• By Dana Sparks

Helping Others Heal: Encouraging whole person care blossoms into a center for women’s health

January 1, 2020

Penny George, Psy.D., learned from a young age the role that care and comfort play in health care. Her father, Dr. Robert Pilgram, a general surgeon, would take young Penny to visit neighboring communities on horseback in the mountains of Maryland.

The visits weren’t necessarily to offer treatment to patients, who often had advanced conditions such as congestive heart failure. The mission was to offer them comfort in their time of need.

"Dad told me it was important for people to know that someone cared about them,” Penny recalls. “Although he was a surgeon, it was a different era. Money wasn’t in long supply, but the gift of self and the idea of service were.”

The Big Picture

Penny attributes these experiences as key in establishing her values of servitude and giving back to the community. After being treated for breast cancer and building on those values, she discovered her mission.

While grateful for the care she received at another health care system in the 1990s, Penny found that care incomplete because it focused solely on her disease and body part, not on herself as a whole person connected in mind, body and spirit. She found success in her healing journey in part by complementing her conventional care with integrative elements, such as nutritionmindfulness meditationacupuncture and tai chi.

Read the rest of the article in Mayo Magazine.

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