Massachusetts Medical Society: Episode 4: Mindful Medical Practice

Episode 4: Mindful Medical Practice

Mindful Medical Practice

Course Overview

Dr. Schwab introduces Marie to Gail Gazelle, MD, a practicing hospice physician and health professional coach, and they review multiple working definitions of mindfulness. She stresses the need for compassion, both for one’s patients as well as for oneself. Dr. Gazelle also emphasizes the importance of being in the present moment, staying focused on the reality in front of us. Marie comes to understand that focusing on the here and now allows one to put a distance between oneself and the downward spiral of negative thoughts that sometimes distract and preoccupy individuals who work in high stress professions. A benefit of practicing mindfulness and other related meditative techniques is that they enable us to effectively focus our attention where it belongs and to tune out the distractions. Another beneficial aspect of mindfulness is critical curiosity about one's own thought processes. By learning to focus on the task at hand, we are able to conserve energy that might otherwise be lost in negative thoughts. Drs. Gazelle and Schwab talk to Marie about incorporating a simple mindfulness practice into the course of her busy days in the office, and Marie agrees to give it a “college try.”

Learning Objectives

  • Define mindfulness and acknowledge the need for both self-compassion and compassion for others as integral to effective medical practice. 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of effective meditative techniques and ways of being and staying ‘present’ in the face of complex and competing responsibilities. 


Gail Gazelle, MD
I’m a physician coach who works to improve the work-life balance of physicians in all fields.  I do so by providing tools for resilience, mindfulness, and fulfillment. Over my 28-year career in medicine, I’ve worked in an unusually wide variety of roles: director of the pain and palliative care programs at a major Boston HMO, hospitalist on the complex surgical services staff at a major Harvard teaching hospital, hospice medical director, emergency room extender, primary care internist, regional medical director of a large national hospice chain, academician, and entrepreneur. As a result, I have a solid understanding of the mindset of physicians and physician leaders in a wide variety of specialties.

I graduated from Cornell University and Upstate Medical University. I’m a part-time Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School as well as an Associate Scientist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where I developed and teach a resilience session to all internal medicine residents. 

Course Fees

Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) Member: Free       
Non-MMS Member: Free       
Allied Health Professionals: Free



CME Credit

1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™

Accreditation Statement

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Massachusetts Medical Society and Physician Health Services, Inc. The Massachusetts Medical Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

AMA Credit Designation Statement

The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity meets the criteria for the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for risk management study.

National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).
Physician Assistants may claim a maximum of 1.00 Category 1 credit for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.

Exam/Assessment: Please respond to the reflective statement at the end of the course to receive AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.

MOC Approval Statement
Through the American Board of Medical Specialties ("ABMS") ongoing commitment to increase access to practice relevant Maintenance of Certification ("MOC") Activities through the ABMS Continuing Certification Directory , this activity has met the requirements as an MOC Part II CME Activity (apply toward general CME requirement) for the following ABMS Member Boards:

Allergy and Immunology
Family Medicine
Medical Genetics and Genomics
Nuclear Medicine
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Plastic Surgery
Preventive Medicine
Psychiatry & Neurology
Thoracic Surgery

Activity Term

Original Release Date: January 4, 2019        
Review Date: N/A     
Termination Date: January 4, 2021

System Requirements

Windows, XP, Vista, 7, 8  
Mac OSX 10.6 higher

Most modern browsers including:   
Firefox 18.0+  
Chrome 26+  
Safari 5+  
Flash player is required for some Online CME courses.
iOS devices beginning with OS version 5 or higher (includes, iPhone, iPad and iTouch devices)  
Android devices including tablets and phones.  
Windows RT and tablets on Windows 8 are also supported. 


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