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Keywords: Participatory medicine, empowered patient, patient-provider partnership, shared decision making.
Citation: Smith CW. A tribute to Jessie Gruman, founding JoPM co-editor. J Participat Med. 2014 Jul 25; 6:e11.
Published: July 25, 2014.
Competing Interests: The author has declared that no competing interests exist.

Our dear friend and colleague, Jessie Gruman, died last week after a long battle with cancer. The leaders of the Participatory Medicine movement and the editorial staff of the Journal of Participatory Medicine owe Jessie, one of the founding editors, a great debt of gratitude. Jessie represented the voice of “the patient” as Co-Editor in Chief of the Journal. Her many great qualities included a depth of knowledge about health care policy, good listening skills, being succinct but articulate, willing to challenge the trend of the moment, skepticism about quick or naïve solutions, insistence on high standards for journal content, and an ability to understand providers from a patient’s perspective. She was a great role model for forming successful, functional partnerships with health care providers.

While it is often tempting and understandable to cast blame on providers and the broken system, Jessie took the time and effort to be deeply thoughtful about the root of the problem, and to point out the part that patients themselves must own. But, on the other hand, she was also ready and willing to place blame where blame is due, and it is often the providers and the “system” that is the source of the problem. Jessie had a uniquely constructive approach to Participatory Medicine that will be sorely missed and will not easily be replaced.

Our lives were enriched by her intellect, her humor and her friendship. Participatory Medicine is different, and better, because of what Jessie accomplished while she lived, and by what she has left behind. We should all aspire to leave as meaningful a legacy. So, dear friend, good bye, and rest in peace.

Copyright: © 2014 Charles W. Smith. Published here under license by The Journal of Participatory Medicine. Copyright for this article is retained by the author, with first publication rights granted to the Journal of Participatory Medicine. All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. By virtue of their appearance in this open-access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.