509: Care: The Missing Piece of Leadership (with Jan Bonhoeffer M.D.)


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Welcome to an episode with a thought leader and global expert on infectious diseases and vaccine safety, Jan Bonhoeffer M.D. Get Jan’s book here: https://amzn.to/3y2x4hZ

In this episode, Jan spoke about his medical career journey, working with different interesting organizations, and how he realized there was a missing piece: care. He spoke about how we often become so focused on solving a problem that we forget to give attention to what we care about – what gives us joy and fulfillment.

In any business or profession, the key is to serve a much bigger purpose, taking your identity into account. As Michael mentioned in this conversation, “True leadership is about understanding who you are.” Leading with empathy requires understanding who you are to resonate and connect with the people you interact with.

Bonhoeffer serves as professor of pediatrics, infectious diseases, and vaccines at the University of Basel Children’s Hospital, Switzerland. As a former consultant with the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control, he co-authored more than 120 peer-reviewed articles in medical journals and led epidemiological pediatric infectious disease and vaccine studies, including international research consortia. For 18 years, he led the Brighton Collaboration, a global leader in not-for-profit vaccine safety research setting research standards, conducting large internationally collaborative research, and investigating vaccine safety concerns. He was a Strategic Advisory Group Member of the WHO Global Vaccine Safety Initiative (GVSI) implementing the vaccine safety strategy of the Global Vaccine Action Plan.

Bonhoeffer graduated from the University of Basel Medical School, Switzerland, and worked in the U.S., the UK, India, and Switzerland. In 2015, he underwent a significant shift in the way that he thought about medicine. He realized that most of the significant moments in his work as a doctor happened when he wasn’t simply executing what he learned in medical school, but when he was participating in a healing event with the patient. He realized that central to this is the quality of the interaction between the health care provider and the patient. It is in this space that innovation, healing, and creativity happens, but he realized that almost everything he had learned in medical school had taught him to skip over what happens in this space.

This realization prompted Bonhoeffer to start Heart-Based Medicine, a global network of health care professionals and patients exploring the natural healing potential of the health care provider and the patient, and to co-create his new book Dare to Care. His mission is to inspire medical professionals to reclaim empathy and compassion as primary facets of healing to overcome the disillusion and burnout they often encounter in today’s mechanized medical culture.

Bonhoeffer is married to Jessica Templeton-Bonhoeffer, a developmental pediatrician and co-founder of Youkidoc Kindergesundheit, a heart-based medical center for children and their families in Basel, Switzerland. They have three children.

Dare to Care: How to Survive and Thrive in Today's Medical World. Jan Bonhoeffer M.D.: https://amzn.to/3y2x4hZ

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