Mine your placebo potential, unleash empathy, and meet the power of Doctor You

A 1-day workshop facilitated by Dr. Jeremy Howick and Dr. Amy Price (University of Oxford)

friday, april 27 | 9:30am – 4:30pm | foyer of the jen-hsun huang engineering center, stanford university

about the event

Twenty per cent of Americans, half of the elderly British, and two thirds of older Canadians take at least five prescription drugs per day—their lives a non-stop ritual of pill popping and trying to manage side effects. One in ten people in developed countries take antidepressants. Millions of boys who can’t sit still in school are prescribed methamphetamines. Modern medicine has the potential to be wonderful, but is harmful when overused, and it is being overused.

Skyrocketing global healthcare costs render this overuse increasingly unaffordable. The wonders of modern medicine have also obscured the body’s ability to heal itself. Your body produces its own drugs that can treat pain as well as drugs, cure some joint problems as well as a surgeon, and treat most mild depression as well as a psychologist. We’ve all heard of endorphins, but did you know ‘endorphin’ literally means ‘morphine made by your body’?

Besides the body’s self-healing abilities, latest evidence shows that states of mind affect our health. Relaxing, positive thinking, and supportive social networks can all improve our health as much as blockbuster drugs.

In parallel, medical students are taught about the best tests and treatments, while their roles as healers have been obscured beneath ever increasing—and changing—technical knowledge. In fact many recent trials have shown that increased empathy can reduce patient pain, depression, anxiety, well-being, and adherence to medical care, while reducing practitioner burnout, harms and risk, and improving patient and clinician relationships, and improve trust, understanding.

  • Anyone who would like to understand the evidence and learn how to boost their inner placebo power
  • Any practitioner or patient who would like to improve (or remind themselves of the best ways to) enhance how they express empathy to promote the healing of others
  • Healthcare managers who would like to review and experience how encouraging a culture of self-healing and empathy can help patients and clinicians in their systems.

The workshop will prompt attendees to answer the question: What if we could use the power within to become active, informed partners in healthcare and then multiply the art, science and progress of medicine through co-designing a culture of self-healing and empathy? 

By the end of this workshop you will

  • Understand the evidence for self-healing and empathy
  • Know how to use the evidence to help yourself and others
  • Will be equipped to be an agent for empowerment and change

In the first half of this interactive workshop, participants will meet their inner doctor—Doctor You— and learn how to maximize self-healing through the power of placebos, belief, and empowering relationships. In the second half, they will learn how to boost the way they express empathy so they can heal others.

9:30am: Introductions and icebreaker (facilitated by Dr. Jeremy Howick and Dr. Amy Price)
10:00am: The hard evidence for mind-body self-healing (facilitated by Dr. Jeremy Howick)
10:30am: Implementing the evidence of self-healing to improve your health (exercise) (facilitated by Dr. Amy Price)
11:00am: Coffee/tea break
11:30am: The healing power of social networks: why we’re all in it together (facilitated by Dr. Jeremy Howick)
12:00pm: Implementing the evidence of social networks to improve your health (exercise) (facilitated by Dr. Amy Price)
12:30pm: Lunch (not provided, enjoy numerous nearby on-campus options)
1:30pm: Give real examples of empathic / non-empathic practice (role play) (facilitated by Dr. Jeremy Howick and Dr. Amy Price)
2:00pm: Reviewing the evidence and mechanisms for the benefits of empathy (facilitated by Dr. Jeremy Howick)
2:30pm: What are three empathic strategies you can use to mobilize healthcare? What is the most important one? (facilitated by Dr. Jeremy Howick and Dr. Amy Price)
3:00pm: Coffee/tea break
3:30pm: Develop a strategy to create habits/reminders/enhance empathic practice (facilitated by Dr. Jeremy Howick and Dr. Amy Price)
4:00pm: What are three empathic strategies you can use to mobilize healthcare? What is the most important one? (facilitated by Dr. Jeremy Howick and Dr. Amy Price)
4:30pm: Close (facilitated by Dr. Jeremy Howick and Dr. Amy Price)

Cost for this day-long workshop is complementary for delegates who are already registered for the Medicine X | ED conference (except for device demo registrants). Cost for Stanford School of Medicine Affiliates is $99.00 and $149.00 for community members. There is limited space available.

Registration for this event is extremely limited. Registration closes April 20, 2018.



Dr. Howick’s research draws on his interdisciplinary training as a philosopher of science, clinical epidemiologist, international rower, yoga teacher, and public communicator (his most recent book Doctor You is being released in the US on June 5th). He has published over 80 academic papers and a book on Evidence-Based Medicine and placebo effects, and is currently the director of the Oxford Empathy Programme. He has always been driven by the desire to improve people’s health.


Amy Price, PhD is a 2017 Medicine X e-Patient Scholar in the Everyone Included Emerging Leaders track. She was recently appointed as the Patient Editor for Research and Evaluation at The BMJ. Her institutional affiliation is the University of Oxford. Her goal is build clear channels to propel evidence into practice by supplying the public, and those in low resource areas, with tools to make evidence-based health care choices. Responsible shared decision making requires access to standardized and accurate shared knowledge.

She and her team plan to engage, train, and empower the public to plan, prioritize, and take part in all aspects of research including the formation of online randomized controlled trials prioritized by the public and supported through expert methodological input. Her background in international relief work, clinical neurocognitive rehabilitation, service on the boards of multiple patient organizations, and as a trauma survivor has equipped her with the flexible mindset to relate to all stakeholders and cultures. Amy’s experience has shown her that shared knowledge, interdisciplinary collaboration, and evidence-based research will shape and develop the future.

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