Telltale Hearts: A Public Health Doctor, His Patients, and the Power of Story (Hardcover)
A doctor's powerful meditation on what his patients taught him, and what they can teach us about listening, healing, and public health.
For over three decades, Dr. Dean-David Schillinger has served in one of the country’s busiest and most important public hospitals. A public health leader and primary care physician for underserved patients, Schillinger learned that high-tech tests and novel medications are often not enough to save lives. Rather, accurate diagnosis, treatment and true healing come from listening deeply to patients and their stories.
In Telltale Hearts, Schillinger reveals what is lost when patients’ stories are ignored or overlooked, and how much is gained when these stories are actively elicited. The stories themselves, at times shocking and always revelatory, disclose secrets, prompt awe, forge unexpected connections, and even catalyze public health action. Each vignette delves into a patient's complicated life, uncovering numerous factors that influence their medical outcomes. Together, these stories provide a narrative roadmap, guiding the reader to a deeper understanding of the societal forces that shape health, disease, and recovery, and advocating for a transformative shift in medical care and public health. Telltale Hearts serves as a call to action, urging us to reshape public policy to improve the nation's health.
About the Author
Dean-David Schillinger MD is a primary care physician, scientist, author, and public health advocate. He is an internationally recognized expert in health communication and has been widely recognized for his work related to improving the health of marginalized populations. He is credited with a number of discoveries in primary care and health communication and is considered a pioneer of the field of health literacy. He is the inaugural recipient of the Andrew B. Bindman Professorship in Primary Care and Health Policy at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Schillinger has served as chief of the UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital, and chief of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program for the California Department of Public Health. In 2006, he co-founded the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, a leading research center committed to addressing the social, environmental and commercial determinants of health through research, education, policy, and practice. He currently directs the UCSF Health Communications Research Program.