Wikipedia says “Participatory medicine is a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health, and … providers encourage and value them as  full partners.”

That movement gets a big boost in credibility today: the Chief Residents at the Mayo Clinic have invited SPM co-chair “e-Patient Dave” to be their Visiting Professor in Internal Medicine next March. The announcement is being made today, during the patient panel at Mayo’s sixth annual social media summit. Here’s their post.

Their press release:



“A union of forces between providers and patients”:
Mayo chiefs name a patient as 2015 Visiting Professor

Every year, the Mayo Internal Medicine Chief Residents have the opportunity to invite a Visiting Professor to come spend several days engaging in educational activities and speaking at Medical Grand Rounds. Invitations are meant to reflect upon the personal interests of the chief residents and the messages we wish to convey to our Medical Grand Round audience – which consists of trainees, consultants, and researchers across the Mayo Clinic Health System.

Over the last three years, previous chief residents have selected leaders in the fields of medical education (Dr. Jeffrey Wiese), quality and safety (Dr. Robert Wachter), and the CDC’s epidemic intelligence service (Dr. Douglas Hamilton). This year, we wanted our choice to represent a field with a similarly widespread impact on the future of medical practice, but also reflect our personalities with an “outside of the box” message.

At the same time we were brainstorming, the Mayo Clinic was celebrating 150 years of service, and we were reminded of the Clinic’s credo:

“The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered,
and in order that the sick may have the benefit of advancing knowledge,
union of forces is necessary.

It has become necessary to develop medicine
as a cooperative science;
the clinician, the specialist, and the laboratory workers
uniting for the good of the patient,
each assisting in elucidation of the problem at hand,
and each dependent upon the other for support.”

– Dr. William J. Mayo

Dr. Will Mayo was stating the importance of a diverse medical team coming together to attain a common goal – the foundation of our institution’s mission has been built around this belief.

However, in our experience, we have found it as important to have a “union of forces” between providers and the patients who entrust us with their care. Patient engagement and empowerment is a natural extension of Dr. Will Mayo’s vision of medicine as a cooperative science. We are therefore honored to announce Dave deBronkart (aka “e–Patient Dave”) as our 2015 Visiting Professor to help spread this powerful message. We look forward to his March, 2015 visit!


Look: “A union of forces between providers and the patients who entrust us with their care.”  This is the first formal recognition I’ve heard of, from any academic medical center, of this new imperative for physicians to join forces with patients as colleagues.

BMJ Tango cover, Sept 18 1999

BMJ, Sept 18 1999

It’s not a radical new thought.  Fifteen years ago the cover of the British Medical Journal (one of the top medical journals in the world) was a tango: “Embracing patient partnership.” But new ideas aren’t adopted rapidly in medicine, so it’s a major milestone to see that this idea now has acceptance from a top name like Mayo.

“Patient engagement and empowerment
is a natural extension of Dr. Will Mayo’s vision
of medicine as a cooperative science.”

What a day for the patient movement. Our Society thanks Mayo’s chiefs for their vision:

Chris Aakre, M.D.
Kimberly Carter, M.D.
Luke Hafdahl, M.D.
Luke Seaburg, M.D.

SPM honors and thanks the many, many patient voices whose work, competence and achievements have illustrated the validity of “Doc Tom” Ferguson’s vision.

Join the movement:
You can join our Society as an individual and as an organization on our Join Us page.

Adapted from a post on Dave’s own site.

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