The nationally known Institute for the Study of Health and Illness (ISHI), founded and directed by noted author Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., has joined in partnership with the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine to expand its reach and ensure its future.
In recognition of Remen’s unique and invaluable contribution to medical education, Wright State has renamed the institute the Remen Institute for the Study of Health and Illness (RISHI) in Remen’s honor.
For more than 25 years RISHI’s mission has been to contribute to contemporary health care through innovative educational programs that create health care professionals who are resilient to the pressures of the health care system, and keep alive the caring values that foster a healing relationship between clinician and patient. Its programs have enabled thousands of doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers nationwide to remember their common calling and reintegrate their deepest service values into their daily work.
Remen is one of the pioneers of relationship-centered care and integrative medicine. U.S. News and World Report Best Graduate Schools has called The Healer’s Art, her groundbreaking curriculum for medical students, “A profoundly innovative curriculum on reintegrating the heart and soul into contemporary medicine and restoring medicine to its integrity as a calling and a work of healing.”
Remen is also the author of the New York Times bestselling books “Kitchen Table Wisdom” and “My Grandfather’s Blessings,” which have sold more than a million copies and been translated into 23 languages.
RISHI’s programs have played a major educational role for students at Wright State for more than a decade as 75 percent of the medical school’s first-year medical students have taken RISHI’s The Healer’s Art course. They join with the 16,000 medical students nationwide who have also found through The Healer’s Art course practical ways to strengthen their calling and experience a deeper sense of meaning, community and passionate commitment to their work.
Health professional schools have traditionally seen their role as creating highly trained, technically competent professionals able to effectively use the science and technology of health care to address human suffering.
In contrast, RISHI’s well-researched programs enable students to recognize the meaning of their work, operationalize their deepest service values and form authentic community based on their values. RISHI’s innovative, holistic programs strengthen the health professional’s resiliency and commitment at all levels of training.
“With our support, RISHI can expand its reach much wider to meet the growing need for its courses,” said Margaret Dunn, M.D., dean. “The Boonshoft School of Medicine is committed to RISHI’s dream of making this kind of education for professional resiliency available to health professional students, residents in training and practicing health professionals.”
The medical school wants to develop health professionals who not only have the necessary scientific knowledge and superb technical skills to cure but the heart to persevere through challenges. “RISHI can inspire health professionals to personally embrace their calling, passion and love for their work,” said Dunn, “making the health care values as present and tangible in our hospitals and clinics as the science of health care.”
Remen believes most students enter health care because they feel called to make a personal difference.
“They gain their energy and commitment not only from medical science but from the relationships that fulfill this calling, from healing as well as curing, and from a daily experience that they are using their lives in the service of a better world,” she said.
“I am 78 years old now,” said Remen, “and it is time to think not only of expanding our program of service to all health professionals, but also of ensuring that RISHI itself will continue to strengthen health professionals in finding the meaning in their daily work and the resiliency to maintain their commitment well into the future.”
“When Dean Dunn approached me, her message was one that I had never before heard in more than 50 years in academic medicine,” said Remen. “’I believe in your work,’ she told us. ‘Let us help you.’ I am deeply grateful.”
RISHI is now expanding its programs to include nursing with The Power of Nursing: Embracing the Healer’s Art, which will offer courses later this year.
For more information about RISHI programs, visit rishiprograms.org.