U of C Gets $42 Million to Make Doctors Nicer

Bucksbaum Institute Donates 42 Million to U of C

By Jessica Guido
|  Thursday, Sep 22, 2011  |  Updated 5:07 PM CDT
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The University of Chicago Hospital received a $42 grant to look into improving their physician's bedside manner.

The University of Chicago Hospital received a $42 grant to look into improving their physician's bedside manner.

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How much would you give to make your doctor a little nicer? How about $42 million? 

The Matthew and Carolyn Bucksbaum Family Foundation awarded this prize to the University of Chicago Medical Center Thursday via a webcast presentation. According to the university, the center plans to create a new institute aimed at improving doctor-patient interaction.

"These generous donors have pinpointed a fundamental aspect of medical practice that deserves greater attention," said Dr. Kenneth S. Polonsky, dean of the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, in a statement.

Carolyn Bucksbaum some years ago was relieved to find a kind doctor at the Chicago medical center after an arrogant doctor at another hospital dismissed her. 

The new institute will be built to improve bedside manner, fostering the career development of physicians as medical students, junior faculty and senior clinicians. Medical center officials say the goal is to make doctors better counselors, navigators and advisers to patients.

According to a 2001 Commonwealth Fund survey, U of C points out, 1 in 5 American adults have trouble communicating with their doctors, while 1 in 10 felt disrespected during a recent health care visit.

The new U of C institute will be under the direction of Dr. Mark Siegler, chosen by the Bucksbaum family for his clinical and communication skills as well as his compassion.

Carolyn Bucksbaum said she wants the institute to become a model for other institutions nationwide.

"My goal is not just for my grandchildren, but for large numbers of people," said Bucksbaum.

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