President's Message


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

September 2017

The scene outside my window looks like autumn – gorgeous blue sky, red-edged leaves on the maple in my backyard, a gentle breeze. When I walk outside, it still feels like summer. It’s a transitional time of year.

It’s also a transitional time in the Jewish liturgical calendar as we observe Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, which begin with Rosh Hashanah and end with Yom Kippur. Our tradition tells us that this is the time of year when our destiny is decided. We imagine that gates open on Rosh Hashanah and close on Yom Kippur, and in between we hang in the balance. Even if we don’t believe there is a divine force writing our name in a great book, this is a time that feels set apart. We are taught that teshuvah can improve our fate; teshuvah is often translated as repentance but also means turning.  We turn inward to reflect on the year gone by; we turn outward and ask for forgiveness from those we have wronged; we turn to transcendence in whatever form it exists for us, and seek peace.

While teshuvah is a private, individual process, when we seek divine forgiveness, we do so as a community. We recite the Vidui, a communal confessional prayer, because we are all responsible, and we need to come together to build a better world. Judy Chang, the ACH VP for Research, noticed something similar in recent news stories: 

Recently the images on our television screens and smart phones had been those of nature’s power and relentlessness. Yet these have been paired with stories of courage, kindness, collaboration, and generosity that have served as reminders of the power of community and partnership. The International Conference on Communication and Healthcare is just around the corner—October 8-11, 2017 (onsite registration is available).

ICCH is the manifestation of the longstanding partnership ACH enjoys with the European Association on Communication in Healthcare. This year’s ICCH further partners with the International Health Literacy Association by combining with Health Literacy Annual Conference. It has also been exciting to learn from the conference planning committee that the theme of partnerships has extended to inviting patient stakeholder participation that was made possible by a PCORI grant award. We are also excited that the ACH Research Committee members will be making themselves available to partner with new or longstanding ACH members interested in increasing ACH involvement—Research Committee members will be wearing identifying ribbons to invite folks to approach them at any time during the conference.

The fate of ACH is not decided by a divine being writing in a large book but rather by all of us, and we do our best work when we come together. In the nine months I’ve been President, I’ve had the opportunity to learn much more about our research-oriented members and our partnership with EACH. I am excited to attend ICCH and learn more about HARC. Please come up and introduce yourself if you see me wandering the halls and poster sessions.

I wish all of you a sweet year. Shanah tovah!


Mission + Vision

Mission Statement:

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

ACH 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. ACH 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. ACH believes in the highest quality, most fully accessible and cost-effective health care for all.
  3. ACH believes that relationship skills, communication skills, and teaching skills are learnable and teachable.
  4. ACH 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. ACH believes that organizational investment in the continuous quality improvement of relationships and communication rewards the organization in many dimensions.
  6. ACH believes in learner-centered methods of teaching and coaching, facilitating discovery of learning needs and preferred learning styles.
  7. ACH 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. ACH is committed to evidence-based practice in healthcare and teaching, grounded in highest quality research that continually informs our work.
  9. ACH 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, ACH believes it essential to assertively recruit under-represented minorities into our organization.
  10. ACH is committed to assisting in the training of under-represented minority healthcare professionals and to reducing healthcare disparities.
  11. ACH is committed to human relationships grounded in integrity, congruence, transparency, empathy and unconditional positive regard. 
  12. As a non-profit human service organization, ACH 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.]

2017 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.

January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017

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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