Publication/Presentation Date



Patient-clinician relationships should be the heart of health care. But the demands of our system do not serve the traditional doctor-patient relationship well. Clinicians are burning out and leaving health care at alarming rates, with related spikes in depression and even suicide. Meanwhile, patients are talking separately about how they too feel burned by the system. The third conversation brings these groups together and gives them the space and the freedom to connect in a new way that builds empathy and appreciation for each other's humanity. The experience is designed to boost clinician and patient wellbeing. In a facilitated conversation, patients and clinicians sit knee to knee and talk about working in the system and receiving care. They explore each other's lived experiences and identify what they want to do individually and together to create change. Nearly 8 in 10 of all participants reported feeling more hopeful and more able to positively impact the health care system as a result. We observed that patients had empathy for clinicians and wanted to help. Clinicians found relief in connecting, being vulnerable and sharing openly. Ideas for change emerged that were practical and achievable.


Department of Family Medicine, Department of Family Medicine Faculty

Document Type