Dr Anna Lamnari is a second-year fellow in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology. On Thursday, March 29th, she will present Geriatric Grand Rounds on the topic of Spirituality in Medicine.
Dr Lamnari has had a longstanding interest in comparative religion and ethics. This is a topic especially relevant to geriatrics. As a fellow, Dr Lamnari has conducted a study of physicians' attitudes and training toward death and dying, which was presented at the Aging Center's First Annual Symposium in October 2000. Recently, she was nominated to serve on the ethics committee of the American Geriatrics Society.
Dr Lamnari believes that physicians should consider whether if spirituality can and should be incorporated into the routine of patient care. Given the growing body of research indicating a relationship between mental and physical well-being in patients, this may directly influence the success of a patient's course of treatment. In her experience, patients are often eager to speak to someone about these matters. "Fear of death," she says, is a powerful motivating factor that causes patients to focus on spiritual issues, "and having a doctor willing to discuss [spirituality] is validating of that concern." To that end, Dr Lamnari makes a point of inquiring as to patients' spirituality as part of her social history; most are reticent at first, but "once they know they can talk to you, they will."
Dr Lamnari has taken steps to heighten awareness of patients' spiritual needs among the community of physicians. She was instrumental in the creation of a chaplaincy rotation which is mandatory now for all geriatrics fellows.
Some of the issues which Dr Lamnari will raise in her lecture include: