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U of M Med School Associate Dean Tackles Difficult Discussions Doctors have with Patients on New Podcast

AMA Launches New Podcast titled “Doc Talk”

ANN ARBORRajesh S. Mangrulkar, M.D., associate professor of Internal Medicine and Learning Health Sciences, the Marguerite S. Roll professor of Medical Education, and associate dean for Medical School Education, will add a new title to an already full resume: podcast host.

The American Medical Association recently announced Mangrulkar will host the first season of their newly launched podcast “AMA Doc Talk.”

In the six-episode series, titled Difficult Conversations, Mangrulkar speaks with physicians and national leaders about challenging encounters with patients, valuable lessons learned, and what we know about the science and best practice of difficult communication. Many of the episodes involve patients as well, and each of them offers practical information that physicians can use as they interact with patients, based on the recommendations from these experts.

“I think as physicians, we have an enormous responsibility – to be part of our patients’ lives in some of their worst moments,” says Mangrulkar. “In those moments, our patients need not only our knowledge and our expertise, but they must also have our heart, our empathy and our humanity.”

In each episode, Mangrulkar will talk with physicians who have struggled to comfort the sick or dying and agonized over word choice.

“What emerged in the interviews is a common theme: It’s not just what we say, but how we say it and how we engage with our patients in a true partnership: listening rather than telling, engaging rather than directing,” he says.

While physicians, residents and medical students are the show’s target listeners, Mangrulkar says the show may also appeal to a broader audience.  

“I often thought of my family members while conducting the interviews and asked myself, ‘What would they want to know if they had 20 minutes with this person?’” he says.  

The first two episodes of “AMA Doc Talk” have been released, and a new episode will be released each Tuesday for each of the next four weeks. Episodes are available on iTunes, Stitcher, and everywhere else podcasts are available.

Continued Partnership

“AMA Doc Talk” is not the first time Mangrulkar has partnered with the AMA to provide unique forms of communication to the profession of medical education and the community.

As the AMA continues to offer engaging content on a variety of mediums, Mangrulkar was asked to deliver a TEDMED-talk in Chicago, focused on the University of Michigan Medical School’s curriculum changes. TEDMED is an annual health and medicine edition of the world-renowned TED Talks.

“We’ve reorganized our medical education program to be an impact accelerator,” says Mangrulkar in the talk. “In essence we are developing our medical students to act as change agents in society while they are in medical school and after they graduate.”

With a computer science undergraduate degree, Mangrulkar understands the importance of cultivating a physician community with multidisciplinary backgrounds who have the ability to take on nontraditional leadership roles and effectively communicate with a number of stakeholders.

For more information about the release of the podcast, visit

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