Abraham Verghese to give keynote at medical school graduation

Bestselling author and proponent of humanistic care Abraham Verghese will be the keynote speaker at the Stanford School of Medicine graduation ceremony.

- By Mandy Erickson

Abraham Verghese

Bestselling author and champion of relationship-centered physician care Abraham Verghese, MD, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s Stanford School of Medicine graduation.

The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 15, on Alumni Lawn, next to the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge. No tickets are required.

Verghese, 68, the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor and vice chair in the Department of Medicine, specializes in infectious diseases and pulmonary medicine. He has long been a proponent of strong relationships between patients and doctors, advocating for the power of the physical exam in identifying phenotypic manifestations of disease, as well as its role as a timeless ritual that, when well executed, seals the patient-physician relationship. His TED talk, “A Doctor’s Touch,” has been viewed nearly 2 million times.

Verghese is the director of Presence, an interdisciplinary center at Stanford Medicine that promotes the art and science of human connection in medicine. Verghese has earned a reputation for reminding us that the doctor-patient interaction is relational at heart, not transactional. He has championed the need for studies to  anticipate the unintended consequences of new medical technologies.  

Verghese is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the author of two memoirs, My Own Country and The Tennis Partner. His first novel, Cutting for Stone ,was on The New York Times bestseller list for more than two years and is being adapted for a film, while his novel The Covenant of Water was the subject of a six-part Super Soul podcast with Oprah Winfrey. It is being developed as a television series by Harpo Studios and Netflix.

Verghese  received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama in 2016 “for reminding us that the patient is the center of the medical enterprise.”

Related content:
Stanford Researchers recommend 5 practices to improve doctor-patient relationships
Symposium on promises, pitfalls of technology in medicine

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit med.stanford.edu.

2024 ISSUE 1

Psychiatry’s new frontiers