46 minutes | Mar 26, 2020

Joesph Stern, MD

Propelled by my younger sister Victoria’s surprise diagnosis of acute leukemia, an unsuccessful bone marrow transplant, and later her death, I have been exploring the impact her illness had on me, as well as the personal experiences of physicians, patients and families going through similarly disruptive losses.  Victoria wrote a powerful journal about her nearly eight-month hospitalization, which I have incorporated into a memoir:  “Grief Connects Us: A Doctor’s Lessons in Love, Loss, and Compassion.” In this book, I advocate for greater compassion and empathy in the way we treat each other and our patients, and make specific suggestions how we can improve health care delivery to achieve these goals.


In addition to this memoir, I have written essays and made presentations. Some are upcoming. These include:


Columbia University Medical School, April, 2020.

TED-x Greensboro:  Developing Emotional Agility in Medical Practice (March, 2020)

“My Continuing Medical Education:  The Power of Human Touch.” Podium presentation at IAHC annual meeting in Greenville, SC., May 2019.  

Panel Director: “The power of writing to foster empathy and compassion,” Annual Schwartz Conference, Boston, September 2019.

Schwartz Rounds at Cone Health, May 2019 and March 2020.

“Grief As My Guide: How My Sister Made Me a Better Doctor,” Cone Health: CHES Series, June 2019.

Keynote speaker, Palliative Care Colloquium, Boston Archdiocese, May 2019.

“The Power of Human Touch,” IAHC Journal, in press.

“Cone Health:  Our Journey to Top Decile Physician Engagement,” Presented with Mickey Foster and Jonathan Berry, MD at Press Ganey Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida, November 2018.

“On the Receiving End of Neurosurgical Care: Lessons I Have Learned,” presented at the 100thAnniversary of the Department of Neurosurgery foundation at The University of Michigan, Sept. 2018.


“Dying in the Neurosurgical ICU,” The New York Times January 14, 2020.

“Moral Distress in Neurosurgery,” The New York Times, August 15, 2019.

“Grief As My Guide: How My Sister Made Me a Better Doctor,” The New York Times, Nov. 14, 2018. 

“Compassion Belongs in the Operating Room,” World Neurosurgery 132:441-442, December 2019. 

“A Week in Honduras, The impact of bringing spinal surgery to the NPH orphanage in Honduras through the auspices of One World Surgery,” March 2019.

“Grief Connects Us: A Doctor’s Lessons in Love, Loss, and Compassion” Memoir.

Podcasts and Radio:

Frankly Speaking About Cancer with Kim Thiboldeaux, Cancer Support Community,Aired May 21, 2019

Podcast with Jeffrey Segal, MD

Transcript and access to podcast is https://medicaljustice.com/dr-joseph-stern-and-dr-jeff-segal/


Webpage – josephsternmd.com

Dr. Stern earned his undergraduate and medical school degrees, as well as completed his internship and residency, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.   He concluded a fellowship in pediatric scoliosis surgery with Dr. Jean Dubousset at the Hospital Saint Vincent de Paul in Paris, France, and since then, has been in continuous practice.  Dr. Stern has eight issued U.S. patents for medical devices.  

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