Alumni Feedback



  • “I took the medical counseling skills course through the Hillebrand Center, which gave me a great foundation in interviewing patients before I even started. It felt natural to build history-taking skills in medical school, and establishing rapport and utilizing a patient-centered approach was something that came more easily to me than my classmates because I had already practiced these skills (and made many mistakes).”


  • “I majored in biology, so many of my courses were not directly aimed toward preparing us for a career in medicine. Nevertheless, the courses were rigorous and very challenging, which prepared me for the challenges medical school offers. Courses like Compassionate Care in Medicine also helped me see the social science aspect of medicine and allowed me to consider other things like the biopsychosocial model and how to properly relay information to patients, etc. I felt like a much more well-rounded medical student throughout my first year, which made the transition into medical school much smoother.”


  • “Thank you for giving pre-professional students the unparalleled opportunity to engage with difficult topics and provide cognitive-behavioral "tools" before getting to medical or professional schools.  Once there, there's no free time to learn more about anything like preventing compassion fatigue. It is also helpful to have a background in these areas to be a better, supportive colleague/classmate. The way to change a competitive or degrading culture in both medical schools and healthcare as a whole is to equip students with an introductory approach to ideal compassion (and also ethical behavior) before they reach the point of needing to utilize this knowledge. Particularly because they may later be learning from individuals who did not benefit from this introduction.”


  • “Keep doing what you're doing. Keep providing opportunities for students to develop into leaders for the healthcare community.”


  • “I think the work that is being done by the Hillebrand Center is so important for health professionals and I think a lot of the topics are not touched on in medical school. I would love for more students to have opportunities to take these classes.”


  • “Taking Pathos Project probably changed my future career course and life more than I could have imagined at the time. A speaker introduced me to a family who had lost a baby and meeting them and experiencing their pain and loss influenced my decision to enter pediatrics. I continue to be drawn to families who have experienced loss and my research has been focused on injury prevention in pediatrics to prevent more families from experiencing it. I can't thank the Hillebrand Center enough for opening these doors. Continue to touch and inspire students at this critical time in their lives, before they become bogged down with endless medical school exams. Having this framework for compassionate medicine and patient's suffering PRIOR to entering medical school was essential to my own learning and resiliency as I reflected on it often during my training. Continue this is so important in the formation of future physicians.” 


  • “The courses I took through the Hillebrand Center at Notre Dame were outstanding and one of the greatest experiences I took away from my Notre Dame curriculum. Through these courses, I learned directly applicable skills for communicating with patients and empathizing with patients that have enhanced my performance both as a student in medical school and as a current resident physician. In fact, I think my experiences in these courses ultimately guided my career choice to pursue Psychiatry over other fields in Medicine, as the value of connecting with my patients holistically became the utmost priority to me. On a daily basis I am reminded of my coursework on compassionate care in medicine. I am eternally grateful for these classes provided by Notre Dame. At least one if not all of these courses should be a requirement for any student pursuing the health professions. Courses like these are what make Notre Dame one of the greatest educational institutions in the world, where a focus is put on values in career paths and not just completing the requirements to graduate.”


  • “Keep doing what you are doing. I learned so much through all of the courses I took. While I cherish my entire experience at Notre Dame, these were the courses that offered lessons I still use on a day to day basis. Working in a very busy surgical residency, it can be tough to not become cynical and disconnected from your patients, and on a regular basis I see my colleagues in situations where their only response to a hostile situation is to fan the flames. I have prided myself throughout residency in my ability to walk into a room with a disgruntled patient and walk out with at the very least a mutual understanding, and I credit that skill directly to the lessons provided by the Center.”


  • “The Hillebrand Center is a huge blessing for aspiring doctors and health professionals. It embodies what Notre Dame is truly about—being a force for good in all corners of the world, including, and especially, in the corners where people are suffering from injuries and illnesses. The courses offered by the Center are preparing ND alumni to be genuinely compassionate doctors and health professionals and to take care of their own personal health as well so that they can give more of themselves in their work.