“When we make deeper connections with our patients, it actually helps our own well-being.”  – Dr. F. Emelia Sam

Hello! Welcome to the Aging Pearls Podcast, where we’re dedicated to providing dental pearls for all those concerned with the oral care needs of our aging population. I am Dr. Christie Hogue and today, we sit down with Dr. F. Emelia Sam to talk about compassion in health care and how it impacts patients, colleagues, and ourselves. She believes that health care is more than just clinical. It’s about building relationships, letting go of biases, and treating each other as individuals and human beings.


Dr. Sam represents a unique blend of science and spirit. While formerly an associate clinical professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Howard University, she maintained a voice in the realm of personal development. Her many articles appeared in Huffington Post and MindBodyGreen as well as on her long-standing blog, 360SOUL (three-sixty soul). Her latest book, Compassionate Competency: Healing the Heart of Healthcare represents the intersection of her extensive clinical experience and concepts such as emotional intelligence and mindfulness. It aims to bring more attention to creating compassionate healthcare environments that nurture patients as well as the professionals who care for them.


[00:01 – 06:21] Centering on Relationships

  • During her oral surgery residency and time in the academe, Dr. Sam noticed the exhaustion in patients, students, and colleagues
  • Feeling like there was a void inside of her, she started writing a personal development blog
  • She realized that healthcare is too focused on clinical competency, diagnosis, treatment, etc. instead of relationships


[06:22 – 10:03] Bringing Compassion to the Clinical Experience

  • Dr. Sam discusses her book and the value of personal development
  • Compassionate care is not only for patients but for everybody in the health care environment
  • What are the 10 essential elements of a compassionate health care environment?


[10:04 – 18:37] Understanding the Patient’s Story

  • Often, health care workers look past the patient and only speak to their caregivers because we think that patients cannot advocate for themselves
  • There are biases that affect how we treat a patient like ageism
  • We need to find out who the patients are instead of assuming who they are
  • Making deeper connections with patients is actually good for our well-being


[18:38 – 25:39] Final Thoughts

  • Dr. Sam’s message to the community
  • Connect with Dr. Christie Hogue – leave a review and comment (links below)


Key Quotes:

“Usually, personal development is something that we tend to do as individuals, in our corners. And I realized that it was actually central to our mission of healthcare.” – Dr. F. Emelia Sam


“I really wanted to talk about how do we create a compassionate environment and make it very practical, not this esoteric sort of concept that everybody has their own ideas about what that entails.” – Dr. F. Emelia Sam


“You can diagnose and prescribe and treat all day long. You can help your patient on a physical level and still harm them on an emotional level.” – Dr. F. Emelia Sam



Undaunted Trailblazers: Minority Women Leaders for Oral Health by Shelia Price, Jeanne Sinkford, Marilyn Woolfolk

Compassionate Competency: Healing the Heart of Healthcare by Dr. Emelia Sam 



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