Wednesday, August 12, 2020

An Update: Poems, Articles, & Interviews ... Sprinkled with Hope!

Goodness! So much has happened since I last posted here. This is my original blog, and it's so close to my heart. This is where I first tested my wings in the skies of blogging, and where I began to experience it's not only okay to be vulnerable, but it is also good, healing, redemptive, and necessary for our growth as human beings ... with boundaries, of course! 

I know many of you know I now also have a website and a blog for physicians there. Since my fourth book, Recapturing Joy in Medicine, published last year, I've continued to speak to medical and non-medical groups, and it's been such an enriching journey! It's been heartwarming to know that several state medical boards have read the book together, and it's also being used in medical schools and residency programs. So special! 

I've also been invited to a law school, college campuses, churches, retreat centers, and many local, state, and medical conferences and events to share a message of empowerment and hope that applies not only to medical professionals but to all of us pursuing a life of greater meaning and purpose! 

This is a timely message, indeed, during a lingering pandemic! Although it has been difficult for all of us, this challenging time has also brought opportunities for us to connect with what's most important, reassess our choices, and begin to craft something new as needed ... as we feel called. Times of suffering can spark inner growth and reignite a sense of purpose, faith, and hope, and it helps to be intentional. To this end, I continue to spread a message of hope that includes practical ways to stay inspired, engaged, and healthy!

So I've been serving in various ways throughout the pandemic, including presentations (now mostly virtually) at the state and national level (see more under the Events tab). It's been deeply meaningful and rewarding, as always ... and it's time for an update here! Below are links to some of my recent interviews, speaking engagements, articles, and more.

I'm leading a virtual book study for women physicians; let me know HERE if you's like to join us! And let me know HERE if you'd like to join a co-ed virtual group for physicians starting in the fall.

Surprised by a Song: Gifts from a Study with Women Physicians

A link to my latest peer-reviewed article ("Burnout" in the Workplace: Strategies, Omissions, and Lessons from Wounded Healers) is below, along with links to some of my recent interviews.

Humanizing our World: Articles, Interviews, and More

Below is a link to my recent interview with the international organization, Physicians Working Together. I'm honored to be an advisory board member for PWT. The interview includes some of my story from medical school with an encouraging message and reminders for med students and young physicians.

Real Lives of Physicians in Training ... and in the Pandemic

For me, the pandemic began in the Florida Capitol back in March! I was serving there as Doctor of the Day the week COVID-19 became a reality in the Sunshine State. I'm so grateful for every opportunity to contribute my voice and heart as a human being and physician at the highest levels of government and organized medicine. My purpose remains to ensure the underserved/minority groups and all people are able to receive the best care possible. It's more important than ever to speak courageously to educate our communities, our legislators, and our nation!

A Special Honor at the Capitol: Preparing for COVID-19

Below is my pandemic poem and encouragement for all of us, and one more recent interview below that!

Recapturing Joy During a Pandemic: A Few Thoughts and a Poem

Where our Power Lies: An Interview

As the pandemic lingers, turn up the volume on encouragement and hope, and turn everything else down ... or off! Stay encouraged. Stay connected. This, too, shall pass.

Joyfully,

Dr. Mari

But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in You.

Psalm 39:7

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Be Inspired, Friends: A Song of Hope!

Yesterday I posted a song that I've now listened to many times. It absolutely made my week. You'll find it here.

Stay Connected!

Dr. Mari

Monday, March 23, 2020

Loving Your Neighbor During a Pandemic

Follow the link to my latest post titled, Loving Your Neighbor During the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic. What we do over these next few weeks will determine whether our communities decrease the speed of spread of COVID-19 or contribute to its spread. It is that simple. Every state across the nation has confirmed cases already, though some states are more behind than others in their success at flattening the curve. Every action taken to slow down viral spread matters, and the time to shelter in place is NOW.

Throughout the country, medical professionals have a serious lack of sufficient and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). In some hospitals, administrators are discouraging physicians and nurses from wearing masks, which is dangerous, unwise, and unethical. They must stop. The concern is so serious that physicians and others gathered a million signatures in a couple of days to demand increased production and adequate supplies of PPE for every medical professional and first responder urgently. Please help us buy time to fortify our defensive capability. If medical professionals are ill or need to quarantine, that means less people to care for each of us if we need it.

I am not exempt. You are not exempt. Please follow the latest guidelines and stay home. Thank you to everyone who is already being a good neighbor by doing this! While home, I am so grateful that we are not helpless. We have the gift of prayer, and suddenly we have more time with our families to do just that. Let us add prayers to our actions, and pray for the safety of our communities, families, and medical personnel. They stay at work to care for us; let us stay home for them!

And if you are able to donate or get others to donate PPE to individual medical clinics and/or hospitals, please do so. Consider calling your physician to ensure they have all they need and, if not, perhaps you can help them obtain adequate PPE. You can help solve the medical professional PPE shortage crisis within the COVID-19 crisis!

We are in this together. Thank you for being good neighbors! Read more here and please feel free to share it!

Lovingly,
Dr. Mari (Amaryllis)

Monday, March 16, 2020

Standing Together in Times of Uncertainty

I've been posting videos for several days to support, educate, and encourage my community, family, friends, and colleagues during this time of uncertainty. During this COVID-19 pandemic that will touch every inch of our nation and world, I choose to first reach up to our God, who is sovereign, for wisdom and strength. Thus grounding my heart and mind in truth and hope, I then reach out to others in solidarity and love.

I led a Lenten Day retreat titled Trusting God in the Deep on March 7, 2020, which ended up being just days before the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in our community. As the days go on, I see how this time we spent in God's Word together helped prepare me (and I pray all who participated!) for the urgency and surreal nature of this moment. Yes, I choose to trust God in the deep, in the wilderness, in the midst of this pandemic that is separating us physically while, perhaps, bringing us closer to one another in heart and mind, in longing and hope. 

I have chosen Psalm 19 as my focus for prayer and worship throughout this COVID-19 crisis. This psalm reminds me of God's eternal nature and sovereignty over all of creation. When everything we know and trust and rely upon crumbles, our Creator remains, day after day, ever in charge of every detail. Ever-present in our dark moments. Right next to us, even there, in the deep. 

Yes! Our God is the Hope that lasts.

When we are anxious, I am so grateful to know we are not alone. Trusting God during these moments infuses the mind and soul with hope, with faith, with the assurance that regardless of circumstances, the One who holds the entire world in His hands ... is sovereign, and He is good. He loves us and brings good out of evil, and order from chaos.

Perhaps God wants to use these last few weeks of Lent to bring families together in the safety and warmth of our homes to refresh our spiritual lives with a different type of worship. Perhaps God wants to deepen our reliance on Him as the very sustenance for our souls. Perhaps God wants us to be still before Him that we may experience and know that He is God our God (Psalm 46:10). 

Surely, God will work through this crisis in countless ways. I, for one, embrace His sovereignty and am deeply grateful for His great mercy. Let us pray for one another, for our nation and our world. He holds us even now.

Trusting God in the Deep,

Dr. Mari (Amaryllis)
 
Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. 
 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. 

For more encouragement, read Trust: A Pathway to Peace (a timely message for such a time as this!).

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Letter to Church Leaders Re: This Weekend's Services & COVID-19

I have been asked by a national physician leader to post the letter I sent some church leaders to provide medical guidance regarding church services these next 2 weeks (effective immediately as of March 14, 2020). Please use as appropriate in your communities.

------------------
Good afternoon, (INSERT CHURCH LEADER'S NAME). I write to emphasize the importance of this moment in time for our community and country as we all make wise decisions regarding infection control to combat COVID-19 and prevail. The goal is to avoid a rapid rise in cases that will overwhelm our local healthcare system from the start. The medical community is very concerned, noting U.S. numbers are tracking almost exactly with the numbers of cases seen in Italy as the virus spread. If we avoid a steep rise early on and, instead, the virus spreads over a longer period of time, the medical system will be able to keep up with the numbers of patients needing care at the same time. This is the key concept I think some people aren't grasping. The response these next 2 weeks is absolutely critical, and we are already behind (U.S. cases are already above 1,700, and the rise has been exponential, as in Italy...).

Infection control measures such as hand hygiene, covering cough/sneeze, etc. are NOT sufficient when you place people next to each other for ten minutes or longer without the recommended 6-foot social distance between them. A church service that lasts one hour would have people next to each other 6 times the amount that's been shown to increase the chances of spread via droplet (coughing or sneezing).*

Also, the virus is not only much more contagious than influenza (the "flu"), but the treatments remain experimental and available only for "compassionate use," requiring informed consent. There is also no vaccine at this time, and we likely won't have one until 2021.

The unprecedented nature of this pandemic requires decisive actions to protect communities. Truly, our safety and health are in each others' hands. This public health emergency calls for accurate information, medical expertise, prudence, sacrifice, and actions based on science, and we have the benefit of seeing what's happened in China, S. Korea, Italy, Seattle, and California. If we act decisively NOW to prevent a rapid rise of the virus in our community, my physician colleagues, nurses, and other medical professionals will not only have enough supplies and equipment to provide the care patients need but also the personnel to do so. The rapid rise has the unfortunate consequence of also infecting more medical professionals, leading to staffing problems. Minimizing exposure to clergy is also essential so they may continue to care for their congregations, communities, and families.
A fork on the road: choose an abundance of caution!

A medical crisis needs medical interventions, and social distancing beginning NOW is the next step. Please don't allow our churches to threaten the health and well-being of our congregations and communities. I'm not suggesting cancelling services for 6 months. As an experienced physician with a background in infection control, I urge churches to begin by cancelling services today and tomorrow (March 14 and 15, 2020), this week, and next week, reassessing after that based on trends in the community and country, and expert recommendations from the medical community.

Thank you for the opportunity to communicate the essential medical perspective during this crisis. I believe it is possible to slow down spread of this virus, but only if we all act wisely, together. 

In Christ,

Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD
Board-certified family physician
Physician Coach and Patient Advocate
Author, Recapturing Joy in Medicine
My website


* https://emcrit.org/ibcc/COVID19/?fbclid=IwAR3qQbhrz0U0R3AAMoquSrRW1NiIAudzqBJp3H8lyhuzNo7bmktN8L_sl98

P.S. Instituting necessary infection control measures such as avoiding handshakes for now does not mean we stop expressing our love and affection for people. It simply gives us the opportunity to find creative ways to do so! Social distancing does not mean we isolate from others. We can stay connected with family and friends in different ways, leveraging technology and reaching out to our neighbors frequently, especially the elderly and those who live alone. Stay connected!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Accolades for Recapturing Joy in Medicine, and Great News!

I'm super excited to announce 
is now on the shelves at 
Barnes & Noble stores!

Now available at Barnes & Noble stores!
This is a hard-to-achieve wonderful endorsement of the work, since they review thousands of books for shelf placement each year. I am SO grateful to know this well-researched, unique, practical resource for physicians, the medical team, and those who love and work with them will now be available more widely during a time when it is desperately needed.

I am also thrilled to announce the book was listed in Dr. Kenny Lin’s Top 10 Health and Healthcare Books for 2019! It is heartwarming to see all the years of research, writing, and editing bear fruit. Hooray!!!
 
Stay tuned for information about book signings and events I hope to coordinate both locally and perhaps even around the country when I travel this year to speak. So far, I’ll be in San Antonio, Kansas City, Washington, DC, and possibly in San Diego as well as various cities throughout Florida. And if the book is not yet available at your local B&N store, just ask them to order it and they will. This will help keep it on their shelves, so ask away!

Thank you to everyone who continues to encourage me as I write, advocate, and speak to inspire and empower those who care for others! And here’s the link if you’d like to leave a book review on B&N; apparently that helps get the word out. Thank you so much in advance!

Gratefully,
Dr. Mari (Amaryllis)

Consider gifting your physician (or a resident, med student or fellow you love!) with a copy of the book to celebrate National Physicians Day (March 30, 2020) and National Physicians Week (March 25-31, 2020)! It would be a perfect gift!

For an excerpt from the book on the power of advocacy, read Finding Our Voice: Advocacy in Action.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

A Contest for Medical Students!


Do you know any medical students? These are the students who spend high school and college volunteering to serve their communities. Their sacrifices to secure an outstanding education sometimes begin as early as middle school. Most of them seem naturally driven to both service and excellence. They are at the top of their class academically, pass the MCAT, and choose to apply to medical school in the midst of a national healthcare crisis. They recognize they're signing up for a tough journey and, still, they go for it. 
 
I am extremely proud of them! After 25 years in clinical medicine and as a national expert and keynote speaker in physician wellness, burnout prevention, and recapturing joy in medicine, I also feel a deep sense of responsibility to educate and support them.

And I enjoy every opportunity to see them having fun and being creative, making time to invest in their life outside of medicine.
 
As National Physicians' Week approaches (March 25-31, 2020), Physicians Working Together has partnered with several organizations to offer a Medical Student Talent Contest once more. Learn about it HERE and help us spread the word! 
 
Joyfully,
Dr. Mari