MEDICINE: The Unseen and Vital Roles of Housekeepers in the Hospital | Neil Prose, MD


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Recorded July 1 2020. Dr. O’Connell is joined by Dr. Neil Prose, a Professor of Pediatrics, Dermatology and Global Health at Duke University, and co-director of Duke’s Health Humanities Lab. Dr. Prose has a passion for teaching, a deep commitment to empathic communication between health care providers and patients, and an intense interest in the connections between the humanities, medicine, and issues of social justice. Questions from this episode include:You created a 15-minute documentary called Keepers of the House to share the stories of eight environmental services workers at Duke. Can you tell us about the inspiration for this?Can you tell us a bit about the stories you heard about these EVS workers and the meaningful relationships they have developed with patients and their families?Beyond creating a clean and healthy environment, how else do EVS workers contribute to healing in the hospital?What do we know about the ways in which the daily actions of doctors, nurses, and other members of the team can affect the way that EVS workers feel valued or devalued in their work.Your host is Dr. Ted O’Connell, family physician, educator, and author of numerous textbooks and peer-reviewed articles. He holds academic appointments at UCSF, UC Davis, and Drexel University's medical schools and also founded the Kaiser Permanente Napa-Solano Community Medicine and Global Health Fellowship, the first program in the U.S. to formally combine both community medicine and global health. Follow Ted on Instagram (@tedoconnellmd) and Twitter (@tedoconnell)! Dr. Prose has consulted on developing courses in doctor-patient communication in medical schools and clinics in South Africa, Botswana, and Kenya. He is currently involved in creating a curriculum in respectful maternity care for midwives and health extension workers in Ethiopia, and for midwifery students in Chilean Patagonia. Recently, Dr. Prose completed work on “Keepers of the House,” a film that documents the deep human relationships between housekeepers in a US hospital, and patients and their families. Links for this episode:Keepers Of The House FilmSubmit Your Questions for the PodcastSend an email to or check out Can You Do?You can help spread commonsense about COVID-19 by supporting this podcast. Hit subscribe, leave a positive review, and share it with your friends especially on social media. We can each do our part to ensure that scientifically accurate information about the pandemic spreads faster than rumors or fears. Remember to be vigilant, but remain calm. For the most trusted and real time information on COVID-19 and the coronavirus pandemic, both the CDC and WHO have dedicated web pages to keep the public informed. The information presented in this podcast is intended for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Producers: Christopher Breitigan. Executive Producer: Patrick C. Beeman, MD

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