S5E5: Abraham Nussbaum on the Renewal of Healthcare

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Can you imagine a world in which we worked to renew, rather than reform, healthcare? Where doctors are called to the practice and believe in truly caring for their patient rather than the correct billing codes? Abraham Nussbaum, a Behavioral Health Specialist at Denver Health wants to bring about a renewal of medicine to truly pair faith and work. 


On the history of Christian medicine:

“When the Bishop of Caesarea dies in 370, Basil is named as successor and he quickly realizes a plan he had formed while touring monastic communities, as a young man, he builds a hospital. It’s a hospital for the poor, the ill and the dispossessed. Where would you put that kind of hospital? In the ancient community, you put it on the outskirts of town, because that’s where travelers were, it was at the edge of the city, so it’d be accessible to the needy. On occasion, Basil himself provides medical care at the hospital and I like to think of Basil after a fashion is the first healthcare reformer because, his tenure as a Bishop inspired the building of hospitals for the indigent ill in cities throughout the West.”

On Christian healthcare providers treating patients:

“We are persons first, we engage science, the medical humanities, quality improvement as means, but not as ends. We are justified in acting as scientists, authors, and technicians. Only when we remember that we are above all servants of the ill.”

On the renewal of medicine:

“Let’s return to those Hippocratic physicians. They saw understanding of their patients, but as part of an exchange economy for Hellenistic physicians, the god Scopus was the paradigm. And Scopus temples and ill believer entered into an exchange relationship with the deity. Swapping gifts in exchange for health and the clinics and hospitals of Hellenistic physicians and ill believer likewise entered into an exchange relationship with the patient paying a fee for the physicians’ services.”


Learn more about Abraham Nussbaum and his work Denver Health.

Download the episode transcript.

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Hear More from Brett McCarty on Thursday, March 12th.

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