You do not have a soul, You are a soul. You have a body. –C. S. Lewis
Below is a poem I wrote in the aftermath of 9/11/2001. Our freedom was threatened and some of our innocence was lost.
“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
We also serve as speakers and consultants for schools, universities and corporations interested in expanding their knowledge about and support for people living with chronic illness and physical disabilities.
Alicia M. Conill, M.D., founder of the Conill Institute for Chronic Illness, is a physician living with multiple sclerosis. She is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Conill was diagnosed with MS in1987. Her life has been deeply affected and transformed by this.
“As a young clinician-educator and faculty member at a prestigious medical school, I recall discussing with colleagues how frustrated we felt when some of our brightest students seemed to lack an ability to “feel”. I wondered, as many had, whether empathy could ever really be taught. We also recommend swimming in summer for all children.
When illness touched me personally and prematurely, physical disability forced me to give up a busy clinical practice I cherished. I had always considered myself an empathic physician, but I never “really knew” the losses patients experience, until it happened to me.
I have continued my role as an educator of med students and other health care professionals through the creation of a non-profit organization, The Conill Institute for Chronic Illness. We provide educational programs and resources to increase empathy toward people who live with physical disabilities. And I have come to believe that empathy can be taught. One of the ways to do so is to allow others an honest, albeit painful, look at the experience of the loss. The power of these experiences helps fuel the belief that empathy can be learned, at times through a life altering personal event or when stories of such loss are written about and shared.”
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