News Release

January 30, 2006

Contact: Jane Shaskan, 860-679-4777

UConn Medical School Offers Nation’s First “Patient School”

Unique Educational Experience Empowers Health Care Consumers

FARMINGTON, CONN. – A course designed to give patients the tools they need to successfully negotiate an increasingly more complicated health care system is being offered at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington each Wednesday in March from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m.

Patient School will cover topics to help patients gain the knowledge they need to maximize their own health care and that of their families. The public will receive practical information to help them become better, more successful patients – and patient advocates. “This unique, innovative program is likely to be the first of its kind in the nation. It moves well beyond the usual community health and wellness programs,” said program director Robert Trestman, M.D., director of the Connecticut Health Signature Program at UConn Health Center. “As a state academic medical center, we are committed to bringing patient education to a new level for the people of Connecticut. This is an educational program for anyone who has ever been a patient, will be a patient or advocates for patients – and that’s pretty much everyone,” says Dr. Trestman.

After participating in Patient School, “graduates” will be able to identify their rights and responsibilities as a patient or patient advocate, employ strategies to optimize doctors’ office visits and hospitalizations, and find and use reliable sources of health information to increase their understanding of medical conditions and treatment options. Each class will feature one or two topics and a question and answer period.

Course topics and presenters from UConn Medical School faculty include:

  • “A Roadmap to Reliable Health Information – It’s a Jungle out There!” – how to find accurate, reliable health information, evaluate websites, and sort out conflicting data and current research, Evelyn Morgen, M.S.L.S., A.H.I.P., director of Lyman Maynard Stowe Library, with Robert Joven, M.L.S., Judith Kronick, M.L.S., and Alberta Richetelle, M.S., M.S.L.S., M.P.H.
  • “When the Patient is Your Parent or Child – Your Role as the Patient Advocate” – what every patient advocate should know, presented by Grael O’Brien, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics, and Scott Wetstone, M.D., Department of Community Medicine and Health Care.
  • “Managing Stress to Get the Most from Your Healthcare” – how to remain calm and focused in order to understand information and make important decisions, presented by Julian Ford, Ph.D. and Judith Ford, M.F.T., Department of Psychiatry.
  • “Answers to Questions You Weren’t Asked, But Should Have Been” – a template for recording personal medical information for each type of physician visit, presented by Charles Huntington III, P.A., Connecticut Health Signature Program.
  • “Understanding the Results of Diagnostic and Screening Tests” – how to interpret diagnostic and screening tests, presented by Dr. Wetstone.
  • “Legal and Ethical Issues at the End of Life: The Importance of Advance Care Planning” – understanding advance directives for end-of-life issues and developing a step-by-step procedure for decision-making, presented by Barbara Blechner, J.D., Division of Medical Humanities, Health Law and Ethics.

Participants will receive a variety of resource and educational materials at each class. They will also be awarded a Patient School certificate of upon completion.

“Patients in today’s health care environment can face hurdles that can be daunting and stressful,” said Dr. Wetstone. “There’s a wealth of information available from a variety of sources, some accurate, some not. We believe this program can significantly help people become wise and savvy health care consumers – its time has come. Knowledge and information are the foundation for maximizing patient care and being your own best advocate, and direct instruction from professionals is the best way to build that foundation,” he said.

There is a charge of $59 for Patient School. To register, send a check, payable to UCHC Patient School, to UConn Health Center Patient School, MC 5385, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington CT 06030-5385. A confirmation letter with classroom information will be sent to participants. Class size is limited to the first 30 individuals who register. For additional information, phone UConnLink at 860-679-7692 or 1-800-535-6232, or visit the web page.

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

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