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Gut Feelings: Doctors and Patient-Centered Care

Gut Feelings: Providers Achieving Patient-Centered Care is the third installment in a series focused on gut-brain disorders and the care of patients affected by these conditions. Building on the success of the first two books in the series, Gut Feelings: Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction and the Patient-Doctor Relationship, and Gut Feelings: The Patient's Story Personal Accounts of the Illness Journey, this book features narratives from 14 renowned medical providers who are experts in Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBI), as well as champions of patient-centered care. The book emphasizes the need for the medical community to shift its mindset regarding these disorders, as patients with DGBIs often face skepticism and are sometimes disregarded due to the absence of visible diagnostic evidence. By sharing their poignant stories, these providers demonstrate the power and transformative effects of compassionate and innovative approaches to patient care. 

Gut Feelings: Providers Achieving Patient-Centered Care is a book for both providers and patients. For medical professionals, the book serves as a wellspring of inspiration, providing profound insights and wisdom garnered from the unique experiences of these clinicians. Aspiring practitioners and early-career providers will find invaluable guidance within its pages, enabling them to embrace patient-centered care as a core principle in their medical journeys. Patients too will find value in this book, becoming empowered to seek medical providers who are patient-centered, foster shared decision-making, and treat their patients with respect and dignity.

Gut Feelings: Providers Achieving Patient-Centered Care, represents the fruitful, multi-year collaboration between Dr. Drossman, a distinguished gastroenterologist trained in psychiatry, and Ms. Ruddy, a dedicated educator with personal experience as a patient. Their passion for and unwavering dedication to the field of DGBI have yielded profound results, generating vital awareness within both the medical and patient communities. By shedding light on these often misunderstood and stigmatized disorders, their collaborative efforts have fostered a greater understanding and compassion for those who suffer from them, leading to improved care and support.

Erin Landis
President and CEO
Landis Editorial Consulting
Wow, what a privilege to get a glimpse into the lives and careers of some of the greatest minds in gastroenterology and DGBIs! From a patients perspective, it is incredibly heartening to see the “human” in each of these clinicians, whom all bring a unique purpose into their research and practice. And yet, each story ultimately ends with a similar goal - to bring compassion and hope into their interactions with patients.

So often DGBI patients can feel as though they are lost in a system of providers. To learn that the leading minds in GI have at times felt the same way and turned that into purpose and passion is humbling. As a new psychologist, I have often heard the phrase “we all bring a little of ourselves into the therapy room.” It is a wonderful feeling to know how true that statement is for so many clinicians in a variety of fields.

For those curious about this unique field, I hope these perspectives give you a renewed sense of faith in the field and encouragement to achieve your goals in medicine. As a patient of Dr. Drossman, one of these amazing people, I hope others who are fighting to find the care they need will take from this book that there are providers out there who can help and truly care. And when you find that physician who will take that next step with you, I hope you get a gut feeling, except a good one this time.

Lesley Isaacs, Psy.D.
Provider and patient
As both a mental health provider and a patient, I found the book, Gut Feelings: Doctors and Patient-Centered Care to be a captivating exploration of the medical profession. The narratives shared within its pages delve deep into the personal stories of various healthcare professionals, shedding light on their unique paths into medicine and the underlying factors that ignited their passion. What truly sets this book apart is its focus on the intrinsic human qualities that bind these individuals together, transcending their roles as mere practitioners.

One aspect that stood out to me was the inclusion of the providers' perspectives on finding happiness, meaning, and purpose within their work. By examining the vital connections between their personal journeys and their dedication to patient care, the book offers a refreshing and humanizing portrayal of these high-achieving intellectuals. It celebrates their vulnerabilities, emphasizing the significance of support from family and culture, as well as the influence of personal or family illness. Additionally, the book explores the diverse range of avocations pursued by these professionals, illustrating the importance of creative outlets and stress reduction in maintaining a balanced and fulfilling career.

In highlighting the crucial role of mentorship, the book reveals the profound impact that guidance and support have on shaping the next generation of healthcare providers. Moreover, the emphasis on a biopsychosocial patient-centered model of care speaks to the pressing need for a more holistic approach in the doctor-patient relationship. The authors skillfully convey the hardships faced by these dedicated individuals, fostering a sense of empathy and reminding us of the extraordinary dedication and resilience required in the medical field.

This book represents a significant contribution to the literature on healthcare by providing a thought-provoking exploration of the human side of medicine. By unearthing the stories of doctors and their profound connection to their work, it offers readers a unique perspective and a deeper understanding of the values that drive these extraordinary individuals. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in gaining insight into the multifaceted world of healthcare and the deeply personal motivations that shape the lives of those within it.

Katherine Wald, LCSW
Licensed Psychotherapist and Patient
Dr. Drossman and Johanna Ruddy round out their series on Gut Feelings with personalized practitioner stories and strong arguments for why young physicians should consider the field of DGBIs. However, the key takeaway is that regardless of a chosen area of medicine, all providers MUST engage with patients on an equal level to achieve viable and lasting outcomes. Each doctor’s story reflects varied cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Yet, each shares commonalities of resiliency in their personal lives as well as treating patients deemed difficult or untreatable, meeting and working with dedicated and inspirational mentors, working hands on with patients as well as immersing in cutting edge research, and creating relationships with patients and other professionals to offer the highest levels of care. This text should be required reading for all students entering the medical field! 

Alex Gebler 
Gut Feelings Doctors and Patient Centered Care is quite informative and inspirational. As a patient with DGBI who has suffered with pain for over twenty years, it it good to know that there are doctors who won’t give up on you. Speaking from experience, I finally found help with Dr. Drossman, one of the authors.

The book features stories about doctors who have made it their life’s work to help patients with difficult to treat gastrointestinal problems. They report treating the entire patient doing detailed histories. Taking into account physical as will as emotional symptoms of their patients. They are coming from a mind-body perspective.

The book reports each doctor’s journey to becoming a specialist in treating DGBI disorders as well as reviewing their clinical experience with patients. It is comforting to know that there are doctors who9 provide this special kind of treatment.

Linda Brighi
Gut Feelings: Doctors and Patient-Centered Care” is the 3rd book in the DGBI series. What is woven throughout the fabric of the provider stories highlighted in this book is a combination of complexity, curiosity, communication, collaboration and above all else empathy. The 14 providers' stories and medical backgrounds are as unique and complex as the patients they treat. The humanity of this book really brings to light the clinical and qualitative value of a collaborative open and trusting relationship that is truly patient centered. After all, the patient is seeing the doctor for a reason - to be validated in their disease experience when many previous providers have been dismissive or perplexed and to find a partner in managing the symptoms of their disease and a qualitative life as defined by them.

Many patients when they do reach these doctors, as the book illustrates, are at their wits end, without hope, facing drastic treatment measures and are desperately in search of explanations and management strategies/tools to live the life they want to live. They want to be heard. All of this begins with active listening, collaboration and empathy driven by the patient's expertise on their bodies and minds and the the providers' ability to facilitate care through creating a relationship that is founded in all of those proactive concepts.

As a patient with DGBI and a long complex journey and comorbidities like many patients with DGBI, I strongly recommend reading and taking to heart and clinical mind the messages in this book (as well as the 1st two books). After all, it is the very happiness the book highlights (the eudaimonics) that we are all searching for, patients and providers alike.

Allison Kinnarney
I had the privilege of reading and commenting on Dr. Drossman and Johannah Ruddy’s third book in the Gut Feelings series. Each of the books offer different perspectives on the clinical experience by the physicians that care for patients with Disorders of the Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBI), formerly Functional GI Disorders, and the patients that seek help for their disorder.

Gut Feelings: Doctors and Patient-Centered Care offers a completely different perspective, from the previous books, about the clinicians that care for patients. Dr. Drossman and Johannah have allowed the clinicians to share their personal connection to the medical profession and why they chose to guide patients through the clinical process. The clinicians assembled are a dream team of experts in the field of gastroenterology. I have known many of these experts for over twenty years due to my own patient advocacy efforts. Much of what I know in the GI space is due to the work performed by this dream team; however, until now, I was unaware of the reasons why these experts chose the study and practice of gastroenterology and namely DGBIs.

The stories authored by the experts are compelling and genuine. I would expect nothing less from these individuals who are amongst the world’s top key opinion leaders in DGBI. There are indications that many believe that DGBI patients are difficult and DGBI is not as treatable for instance as Inflammatory Bowel Disease or perhaps liver disease. These experts do not see it this way and they share why. They are very motivated to give their patients a better quality of life and advance the research in these challenging disorders.

Dr. Drossman identifies why this book could appeal both to doctors focusing on this area in medicine and DGBI patients. Doctors aspiring to be an expert in DGBIs will understand from the clinician stories how rewarding this very difficult work can be. They will see that many of the experts chose their own path and researched what they felt was an unmet need or where there were few answers for their patient’s symptoms. Patients will develop a deeper connection to a clinician that they might want to seek guidance from. Dr. Drossman and Johannah even list the practices of these experts with details about how patients can make an appointment.

When I heard from Dr Drossman and Johannah about the format of this book, I wasn’t sure it would be appealing to everyone. After reading it from cover-to-cover, I clearly understand how valuable this book is for mentoring the next generation of DGBI experts. Patients will gain a better understanding of who they can contact to work with their DGBI. It’s a very worthy book that I know I will be referring to often when asked for referrals by patients and clinicians.

Jeffrey D. Roberts, MSEd, BSc
Founder IBS Patient Support Group and World IBS Day
Co-Founder Tuesday Night IBS
This book is essential for anyone who has struggled with moderate to severe GI issues, especially those who suffer from conditions that are difficult to diagnose. The book opens with an explanation that, unlike other GI conditions (ulcer disease, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.) disorders of the gut-brain interaction are not caused by structural anomalies or pathological findings-which can make diagnosing extremely difficult. This 3rd installment focuses on 14 clinicans who specialize in Neurogastroenterology, their early life, and their approach to the field.

A common denominator of the listed clinicans are their emphasis on patient-provider relationship. Understanding how to approach patients appropriately is an essential part of the diagnostic process, and the following clinicians go into detail on how they do so in their own practices. The 3rd installment is an absolute must-read for anyone struggling with finding an appropriate provider, or struggling with finding a provider willing to listen and work with them. The book gives in-depth examples, which can be followed by providers and patients alike.

Hope Hiester, Patient
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