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TED Talk: A Doctor's Touch

Prepared to be inspired!  “A Doctor’s Touch” is a manifesto, a call to action delivered with gentle strength.  Dr. Verghese presents the case for returning the human touch to medicine. He states:  “I joke, but I only half joke that if you come to one of our hospitals missing a limb, no one will believe you until they get a CAT Scan, MRI or orthopedic consult.”

In “A Doctor’s Touch,” Dr. Verghese illustrates the importance role of the physical exam.  Off stage, Dr. Verghese leads the Stanford 25, an initiative that emphasizes physical exam skills.  He is the “Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor and Vice Chair for the Theory & Practice of Medicine, as well as the Internal Medicine Clerkship Director at Stanford University School of Medicine” ( ). 

Dr.Verghese also has ties to Texas!  After serving in Tennessee as an infectious disease physician (see My Own Country), Dr. Verghese was Chief, Infectious Diseases at Texas Tech El Paso.  He stayed at Texas Tech University School of Medicine as a tenured Professor of Medicine, then Distinguished Professor, from 1991 to 2002.  In 2002, he went to UTHSCSA as Director of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics and Professor of Medicine.  In 2007, Dr. Verghese accepted a position as Professor of Medicine at Stanford University.


Dr. Karen de Olivares

About the author: Dr. Karen de Olivares began advising prehealth students in 1995 at Southern Methodist University. In 2012, she moved to UT Dallas as the Director of the Health Professions Advising Center. Since retiring in 2020, Dr. de Olivares has served as a volunteer advisor for the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions and an affiliate faculty member for the Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology. She earned a Ph.D. in Education, Foundations and Policy Analysis, at the University of Michigan. Prior to advising prehealth students, Dr. de Olivares worked for the Job Corps program and as a substitute teacher. She learned to work with horses and has enjoyed sharing her life with dogs, cats, birds and the occasional stray turtle.

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