When I was completing my residency in pediatrics, a job became available in the Adolescent Clinic. I applied and they accepted me. We have a compassionate team that cares very much about our patients and each other.”


“Adolescents are so interesting because they are at a crossroads and are making choices that can impact the rest of their lives. They need a lot of support. Their parents often view them as all grown up but they truly need a great deal of support to navigate young adulthood. Without that support, they

BY JOHN A. PATTERSON MD, MSPH, FAAFP

Have you ever been burned out or felt your cup of kindness nearly empty?

“Definitely. There are days when it seems like all the patients and families are ‘in crisis.’ There are times when I don’t feel I can do anything to help them. These days are often near the end of the academic semester- November and April- when stressors are high.”


How did you manage it? How do you refill your cup of kindness?

“It depends. Sometimes I just need a nap or a good night’s sleep. Talking to colleagues and family members helps me reconnect. Nature always seems to ‘refill my cup.’ I spend time with my children, ages 6 years and 4 months, and do my best to be fully present with them.” 


“Sometimes I have to consciously count my blessings. I like to notice the beauty around me. When I drive my son to school in the morning, we look at the sunrise and talk about the colors in the sky and the beauty of the stark tree branches. When I pick him up after school, sometimes the sun is setting and we do the same thing.”

JOHN A. PATTERSON MD, MSPH, FAAFP

Dr Patterson chairs the Lexington Medical

Senator Alvarado earned his bachelor's degree in biology from Loma Linda University (California) in 1990, and then went on to receive his Doctorate in Medicine in 1994. He completed his medical residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Kentucky in 1998. Society's Physician Wellness Commission and is certified in Physician Coaching. He is on the family practice faculty UK College of Medicine and teaches nationally for Saybrook School of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences (San Francisco) and the Center for Mind Body Medicine (Washington, DC). After 30 years in private family practice in Irvine KY, he now operates the Mind Body Studio in Lexington, where he offers integrative mind-body medicine consultations specializing in mindfulness-based approaches to stress-related chronic conditions and burnout prevention for helping professionals. He can be reached through his website at www.mindbodystudio.org

can lose sight of their goals. I try to remember that each patient I see is incredibly special and unique and has so much potential. I try my best to help them and their parents see that.”


“We use a strength-based approach to patient interviewing and counseling. Some teens excel at academics or sports while others have persevered through rough times. Some are creative and artistic. Others listen well, make good friends and care for others. They all have strengths.”