My Visit to the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network Conference
I finally had the opportunity to visit Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and this was my experience:
As a seeker of conscious knowledge, I love to visit different environments where the conversation is centered around improving life or how to influence and change patients’ lives. As a health care provider who grew up outside the typical system, I have a unique perspective on health care in America. To me, a hospital is a sacred space where healing is allowed to happen based on controls which have been studied, researched, and implemented.
Growing up, I was influenced by public health on a global level. My dad worked with the World Health Organization at United Nations (WHO at UN) and was posted internationally in Africa and the Middle East. A child of a WHO at UN diplomat, my world was a multiracial, multicultural, politically tension-filled world and—under my father’s umbrella of diplomatic immunity—a safe world. Safety and Security are foundational components of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. As a girl in a conservative Muslim household in the 70’s, my belief system incorporated respect, security, and safety as top priorities. While living in Sudan during the 70’s the country went from being the breadbasket of Africa to a drought-stricken, war-torn country. I observed certain human characteristics, some which remain with me to this day: human generosity knows no boundaries, color of skin and heritage may or may not be an obstacle in one’s life, being a female is significant or insignificant depending on your point of view.
Back to my visit to Mayo, which was in early November 2018, I had newly adopted the hijab or head covering and was very self-conscious of how people would treat me based on my external appearance.
The first morning, I shared a ride to the Mayo campus with a young woman from Tennessee. The 30-minute drive as the sun was rising over the water was peaceful. Once on campus, it was challenging to find the meeting but when we arrived at the auditorium I was greeted very warmly by people who appeared to know me though I had never met them before. (First gold star!)
Once inside the auditorium, I met Dan Hinmon, community director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. He greeted me graciously and recommended I sit at the first table with Dr. Timimi and a doctor from Seattle. Always happy to sit up front, I complied. Having heard of Dr. Timimi from my husband (who always encourages me to learn from the masters) I was excited to share a table with a Social Media Master, hoping I would learn social media tips and tricks! While waiting for the conference to begin, Dr. Timimi chatted about his son and the doctor from Seattle explained Ikigai. I was relieved to be treated as me and not different because I was wearing a hijab, phew!
During the video presentation, we were assigned to divide into small groups and practice filming each other about what we learned. It was a fun event, not only because it was a quick and easy way to practice video, but also the beautiful grounds of Mayo Clinic were refreshing.
That evening was a tour of the Mayo Clinic facility and a reception. Touring the facility, I had an incredible sense of awe. The spirit of the place was about healing and it resonated in the spaces, the art, and grounds. I had a chance to offer my prayers in the chapel and felt a sense of bliss in that space. I believe health care spaces are an important factor in the well-being of the people, both caregivers, and receivers. At Mayo, the pictures, the art, and the grounds resonated peace.
My most incredible moment was when I stood in the sanctuary garden with the prisms and felt the incredible attention to detail that had been paid to creating a moment of awe. I thought of a dear friend who was diagnosed with end-stage cancer a few years back. My husband recommended she go to Mayo for a second opinion. She was so touched by Mayo. She has since passed on, but to experience the grounds helped me understand why someone with a diagnosis of end-stage cancer should visit Mayo. It brings peace to the soul and hope to the heart and I felt that.
The second day of the conference teaching was intense—packed with information and weaved with incredible stories of human experiences. One moment that resonated with me was when Dr. Alfredo Quinones Hinojosa delivered his keynote address about the power of a story. He views patients as a story instead of a procedure, simple yet profound advice from a surgeon. Another highlight of the meeting was the keynote by Jacob Weiss, Ph.D., encouraging everyone to stand and juggle, activating the right side of my brain. I resonated with his words: ‘be the light.’
The Mayo Clinic culture flowed through the actions and words of doctors and administrators alike. On the day of my departure, I intended to go to the Mayo Clinic gift shop to buy the Mayo brothers book but time did not allow. As I walked to the elevator bank, I noted a young man carrying a book with a picture of a woman with a head covering. I asked to see the front of the book and the gentleman offered and actually insisted I take the book as a gift! Now that’s what I call the Mayo culture—a culture of kindness, compassion, sharing, and graciousness.
The Mayo Clinic Social Media Network conference reminded me of values that sometimes appear to be a lost art—the act of sharing and teaching each other. These values elevate the human experience for a caregiver, a receiver, or a conference attendee dentist!
About the Author: Dr. Saadia Mohammed practices dentistry in Florida, is a member of the Social Media Network, and attended the MCSMN conference on November 13-15 in Jacksonville, FL.
Join us for the next Mayo Clinic Social Media Network Annual Conference on October 22-23 in Rochester, MN. Learn more.