President's Message


Each month, ACH President Jenni Levy, MD, FACH addresses ACH members through her president's message, sharing updates, goals, and information to keep members engaged and involved in the Academy.     

December 2017

Last night was the eighth night of Chanukah, and hannukiyot* were ablaze around the world. It’s no coincidence that Chanukah, Christmas, Diwali, and many solstice and Pagan observances celebrate light in these dark days. I am writing this on the eve of the solstice; here in eastern Pennsylvania, it’s been dark since before 5:00 PM. I am ready for the return of the light.

This is my last President’s letter. In the past twelve months, we’ve changed the name of the organization, strengthened our relationship with EACH, expanded the diversity of our membership and our leadership, graduated the first cohort of the Relationship-Centered Facilitator Program, welcomed the first group into the redesigned FIT program, had three successful meetings in Winter Course, ENRICH and ICCH, and continued to reach hundreds of practicing clinicians through our External Education program. Thanks to AMR, as well as Laura Cooley and Calvin Chou’s work in External Ed, we are finally – and for the first time – safely solvent and able to consider investing in our own programs. I’m looking forward to reviewing the proposals for the Board Designated Funds with the rest of the committee.

When I first joined ACH, we were a completely volunteer-run organization with one part-time paid employee. Faculty and FITs staffed the registration desk at the Summer Course, arranged contracts with facilities for Forum, Winter Course, and all of our activities, coordinated Medical Encounter and did almost everything else except addressing envelopes (and we may have done that at times). Records were scattered; our institutional memory was housed in the brains of our founding members. We re-invented the wheel every year and made many of the same mistakes.

If you’ve attended any of our programs over the past few years, you know volunteers are no longer staffing registration or coordinating with facilities. AMR has enabled us to be as professional in our organizational work as we are in our clinical practice and research. You’ve heard me mention Laura Singler, Laura Cooley, and Lindsay Overall. I want to thank Vanessa Huff, Rachel Poarch, and Janella Hudson as well as Nick Ruffin, the President of AMR. We no longer need to reinvent the wheel. This amazing staff will tell us what we’ve done before and how well it worked; if it didn’t work that well, they’ll have suggestions for improvements. They are our best cheerleaders and an amazing support, and I can’t imagine doing this job without them.

At the most recent Board meeting, we voted to extend the term of President to two years beginning in 2019. I supported that change because I leave the job reluctantly after only a year. I had very little experience with the research side of ACH before joining the Board and I had a lot to learn. I’m very grateful to Russell Rothman for guiding me into that world. Now that I feel comfortable and competent, my time is up!

I’ve especially enjoyed writing these letters. I’ve had a chance to reflect on my own ACH journey, which goes back more than twenty years, and to appreciate the changes and growth in the organization and in my own life. I know this isn’t the end of my connection to ACH, and while I’m sorry to see this chapter close, I look forward to what comes next.

If you’re wondering about the term I used in the first paragraph, “hannukiyah” is the correct term for what is commonly called a “menorah.” A menorah is any candleholder with two or more lights; a hannukiyah is the menorah used on Chanukah with eight lights and a “shamash,” one extra light used to kindle the others. ACH can be the shamash used to kindle the light of relationship-centered care and improved communication in healthcare. I am grateful that I am able to be a part of that work.


Mission + Vision

Mission Statement:

ACH is the professional home for all those who are committed to improving communication and relationships in healthcare.  

ACH accomplishes this through:

  • Welcoming researchers, educators, clinicians, patients, patient advocates, and all members of the healthcare team.
  • Providing opportunities for collaboration, support and personal and professional development.
  • Identifying strengths, resources and needs of patients, their family members and healthcare professionals, both as unique individuals and in relationship to one another. 
  • Developing skills that integrate biological, psychological and social domains.
  • Applying existing scholarship from multiple disciplines and developing new knowledge through research.
  • Promoting collaborative relationships between clinicians and patients, teachers and learners, and all members of the health care team.
  • Incorporating core values of respect, empathy and genuineness in human relationships and the importance of self-awareness in all activities. 

Vision Statement:

A health care system where all patients, healthcare professionals, trainees and researchers feel valued, are treated equitably with respect, compassion, understanding, and are actively engaged in healthcare processes and decisions.

Basic Beliefs We Share as an Organization

  1. ACH believes that the healing human relationship among healthcare professionals, patients and their families is a critical aspect of healthcare. We believe that highly performing interpersonal and inter-professional delivery systems are necessary to achieve the greatest benefit from our biotechnical services.
  2. ACH believes in the highest quality, most fully accessible and cost-effective health care for all.
  3. ACH believes that relationship skills, communication skills, and teaching skills are learnable and teachable.
  4. ACH believes that improved relationships and communication enhance team and patient satisfaction, reduce errors and grievances, improve efficacy, efficiency and safety, and enhance health outcomes, as documented in the peer-reviewed literature.
  5. ACH believes that organizational investment in the continuous quality improvement of relationships and communication rewards the organization in many dimensions.
  6. ACH believes in learner-centered methods of teaching and coaching, facilitating discovery of learning needs and preferred learning styles.
  7. ACH leaders and teachers live the relationship-centered human values we teach, with each other in the organization and in our interactions with patients, family members, colleagues on the health care team, clients, and interested others; we strive to remain curious about and respectful of all forms of diversity that our individual experiences bring to our relationships.
  8. ACH is committed to evidence-based practice in healthcare and teaching, grounded in highest quality research that continually informs our work.
  9. ACH is committed to promoting diversity in its membership and leadership, including but not limited to diversity in profession, seniority, interests, gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. It believes that such diversity is critical to attaining the best research, scholarship, teaching, health care and other strategic goals of the Academy. Accordingly, ACH believes it essential to assertively recruit under-represented minorities into our organization.
  10. ACH is committed to assisting in the training of under-represented minority healthcare professionals and to reducing healthcare disparities.
  11. ACH is committed to human relationships grounded in integrity, congruence, transparency, empathy and unconditional positive regard. 
  12. As a non-profit human service organization, ACH adheres to a clear mission and assures that resources are used on mission-centered activities.

[Our basic beliefs were developed by participants at the 2009 Winter Course and edited by the Executive Committee. The mission, vision, and beliefs were updated by the Board in February 2014 and October 2015.]

2017 President Message Archives

Watch your inbox for the President’s message each month. If you miss an email, you can visit this page for archives of past messages.

January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017

November 2017
December 2017

2016 President Message Archives

Watch your inbox for the President’s message each month. If you miss an email, you can visit this page for archives of past messages.

2015 President Message Archives

Watch your inbox for the President’s message each month. If you miss an email, you can visit this page for archives of past messages.

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