Dr. Schwab teaches a semester-long seminar at the University of Texas at Dallas on the role of story in illness and healing, and speaks in university and medical school classroom settings and at grand rounds and medical conferences. He also speaks at hospitals and other medical staff gatherings, at medical humanities conferences, and to community groups with an interest in health care. His talks cover a variety of topics relating to the intersection of the humanities and medicine. A list of specific titles is listed below. In some of his presentations, Dr. Schwab includes songs that he has written related to the topic.

If you would like to have Dr. Schwab speak to your group, please complete the contact form below. Dr. Schwab will call you to discuss your needs.  All presentations can be tailored for time requirements and can be personalized upon request.

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Titles of Presentations: 

Creative Persuasion: An Underutilized Leadership Competency

This presentation focuses on the use of art as a persuasive tool for changing behavior. Although we believe we are logical, rational beings, most change comes about based on emotion, which is the purview of art. Students will be led first through a discussion of leadership philosophy and competencies, and then will explore how art is an effective vehicle for creating change.

A Proactive Prescription for Burnout Prevention

Medical education is a risky endeavor. Data shows conclusively that half of all practicing physicians demonstrate symptoms of burnout, and the risk appears to be similar for residents and medical students. Burnout is associated with higher risk of alcoholism, unprofessional behavior, and commission of medical errors, as well as suicidal thoughts, which occur in 10% of medical students. While medical school curricula are evolving to help prevent, identify, and treat burnout, change will take time. This presentation offers a four-part personal program that will assist students in maintaining physical, mental, and spiritual health, and in capturing the joy of a career in medicine.

Humanism and the Development of the Complete Physician 

Compassion, altruism, and empathy are the verities of the medical profession, and empathy is the key to becoming a healer rather than a disease fighter. This presentation defines and discusses empathy in depth, and describes the ways that empathy can be acquired. Art offers the opportunity to develop empathy vicariously, without having to suffer or experience the suffering of loved ones. We will discuss how artistic talent enables the development of empathy. 

Become A Healer 

The miracles of science and technology have improved the health of mankind and occupy a deservedly dominant place in medical school curricula. However, failure to attend to the human side of caregiving, which is what attracted most people to the profession, can lead to disillusionment and delivery of suboptimal care. This presentation focuses on the characteristics of the ideal physician/healer and offers recommendations for how to nurture those characteristics.

Healing The Healer: Using Art To Combat Burnout and Compassion Fatigue 

Burnout—a feeling of disconnectedness from one’s work and patients—is rising to alarming rates among caregivers. This presentation will discuss the causes of burnout and offer solutions to the problem. 

Dear Doctor: Moving Forward With A View To The Past

This presentation is a deconstruction of a song lyric written by the speaker that facilitates a discussion of the social and personal challenges impacting the doctor-patient relationship. The presentation illustrates the way poetry uses wordplay, rhythm, and imagery to create a powerful emotional response. 

An Ethical Walk With Your Patient

A detailed discussion about how to approach end-of-life conversations, including the ethical imperatives of assuming the physician’s role, legal considerations, and practical tips for healing when a cure is not possible. 

Talking And Thinking About End Of Life Care 

An overview for the general public or healthcare professionals. Why is it important to understand and discuss end of life care? What external factors make this particularly important now? 

Holy Water: How Physicians Develop Their Professional Identity

Using readings from the novel, the author discusses the factors that influence young people entering, or contemplating a career as a physician, and how these factors ultimately help shape the kind of physicians they become. 

A New Ethical Paradigm For Medical Practice

Beneficence, non-maleficence, and autonomy are the cornerstones of medical ethics. While these principles remain relevant, and indeed fundamental to ethical medical practice, they are insufficiently specific to effect behavioral change. This presentation provides additional principles and specific, detailed behaviors that can lead to more ethically appropriate, therapeutically effective, and mutually satisfying professional interactions between physicians and patients. 

Aging Well: Preparing For The Final Chapter 

Like it or not, we are all traveling inexorably toward our own death, and although we would like to believe that the path will be smooth and the ending swift and merciful, it is likely that many of us will struggle and suffer with chronic progressive disease. This brief presentation introduces the concepts of illness and suffering, and how anyone can become a healer for themselves and for others. This presentation is appropriate for the general public, not just healthcare professionals. 

Care Is Never Futile: The Healing Alternative To Aggressive Medical Intervention At The End Of Life 

This presentation is for healthcare professionals or physicians-in-training, and offers a in-depth introduction to the philosophy and practice of palliative care, emphasizing the focus on an individual’s illness experience so that healing can be achieved, even when a cure is impossible.


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