Publications & Resources
Appreciative Inquiry in Healthcare: Positive Questions to Bring out the Best
Appreciative Inquiry in Healthcare offers a practical "toolkit" designed to stimulate positive change and engage others in creating the healthcare environment so desperately needed today. It offers an encyclopedia of unconditionally positive questions to encourage dialogue about what is right in health care.
Diana Whitney and Center for Appreciative Practice faculty created this book as the result of dozens of hours of conversation and interviews across the UVA Health System. The Center’s interprofessional team worked with more than 30 groups encompassing all levels and aspects of healthcare, helping to guide them through the process of culture change. This book is the distillation of that work—outlining questions designed to:
- Harness creative energy and passion of people at all levels
- Focus positive energy on challenges facing your healthcare organization
- Create a culture of top-quality care
- Learn about and support the best of caregivers, patients, and families
- Embrace improvement opportunities with commitment and optimism
- Build collaboration based on trust and a belief in the best of one another
Although the book is designed to stimulate change in the healthcare arena, the questions are easily adapted to other professional environments. AI in Healthcare is available on Amazon, or purchase a copy directly from the Center.
"This book in particular serves me well in my work in [university] hospitals to bring people together . . . on a joint discovery of a positive outcome in an environment with rising patient numbers and ever shrinking budgets that are a challenge for all medical and non-medical staff. This book provides directly usable positive questions for this environment that helps me . . . by not needing to invent the wheel. Great work, well done!"
- Govert van Ginkel, LLM, Netherlands
Choosing Wisdom: Strategies and Inspiration for Growing Through Life-Changing Difficulties
by Margaret Plews-Ogan, Justine E. Owens, and Natalie May
"Every once in a while, a book comes along that alters the landscape of words and thoughts; Choosing Wisdom is one of those rare books. I never heard of 'posttraumatic growth' until I read this book and now it is term that lives hopefully in my soul. As a hospice and palliative care physician for the past 12 years, it was always interesting to watch individuals enter the terminal phases of their life; some spend their last days and weeks filled with anger, bitterness, and regrets while others enter the dying process filled gratitude, love, and hope. Why the difference? In Choosing Wisdom, a team of researchers at UVA, led by Margaret Plews-Ogan, MD, explores how average people respond to adversity, how they change, and what factors help or hinder positive change.
"This is a book about 'hope,' although I don’t think that word came up often. This book gradually but persistently instills into the reader the hope that people—that I—can choose a wise path, one that will turn my sufferings and adverse experiences into something good. By entering the journeys of the patients described in this book, we learn how we can grow, change, and develop wisdom through adversity and how we can help others pick the wise path.
"I strongly and enthusiastically recommend this book to every health care provider, anyone facing their own difficult journey, and every person who wants to help others face life’s difficulties."
- James A. Avery, MD, CMD, FACP, FCCP, FAAHPM
National Medical Director, Diversicare Healthcare Services Inc.
“Choosing Wisdom is a very human story taking us from breakdowns to breakthroughs in scenarios of unrelenting physical pain and physicians’ serious medical errors. Health care providers of every discipline will benefit from the elegant strategies proposed; wise lessons from ordinary people. Choose this book and appreciate the power of those who can reframe adversity and develop wisdom along the way. We can too.”
- Dorrie K. Fontaine, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean Emerita, University of Virginia School of Nursing
“Like a plant that grows toward the light, Choosing Wisdom takes the reader on a journey toward enlightenment through the stories of regular people who have faced difficult circumstances and been positively transformed in the process. It is a must-read for medical professionals, patients, and anyone interested in cultivating their own self-awareness and appreciation of our deep connections to the sufferings and joys of our fellow human beings.”
- Richard M. Frankel, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Geriatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine
Wisdom Leadership in Academic Health Science Centers: Leading Positive Change
In Wisdom Leadership in Academic Health Science Centers: Leading Positive Change, editors Margaret Plews-Ogan and Gene Beyt illustrate how academic health science centers can create a culture that closes the gap between what we should be doing for patients and the reality of what occurs, by nurturing the “thread” of humanity that connects healer to patient and teacher to student. Drawing on William Stafford’s poem “The Way It Is”, Plews-Ogan and Beyt argue that healthcare professionals should hold tight to this thread (“You don’t ever let go of the thread”) even as it is being frayed by divisive political debate. The thread is wisdom leadership, which has the potential to transform healthcare workers and thereby transform the culture of academic health science centers.
Several chapters are written by CAP affiliated faculty, including Julie Haizlip, John Schorling, and Plews-Ogan. The first in a five-volume series on enhancing the professional culture of academic health science centers, Wisdom Leadership inspires readers to become their best selves by reconceptualizing the attributes of leadership to reflect and integrate wisdom. In this framework, wisdom transcends intelligence; is multi-dimensional, spanning knowledge, emotion, and moral behavior; and represents the pinnacle of human development. Drawing on work of business leadership gurus Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi, Plews-Ogan and Beyt propose that wise leaders are those who are both thinkers and doers dedicated to patient-centered care and who focus on details without losing sight of the big picture. In other words, they create space for the exchange of knowledge, concerns, and shared goals. They bring people together and resolve conflicts. They nurture wisdom development in others from boots-on-the-ground workers to high executives, creating an environment of pervasive leadership.
- Gordon Mosser, MD, Senior Fellow, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota; Co-author of Understanding Teamwork in Health Care
 Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi. The Wise Leader: How CEOs Can Learn Practical Wisdom to Help Them Do What’s Right for their Companies and Society. Harvard Business Review; May 2011.