“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”

— Desmond Tutu

Evolving the Culture of Healthcare

Historically, physicians and healthcare professionals have often been expected – not least by ourselves – to be superhuman. While we often do heroic things, we are subject to the limitations that affect all human beings. We are not perfect. We need support from one another, and it is important we attend to both professional and personal responsibilities. As our colleague Shireen Heidari coined in her New England Journal of Medicine perspective, "I am Human."

I am Human aims to cultivate a cultural shift within the medical community centered on the values of shared humanity, empathy, vulnerability, self-compassion, and recognizing the significance of community and connection. Our hope is to not only to create a work environment that attends to efficiency and optimizes workload but also a professional culture that celebrates our humanity and where we see ourselves and colleagues as multifaceted people.

The culture change that I am Human fosters is one part of creating an environment that advances clinician well-being. It is also critical that institutions are dedicated to system-level improvements. Stanford Medicine is committed to making Stanford a better place for physicians and healthcare professionals to practice. Learn more about select well-being initiatives led by various teams to improve the practice environment and health care delivery system.


                                                                          The Evolving Healthcare Culture

Continuing to evolve the professional healthcare culture in alighnment with the Well-being 2.0* framework requires a shift from awareness to action.

Physicians, click on the button above to receive your complimentary I am Human bracelet and/or lapel pin. We invite you to wear them daily to serve as small external reminders of the internal commitment we are making to embrace vulnerability, self-compassion, and a growth mindset. The I am Human bracelet is inspired by our colleague Shireen Heidari.

Other healthcare professionals, medical students, and staff can request a lapel pin to wear in support of this movement and as a daily reminder of our shared humanity.

Be a Catalyst for Change

If this movement inspires you, we encourage you to take one step to be a catalyst for change. It starts with each one of us. Together we can create a culture in which everyone feels connected, safe to be vulnerable, recognized, and celebrated. 

Related Readings

Below you will find links to several articles that helped inspire and are aligned with I am Human - and the need to embrace vulnerability, encourage teamwork, and recognize our own humanity as well as our shared humanity.

Articles Inspiring I am Human

Articles Aligned with the Movement

Additional Resources

Care and Support

Stanford has a variety of tailored programs available to support individuals. The Care and Support guides are designed to help School of Medicine clinical faculty and Stanford residents and fellows navigate available offerings.

Commensality Groups

Commensality Groups are an evidence-based innovation to increase the sense of connection and collegiality among physicians and build comradery and meaning in work. 

Story Rounds

Stanford Medicine Story Rounds are live events featuring true spoken stories about life as a doctor. Story Rounds present an opportunity for attending doctors, residents, fellows, and medical students to listen to their peers and mentors as they share meaningful, honest stories about their experiences.