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Hope Sponsors Summer Continuing
Education Program for Physicians

Posted January 4, 2005

A new continuing education program at Hope for physicians has been designed with professional and personal development in mind.

The program, titled “Exploring the Art of Medicine: Life Lessons from Hippocrates to Today,” is scheduled for Thursday-Saturday, July 28-30. On the first two days the program will emphasize implications of the Human Genome project, and on the third it will explore the health benefits of activities and behaviors ranging from sleep to forgiveness. Woven throughout will be activities designed to help the participants find balance in their own lives while enjoying time with their families and one another.

The new “Hope Summer Institute” is the brainchild of two alumni who are themselves physicians and have long seen the need for such a program: Dr. David Lowry ’89 and Dr. Donna Berkey ’89 Lowry of Grand Rapids, Mich. “This program offers a fresh perspective on continuing education as it draws from the liberal arts to bring together professional and personal development. The consideration of a specific medical issue from a multidisciplinary approach, in a collaborative setting, is exactly what a liberal arts perspective offers,” said Donna Lowry, MD, who is the institute’s director. “It is also designed to let families in on the experience, giving professionals a sense of support while allowing for well-rounded fun.”

Following registration, the program will open Thursday evening with a keynote address on the Human Genome project. Discussion of the project will continue on Friday, with emphasis on the clinical, ethical, legal and societal implications of genetic research. Topics will range from gene chip analysis and genomic diagnostics, to issues of intellectual property, to the dedication of two percent of the Human Genome project’s budget for consideration of ethical issues. Featured speakers will include Dr. Michael Sandel, a professor of government at Harvard University who specializes in ethics and biotechnology and whose professional activity includes advising President George Bush as a member of the national President’s Council on Bioethics.

Topics on Saturday will include the power of sleep, the power of innovation, the power of forgiveness, the power of technology and the power of the documentation of clinical experiences. Featured speakers will include Dr. James B. Maas, who is an internationally recognized expert on the importance of sleep to health and is a member of the psychology faculty at Cornell University, and Dr. Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet of the Hope psychology faculty, whose research examines the health benefits of being forgiving.

The presentations and related small-group and panel discussions will run through lunch on both days. While the physicians are involved in the morning activities, Holland will present a variety of options for family members, ranging from neighboring galleries and the city’s museum, to the state park on Lake Michigan just a few miles away, to downtown’s shops—with highlights including the city’s annual sidewalk sale. Hope is also organizing a morning science camp for school-age children.

The afternoons will focus on recreational and cultural activities for the physicians and their families together. The itinerary includes a kayaking river excursion, a cruise on Lake Macatawa, a play by Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, and the opportunity to engage in creative activity such as pottery.

Dr. Lowry recognizes that creating art may well lie outside the way physicians find themselves spending their time. That’s the point.

“We want to be pushing people a little bit beyond where they’ve been pushed before—to do new things, but to do it in community,” she said. “It’s not just recreation, but a way to encourage us to reach out of our comfort zones alongside colleagues who are doing the same.”

She noted that the intense, prolonged and highly focused nature of medical training can make it necessary for physicians to de-emphasize other aspects of life, a debilitating habit that can be hard to break. Hope, she noted, makes the perfect place to recapture a value that for those who experienced a liberal arts education as undergraduates is a foundational experience.

“We’ve planned this institute with the goal of bringing the liberal arts back to the lives of professionals,” she said. “We’ve chosen Hope because it is a setting that we have loved and in which we thrived in the past, and that we love now. We don’t see that it has to be remote—that our past experience has to be remote from our current lives.”

Plans are in the works to make the summer institute an annual event, perhaps extending the concept to include other professions, including law. In the meantime, this year’s institute isn’t open only to a medical audience, even though the sessions are geared toward them.

Medical professionals attending the institute will have the opportunity to receive continuing Medical Education credit.

Additional information about the institute may be obtained online, by e-mailing hsi@hope.edu or by calling (616) 395-7225.

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