Presence is a purposeful practice of awareness, focus, and attention with the intent to understand and connect with patients.

Brown-Johnson C, et al. BMJ Open, 2019

Directed by Donna Zulman, MD, MS, and Abraham Verghese, MD, the Presence 5 team aims to redesign the clinical encounter to foster humanism and meaningful connections between clinicians and patients. Our objective is to inspire a shift in care from institutional procedure to clinical ritual grounded in scientific evidence and humanism, and in doing so, enhance patient experience and clinician well-being and support safe, effective, and patient-centered care.


Presence 5 Projects

Presence 5 for Racial Justice

The Presence 5 for Racial Justice (P5RJ) project aims to support equitable care and promote racial justice for Black patients by recommending clinician communication practices that address anti-Black racism, build trusting relationships, and empower Black individuals in their clinical care. The P5RJ practices and medical education curriculum are currently under development and piloting in collaboration with patient and community partners across the country.


"There are a few things that are timeless in medicine, unchanged since antiquity, which we can keep front and center as we bring about reform. One is the simple truth that patients want us to be more present. We as physicians want to be more present with the patient, as well, because without that contact, our professional life loses much of its meaning.

Verghese A, Health Affairs, 2016