Welcome to the Communitas website and blog! I hope this site serves as a resource for young people facing chronic illness and their families.
Through my personal and professional experiences, I have come to see serious and chronic illness as a turning point for patients and families. With that in mind, I have had a long-standing vision to establish Communitas, a program for young people with serious chronic illness and their families to come together to heal and explore what really matters.
I have been on a path to create Communitas ever since I lost my mother to cancer during high school. My journey with my mother through her 3-year experience with cancer taught me about what is at stake for patients and their families and what it is like to live with the ups and downs of chronic illness. It inspired me to become a doctor who puts the patient’s and family’s values and experiences first and to strive for a kind of medicine that helps people not only heal, but thrive. As I journeyed with my mother through her battle with cancer, I saw first-hand the healing powers of a holistic approach to health that involves engaging with self-care and mind-body techniques, nourishing the body through healthy nutrition, reducing stress, spending time in the natural environment, and connecting with a supportive illness community.
My mother’s life ended far too soon, but I have made it my mission to carry the torch my mother lit for me and bring communities together around serious illness, expand their conceptions of healing, and help lift people up in the face of adversity. I believe that given the right environment, community, and tools, adversity can be the thing that transforms a life and family in a positive way. With this in mind, I envision a new healing model in Communitas that brings people together and helps families re-orient their lives in a positive way moving forward from illness.
My long-term vision is that Communitas would evolve over the next 1-2 years to become both an outpatient day-program and a long-weekend retreat program hosted in a natural environment for young people with chronic and life-threatening illness and their families. I look forward to partnering with others to make this dream a reality.