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The Listener – Scott Abramson, MD

Updated: Feb 6

Scott Abramson joined Northern California Kaiser Permanente in July 1979 where (as of July 2016,) he has been on Neurology staff for the last 37 years. He did his Residency in Neurology and Neurophysiology at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn N.Y. He attended medical school at University of Georgia in Augusta. He did undergraduate training at Cornell University, and graduated high school from the illustrious Georgia Military Academy in College Park, Georgia.

For over 20 years Dr. Abramson had been passionately involved in the communication and physician wellness projects at Kaiser Permanente where he has been on the regional board of physicians for these endeavors. He has delivered dozens of workshops in this arena and personally coached scores of physicians and staff. He has written and developed programs on time management, physician to patient communication, physician to physician communication, and staff to physician communication. Dr. Abramson also writes a monthly column on communication issues and physician health and wellness that is online available to all Kaiser physicians. He has delivered Grand rounds to various audiences on such topics as professional satisfaction, teamwork, difficult conversations, presentation skills, and his favorite, “The Secret of Happiness.”

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In 1982, Dr. Abramson was awarded the Physician of the Year honor in his medical facility. In 2003 he was given Teaching Excellence Award from Physician Education, and in 2010 was nominated as a Kaiser Hero for his work in regional physician communication.

On a personal note, Dr. Abramson has been a longtime volunteer at the Samaritan House Medical Clinic in San Mateo, Ca. helping provide medical care for the indigent of that county. He has also been a longtime volunteer at the USO, helping to provide rest and respite to the young men and women in our armed forces.

Dr. Abramson lives with his wife Pamela of 38 years in San Mateo Ca. They have 2 sons, Jonathan living in Spokane, Washington who is involved in movie business, and Jeremy who graduated University of Oregon, now living in Miami, working in the Sports training field.

Scott Abramson’s Prescription for Success:

Number 1: Concentrate on what matters to the patient “What are your concerns?” “What are you afraid about?” “How’s this affecting your life?”

Number 2: Appreciate the everyday “nothingomas”

Number 3: We can come to appreciate that we are heros

Connect with Scott:

Notable quotes from Scott’s interview:

I think as physicians we are also sales men/sales people, we’re all selling something, maybe it’s a product, maybe it’s a lifestyle, maybe it’s an idea, or maybe it’s just trust in ourselves.
What I always heard from my Father, don’t beat your brains out like me, get a profession.
Every experience you go through, whether it’s good or bad or what, has an influence on making who you are.
By going through my own ambivalence and confusion and trouble, you feel perhaps more compassion for people going through the same thing.
What it comes down to is sometimes doctors are so focused on “what’s the matter” that we forget about the real question, “what matters to the patient”.
When we focus on what matters, we learn to appreciate the mundane, the everyday stuff that we see in our patients.
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