Thursday, December 27, 2018

My Orlando Sentinel Podcast Interview

Last month, I had the privilege of talking to the Orlando Sentinel about physician wellness, burnout prevention, and my upcoming book, Recapturing Joy in Medicine. I am thrilled that a local reporter is covering the story of how the practice of medicine feels like an obstacle course in 2018, and how this continues to affect physicians and patients.

Follow this link to hear the 30-minute podcast interview and read the article. Feel free to share it with medical students, residents, fellows, physicians in practice, training programs, and hospital systems. You may contact me here to receive a message as soon as the book is available.

My hope is that Recapturing Joy in Medicine will encourage my colleagues to speak up and support one another to rise above the boulders on our path. 

Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash

Dr Mari

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A Christmas Gift for All

Last night, I was blessed to attend a moving Christmas Eve service with our church family. I sat with our boys, my husband officiated, and our young daughter joined the sopranos in the adult choir. Surrounded by music, she had front row seats to the strings and wind sections and loved every minute of it. Songs like The First Noel and O Come, O Come, Emmanuel filled my heart with the joy of Christmas in a special way, knowing one of those voices came from our sweet daughter. 

Of all the heartwarming songs, the most special for me this year was Silent Night. As the clergy knelt at the altar, their backs to the congregation, we were drawn to join them to worship the newborn king. I felt like one of the shepherds beholding the child at the manger. Time seemed to stand still as these scriptures reminded me of the hope of God's promise,

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)

My child, along with everyone at the altar, led us to worship the child who leads us to a life of grace, of mercy, of forgiveness. He ushered an eternal kingdom in a temporal, broken world; a kingdom of justice and grace in a world in desperate need. In his kingdom of peace, love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other (Psalm 85:10).

When I lie down to sleep tonight, memories of this Christmas day will fill my mind. I will recall our festive hats, gifts exchanged with the best neighbors, our family walks, hugs, and laughter, the clever homemade Jeopardy game I lost gladly to well-educated children, meaningful texts full of grace and cheer, phone calls, invitations, cookies, and conversations with loved ones not seen nearly enough. I will also recall specific gifts, like the perfect laptop case and the various homemade gifts that will bring lasting joy.

And after all quiets down, my heart will swell as I give thanks once more for the greatest gift of all, the gift that makes all good things possible. James 1:17 reminds us that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. As I lie down to sleep, I will give thanks for the One who came wrapped in swaddling cloths to enter an imperfect world and fill it with light, mercy, and grace.

This week we were blessed to seefor just a few seconds—a full moon over our Christmas tree. Having visited Assisi, the home of St. Francis, this summer, my first reaction was to welcome Sister Moon, as he called her. Then I thought of John 9:5, where Jesus proclaimed, 

While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

Sister Moon over our tree. (© 2018)
I'm so glad I took a photo right away, for about two minutes later, we couldn't see the moon anymore. 

The good news of Christmas is that the light of Christ does not dim or depart the heart that welcomes it. The good news is that he's here to stay, meeting us right where we are, and replacing our chaos with order, our fears with hope, and what is dead with life. And the great news is that he came for all, just as we are. 

This Christmas, perhaps more than ever, I am so grateful for the gift of life, health, friendship, and love. I am grateful for the gift of faith, family, and love. And I am grateful for the gift of time to embrace and know the One who made himself small and vulnerable—for you and for me.

I wish you a blessed and meaningful Christmas season full of all the goodness that comes down from the Father of lights.

Dr Mari

Friday, September 21, 2018

A New Dawn: How Music Helped My Island Heal

by Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD

A year ago yesterday, on September 20, 2018, Hurricane María made landfall in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico at 6:15 AM, changing the island in an instant. From that day on, what had been easy became difficult or impossible and, for nearly everyone, the basics previously taken for granted were suddenly gone, overnight. Although many outside the island didn't grasp how unprecedented these events were, the uniquely hospitable and resilient people of Puerto Rico faced the disaster with inspiring generosity, grit, and grace.

Yesterday, beauty and hope filled Yabucoa's skies at exactly the same time as the storm hit a year ago. Alberto Carrión joined the University of Puerto Rico Choir (Cayey campus) to sing Amanecer Borincano, which speaks of a new dawn in the land of Borínquen, the Taíno Indian name for the island of Puerto Rico.

Directed by internationally renowned choir conductor, Amarilis Pagán-Vila, the choir greeted the one-year anniversary with joyful singing. Sprinkled throughout is the heartwarming song of our beloved coquí, as if to remind us, "I'm still here. Don't you worry. I'm still here."

This beautiful tribute to the spirit and soul of the people of Puerto Rico reminds me that a rainbow awaits us after every storm even if, at times, we can't discern it fully or must wait for its full display.  

May this gesture of hope fill our hearts with the joy of living and help us count our blessings today and every day. And may it move us to pray for and support those now finding their way to a new life after Hurricane Florence as well.

Watch the video (in Spanish) here.

Let the Light Shine!

Dr Mari

For more inspiration in light of the hurricanes, read A Poem for Borinquen (and a Message of Hope).

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Giving Physicians Control Over Their Futures

In 2018, healthcare has become an obstacle course. As physicians, the most highly-trained professionals in the healthcare team, we now spend 2/3 of our time on administrative tasks and 1/3 on patient care. We didn't sacrifice years of our lives and incur huge amounts of debt to become data entry clerks. No wonder the rates of burnout are so high!

Although the challenges are real, this is a time of tremendous opportunity. Physicians are rising up, empowering one another and advocating effectively for patient safety and for our noble profession. This is one reason I've partnered with Reimbursement Rx to help equip physicians to get paid for the work they already do while remaining focused on what drew us to medicine:  

Caring for people with excellence and compassion.

This summer, I'll be the guest speaker June 16-17 in Englewood, New Jersey during an information-packed seminar to empower our colleagues. Join us to learn about:

Contract Negotiation
Proper Coding & Billing
Health Insurance & Medicare Contracting
HMO & Foundation Contracting
Contracting SMARTER as a Healthcare Professional
RVU's & CEO's
... and so Much More!

As guest speaker, I will inspire and help equip physicians with practical ways to recapture the joy and heart of medicine.

Help me spread the word about this unique seminar

Sign up before May 18 for a discounted rate!

Contact me here if you have questions.

Take Control of Your Financial Future.


Empowering Docs,

Dr Mari

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