Danielle Ofri, M.D., Ph.D.
Author, "When We Do Harm" and "What Patients Say; What Doctors Hear" | "New York Times" writer on doctor-patient connection
Danielle Ofri MD, PhD is one of the foremost voices in the medical world today, shining an unflinching light on the realities of healthcare and speaking passionately about the doctor-patient relationship. At a time when frustration is at an all-time high for doctors, nurses, patients, and their families, Danielle’s unique voice and extraordinary perceptiveness help unravel the complex layers of modern medicine.
Praised as "a born story-teller and a born physician" by Oliver Sacks, Danielle is renown for her inspiring and engaging talks. She avoids PowerPoint, instead weaving in captivating stories alongside the latest medical trends, unafraid to reach counterintuitive solutions.
Danielle writes regularly for The New Yorker, the New York Times, and The Atlantic about the state of healthcare today and the critical connection between clinicians and patients. She is the author of a collection of books about the world of medicine, including her newest book about patient safety: When We Do Harm: A Doctor Confronts Medical Error.
What Patients Say; What Doctors Hear, tackles the critical issue of communication between clinicians and patients — how gaps in communication can be deadly and how refocusing the conversation can improve health outcomes.
In her critically acclaimed book, What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine Danielle upends stereotypes in the medical world and explores the hidden emotional world of the doctor and its impact on patient care.
As a practicing internist at Bellevue Hospital — the nation’s oldest public hospital and perhaps its most legendary — Danielle speaks with the authenticity of a physician directly engaged in the front lines of medical care. On a daily basis she confronts the major medical issues of our time without losing focus on the individual patient.
In her books and articles, Danielle Ofri has developed a signature style that combines compelling narrative with thoughtful reflection and focused reporting. She uses stories to uncover the mysteries of human life and human nature, to explore the joys and problems of modern medical practice, and to ask questions about society's priorities. A popular and engaging speaker, Danielle can unpack complex issues for community audiences, as well as inspire medical professionals, students, administrators, and educators.
- Clinical Professor of Medicine, New York University
- Attending Physician, Bellevue Hospital
- Contributor, The New York Times op-ed page and health section
- Author of: When We Do Harm, What Patients Say What Doctors Hear, What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine, Medicine in Translation: Journeys with my Patients, Singular Intimacies: Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue, and Incidental Findings: Lessons from my Patients in the Art of Medicine
- Recipient, National Humanism in Medicine Medal from the Gold Foundation
- Recipient, Listening Legend Award from the Global Listening Center
- Essays published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Slate, New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, The Los Angeles Times, and on NPR
- Writings included in Best American Essays 2005 & 2002 and Best American Science Writing 2003
- Editor-in-Chief, Bellevue Literary Review
- Recipient, the Missouri Review Editor's Prize for nonfiction
- Recipient, McGovern award from the American Medical Writers Association
- Associate chief editor of the award-winning textbook The Bellevue Guide to Outpatient Medicine
- PhD, pharmacology; MD; internal medicine
WHY SHOULD LAWYERS CARE WHAT DOCTORS FEEL? A RISK MANAGEMENT PRIMER
Malpractice and Medical Error: Lawyers tend to meet up with doctors only in the charged setting of medical malpractice, when doctors are radically changed from their usual selves. Geared toward risk managers, this presentation examines how doctors commit errors, hide errors, and alter their medical practice because of errors. It digs deep into the harrowing experiences of physicians who’ve experienced medical error and malpractice suits, illuminating the powerful emotional challenges to all who are involved.
FOR WHOM DO WE WRITE?
Medical Writers: An Epidemic? More than any other field, medicine seems to inspire writing. Doctors, nurses, and medical professionals of all stripes have turned to writing, giving rise to a new set of ethical dilemmas. This presentation illuminates the inherent connections between story-telling and medicine in a way that is accessible to a wide-ranging audience.
THE GOOD DOCTOR: CHEKHOV OR MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL?
Medical Professionalism: Professionalism is a hot-button issue in the medical world. As the field comes under assault from all corners, medical professionals can feel besieged and demoralized. Seeking inspiration from Chekhov, Sports Illustrated, and the legions of patients in a clinician's life, this presentation strives to help healthcare workers — especially those in training — avoid becoming ungrounded and losing their sense of self. An unusual look at medical professionalism.
WHY WOULD ANYONE BECOME A DOCTOR?
Medicine Today and Tomorrow: Medicine is increasingly portrayed as a field that no one in their right mind would consider: the debt burden for medical students is gargantuan, regulations strangulate the practice of good medicine, litigious patients lurk in every corner, doctors are disillusioned in droves. Is this all really true? This presentation is geared toward an undergraduate and general audience, examining the current state of medicine, focusing on what it really means to be a doctor today, and why some of us wouldn’t give it up for the world.
MEDICINE IN TRANSLATION: JOURNEYS WITH OUR PATIENTS
Multiculturalism and Diversity: Like all areas in our culture, medicine faces many challenges in our multicultural society. Stereotypes and unconscious bias can subtly undermine medicine’s commitment to patient care. With a candid assessment of how biases infiltrate medicine, this presentation focuses on creative ways to bridge cultural gaps.
A SINGULAR INTIMACY: CONNECTING THE BRIDGE BETWEEN CLINICIAN AND PATIENT
Bringing Back the Humanity to Medicine: Despite enormous advances in healthcare, patients and clinicians alike are dissatisfied with their experience. So much of medicine has been boiled down to rote algorithms and assembly-line care. Seeking inspiration from the gripping narratives of medicine to the unlikely poetry of the ICU, this presentation probes the most fundamental aspect of medical care — how clinicians and patients connect.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE: OLD AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN MEDICINE
Technology in Medicine: Technology is transforming medicine at a breathless pace. From computerized treatment algorithms to artificial intelligence, every aspect of medicine has been refashioned by the digital revolution. This presentation digs into the technologies of medicine — some ancient, some disarmingly simple, some revolutionary, and some impressively overwrought — to examine the impact of this ongoing metamorphosis, and what it means for the medical professionals and patients who must navigate it.
THE AMYGDALA AND THE STETHOSCOPE: DO EMOTIONS AFFECT THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE?
Emotions, Clinicians, and Patients: Despite our commitment to the scientific method, medical professionals are not nearly as rational and evidence-based as we tell ourselves that we are. Emotions permeate our clinical decision-making, whether we choose to acknowledge this or not. The presentation offers an unflinching look at how emotions affect clinicians and the medical care they are able to give their patients.
STORYTELLING IN MEDICINE: THE PASSION AND THE PERIL
The Power of Narrative: Caring for patients is never easy. In addition to being swamped by medical intricacies, medical professionals often find that they are submerged in their patients’ stories. This can be exhilarating or painful or both. But like patients, healthcare workers need stories. Why, after all, do so many of our medical journals publish stories in their otherwise statistically significant pages? To be skilled clinicians, we must be able to interpret our patients’ metaphors. If we insist on thinking concretely, we’ll miss out on the many layers of meaning...and maybe miss the diagnosis too.
WHAT PATIENTS SAY, WHAT DOCTORS HEAR (AND VICE VERSA)
The Power of Words: Despite modern medicine’s infatuation with high-tech gadgetry, the single most powerful diagnostic tool in the medical armamentarium is the the conversation with the patient. However, what patients say and what clinicians hear are often two vastly different things. When you add in stereotypes, unconscious bias, multitasking, and fear of lawsuits, the risk of misdiagnosis and medical errors multiplies. This presentation examines how refocusing the conversation between patients and clinicians can lead to better health outcomes.
FAILURE TO THRIVE: IS THE DIAGNOSIS REALLY BURNOUT?
The Changing Landscape of Medicine: Burnout among healthcare professionals appears to be at epidemic proportions these days with, concomitant gushing prescriptions for wellness and resilience. But in reality, most are not burned out, in the traditional sense of the word: most of us love taking care of patients and want nothing more than to be able to do just that. This presentation examines the buffeting forces upon the medical profession and the healthcare industry, and how healthcare professionals survive — and even possibly thrive.
WHEN WE DO HARM: MEDICAL ERROR AND THE HUMAN CONDITION
A Culture of Safety: Patient safety is a critical issue in medicine today. There is, rightly, a strong emphasis on systems approaches to improving medical care and decreasing error. However, medicine is fundamentally a human endeavor. Without attention to the human aspects of the medical enterprise — emotions, cognitive abilities, biases, communication — crucial aspects of patient safety will remain beyond our grasp.
SURVIVING HEALTHCARE AFTER COVID
Inspiration in Medicine: Even before the Covid pandemic, disillusionment in the healthcare field felt like it was reaching epidemic proportions. Many medical professionals say they would never choose the field if they had to do it all over again. Burnout — exacerbated by Covid — seems to be everywhere. But might it be too soon to close the book on healthcare? This presentation examines the impact of disillusionment, highlighting strategies for re-engaging healthcare workers, combating burnout, and thriving in the new era of medicine.
Deconstructing our Perception of Perfetion | TEDMed 2014
Danielle Ofri, M.D., Ph.D.
It's All Relative | The Moth
Danielle Ofri, M.D., Ph.D.
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Excellent. Dr. Ofri as the last speaker was perfectly planned! Thought the first and last presentations were excellent -
Dr. Ofri was such a delight to work with and she did a fantastic job at our Symposium. We had more than 225 people there
On behalf of the […] Medical Association, thank you for giving such a powerful keynote presentation at our Practice Mana
Your presentation was WONDERFUL! You truly are a great storyteller (I knew that to be true through your writing, but you
It was great. She’s a lovely person, very personable, and a great speaker! We so appreciate her coming. Thank you so muc
Danielle Ofri, M.D., Ph.D.
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