President's Message

Each month, AACH President Jenni Levy, MD, FAACH addresses AACH members through her president's message, sharing updates, goals, and information to keep members engaged and involved in the Academy.     

January 2017

Hello! I’m Jenni Levy, and this is my first letter to you in my new role as President of AACH. A little about me: I was a primary care internal medicine doc for twenty years before moving into hospice work. I taught in residency and fellowship programs throughout my clinical career. I am now gainfully unemployed except for a little part-time work as we begin to shepherd our daughter through the college application process and I consider what I’ll do next. I live in Allentown, PA with my husband David and our daughter Emma. Emma is a junior dance major at an arts high school. We recently had the absolute joy of watching her dance in a piece she choreographed for a school recital.

I became a member of AAPP in 1994 and completed the FIT Program in 2004; I served as Website Co-Editor, VP of Communications and VP of Internal Education before becoming President-Elect last year. As VP of Internal Education, I was responsible for the FIT program, ENRICH and the Winter Course. During the three years I held that position, we changed the duration of ENRICH, restructured the Winter Course, and began to restructure the FIT Program to better meet the needs of the FITS and the organization. It was an honor to be involved in such a thoughtful process.

This is not the same organization I joined over 20 years ago. We are larger and more diverse in every way. Our educational focus has shifted from the physician-patient interview to the larger field of relationship-centered care. Through the efforts of Calvin Chou and Laura Cooley, we now reach many more people through our external education courses than through ENRICH. The Forum and ICCH continue to expand and provide a showcase for cutting-edge research in communication skills. Last year we combined the Forum and ENRICH for the first time; we hope this will help us foster connections between the education and research communities. I am looking forward to collaborating with Russell Rothman, the President Elect and former VP for Research.

In the coming year, AACH will be looking outward and inward. Thanks to the stewardship of our previous Presidents and Treasurers, and especially to the extraordinary support from AMR, we are on a solid financial footing. We will be looking inward to consider how we can invest in our programs and our members. We will continue our work on membership and leadership diversity. At our last Board meeting, we heard the report of the Task Force on Patient Engagement. We will have a Board retreat in the fall to consider the best path forward with their recommendation. Another Task Force reviewed Medical Encounter; we have suspended publishing as we look at options for the future. The Board will also consider a possible name change to better reflect the diversity of our membership and our programming.

We will look outward as we consider alliances with other organizations. We continue to co-sponsor ICCH with EACH and I will have monthly phone calls with the President of EACH as we work to ensure the health of our fruitful collaboration. The Health Literacy Annual Research Conference is a co-sponsor of ICCH in Baltimore; there are other like-minded organizations with whom we might partner in the same way. DocCom continues to grow; managing editor Barbara Lewis is overseeing a major update. Planning is well underway for ENRICH in Los Angeles this June and for the next combined ENRICH/Forum in 2018. Stay tuned for more details!

You will hear more about these changes in upcoming President’s Letters; I hope you will also hear from other members of AACH leadership. I would like to hear from you as well. This is our organization, and our mission is to foster healthy relationships. I hope my year as your President forges an even deeper relationship with many of you.



Mission + Vision

Mission Statement:

AACH is the professional home for all those who are committed to improving communication and relationships in healthcare.  

AACH accomplishes this through:

  • Welcoming researchers, educators, clinicians, patients, patient advocates, and all members of the healthcare team.
  • Providing opportunities for collaboration, support and personal and professional development.
  • Identifying strengths, resources and needs of patients, their family members and healthcare professionals, both as unique individuals and in relationship to one another. 
  • Developing skills that integrate biological, psychological and social domains.
  • Applying existing scholarship from multiple disciplines and developing new knowledge through research.
  • Promoting collaborative relationships between clinicians and patients, teachers and learners, and all members of the health care team.
  • Incorporating core values of respect, empathy and genuineness in human relationships and the importance of self-awareness in all activities. 

Vision Statement:

A health care system where all patients, healthcare professionals, trainees and researchers feel valued, are treated equitably with respect, compassion, understanding, and are actively engaged in healthcare processes and decisions.

Basic Beliefs We Share as an Organization

  1. AACH believes that the healing human relationship among healthcare professionals, patients and their families is a critical aspect of healthcare. We believe that highly performing interpersonal and inter-professional delivery systems are necessary to achieve the greatest benefit from our biotechnical services.
  2. AACH believes in the highest quality, most fully accessible and cost-effective health care for all.
  3. AACH believes that relationship skills, communication skills, and teaching skills are learnable and teachable.
  4. AACH believes that improved relationships and communication enhance team and patient satisfaction, reduce errors and grievances, improve efficacy, efficiency and safety, and enhance health outcomes, as documented in the peer-reviewed literature.
  5. AACH believes that organizational investment in the continuous quality improvement of relationships and communication rewards the organization in many dimensions.
  6. AACH believes in learner-centered methods of teaching and coaching, facilitating discovery of learning needs and preferred learning styles.
  7. AACH leaders and teachers live the relationship-centered human values we teach, with each other in the organization and in our interactions with patients, family members, colleagues on the health care team, clients, and interested others; we strive to remain curious about and respectful of all forms of diversity that our individual experiences bring to our relationships.
  8. AACH is committed to evidence-based practice in healthcare and teaching, grounded in highest quality research that continually informs our work.
  9. AACH is committed to promoting diversity in its membership and leadership, including but not limited to diversity in profession, seniority, interests, gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. It believes that such diversity is critical to attaining the best research, scholarship, teaching, health care and other strategic goals of the Academy. Accordingly, AACH believes it essential to assertively recruit under-represented minorities into our organization.
  10. AACH is committed to assisting in the training of under-represented minority healthcare professionals and to reducing healthcare disparities.
  11. AACH is committed to human relationships grounded in integrity, congruence, transparency, empathy and unconditional positive regard. 
  12. As a non-profit human service organization, AACH adheres to a clear mission and assures that resources are used on mission-centered activities.

[Our basic beliefs were developed by participants at the 2009 Winter Course and edited by the Executive Committee. The mission, vision, and beliefs were updated by the Board in February 2014 and October 2015.]

2016 President Message Archives

Watch your inbox for the President’s message each month. If you miss an email, you can visit this page for archives of past messages.

2015 President Message Archives

Watch your inbox for the President’s message each month. If you miss an email, you can visit this page for archives of past messages.

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