Power of Love - Mayo Center for Innovation - Healthcare Design

Transform Day 1: Power Of Love

Post Written By Nitya Chandiramani

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Where there is love there is life,” his words rang true back then and they still hold true today. Love can be an elixir to good health. Love can pave a path to empowerment. Love can demolish barriers and provides the tools to overcome adversity. Love can save lives. We just to find that inner love and spread it externally far and wide.

In the Mayo Clinic Transform 2015 conference during the first session of day one, “How can people drive change in health and in healthcare,” one of the emerging themes that I sensed was love. Love embodies a variety of forms, but theme of love that radiated out of each speaker’s message was not in the stereotypical romantic sense, rather it encompassed an integration of compassion, kindness, and genuine care among many others.

The first speaker from the trio of presenters, Dr. Marvin Seppala from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation really highlighted and emphasized the power of love in relation to addiction treatment. He discussed a model of treating addiction by utilizing a spiritual foundation to aid patients battling substance abuse. A variety of components such as positive emotions, integration of science and spirit, love, and a 12-step program comprised this model. He reiterated how connecting with patients using love and positive emotions can truly alter their health outcomes. I thought this was a very refreshing perspective, because in many instances the medical field promotes desensitization to a certain degree, and condones being too emotionally involved. Healthcare professionals are groomed to be professional, to treat the disease and disorder, and repress the emotions for another time. But for how long? Treating the disease and individual as two separate entities is negligent, the mind, body, and spirit are connected and necessitates a holistic approach. Thus, Dr. Seppala illustrated the power of love in the healthcare setting with regard to the addiction treatment realm.

The second speaker, Lead Software Developer John Costik from the University of Rochester shared his personal story of his son’s type 1 diabetes diagnosis and how it impacted him and his family’s life. That challenge, the obstacles it presented, and his love for his son motivated him to think innovatively and develop a technology system known as the Nightscout. It enables blood glucose monitoring via a remote system where the data can be connected to the internet and accessed by smart technology (phone, computers, tablets). Such technological advancements have positively impacted the lives of both children and their parents as they navigate through the difficult journey of having type 1 diabetes. Thus, Mr. Costik delineated how love powers innovation and how it is important to take initiative for those you love, he ended by remarking “Do whatever you can to help the people you love.”

The third and final speaker, Storyteller Kevin Kling used his gift of storytelling to explain the profound effect that stories have and what they divulge about us, then he proceeded to share some powerful and captivating personal experiences and stories. He discussed his disability with his arms and how it shaped his life. While in a support group, he had been asked the question of if he could take a pill that would essentially eliminate his illness would he take it? At that point in his life he said he would, but over the course of time as he was involved in various plays and theatre experiences with one particularly experience where he witnessed the magic of the work he was involved in he realized at that point he would answer no and not take the pill. He came to terms with himself and most importantly learned to love himself, which allowed him to progress with his life and positively impact others like those of us listening to him at Transform. Thus, Mr. Kling illuminated how love can empower you to do great things, you just have to learn to love yourself first and then spread that love to others.

To conclude, I have composed a short poem which encapsulates Transform’s theme of love:

People Power Health Through Love
Love should not discriminate nor differentiate
Love should be colorblind and reach out to all of mankind

Love is restorative and a powerful medication
Love is a treatment that leads to rehabilitation

Love inspires creativity and healthcare innovation
Love empowers people to reach their full potential

Love is taking time to listen and accepting without any criticism
Love is taking action to create positive reactions
Love is letting go and helping people soar

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