Demystifying Medicine One Month at a Time

Tortoises and Hares

slowmedimageI’ve become increasingly aware of a movement, a philosophy, an attitude called Slow Medicine.

The concept is an outgrowth (and homage) of the Slow Food movement.

I’d heard about Slow Medicine from the book “God’s Hotel” by Victoria Sweet, who practiced for two decades at Laguna Honda Hospital outside of San Francisco. Let’s just say that Laguna Honda is not your typical American hospital.

A concept that Sweet shared really stuck with me: viewing the human body as a garden to be tended (a medieval view) instead of the modern attitude of the human body as a machine to be fixed.

Think about that.

More recently, I was fortunate to be included as a recipient of “Updates in Slow Medicine” from two doctors, Pieter Cohen and Michael Hochman, who both trained at the Cambridge Health Alliance, in Massachusetts. That’s where I also trained as a resident.

Their work really resonated, so I was lucky to be able to write about it for NPR:

Post by NPR.


  1. Michelle

    I have been thinking about this post and plan to read more of the work that you cite to, and what I am wondering most is whether the slow medicine approach would help shift patients’ perspectives to more reasonable expectations of medicine, which I think is what you are talking about, in part, or at least is a reasonable extension (tending v. fixing). It seems that the approach would allow more for partnering, which logically would draw the patient into a more active role in care, which makes me think that the expectation that medicine is a panacea would start to recede a bit into something more reasonable.

    • glasshospital

      absolutely. patient expectations and communication must be part of any attempt to change the way medicine is practiced.

  2. Mindy

    this is brilliant!!!! I was wondering what to call this but now I know
    I am a believer! the complexity of my patients and the pace of contemporary practice sometime feels like the perfect storm. The days, I love are those where you have a few “no shows” so that you can really be present for those patients on your schedule
    Slow Medicine!!!

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