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Larry Mauksch Nominated for CFHA's Don Bloch Award by Three Colleagues

Posted By Barry J. Jacobs, Valerie Ross, and Randall Reitz, Thursday, November 29, 2012
Larry Mauksch et al

At the 2012 conference in Austin, the CFHA Board of Directors presented the Don Bloch Award to Larry Mauksch.  This award is the association's highest recognition for contributions to the field of integrated and collaborative care that are pioneering, or in some way help bridge the mind-body gap and pursue a more humane, egalitarian and interdisciplinary healthcare system. Three of Larry Mauksch's colleagues presented the nomination at the conference awards luncheon:


Barry Jacobs

   Barry J. Jacobs

Let me make the case for Larry Mauksch, M.Ed for the Don Bloch Award for this year. Without his service to CFHA as a board member and later president in the '90s and early 2000s, our organization wouldn't exist today. He gave us passion and selfless leadership during his tenure--a time when the survival of CFHA was in question. He served as the crucial bridge between the vision of our founders and the more pragmatic, membership-oriented organization we are currently. Even after he stepped down as president, he has remained engaged with CFHA as a conference attendee and participant and key advisor to the board and board staff members.

Larry’s contributions to the field of collaborative family healthcare go well beyond his service to CFHA. Through his long-time association with the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington, he is one of the best known and most highly regarded behavioral science faculty members in the country. His 2-year tenure as a visiting clinician at the Marillac Clinic in Colorado helped make that community health center one of the early models for community-centered collaborative family healthcare. In the past decade he has co-written important articles in the major primary care journals on patient-centered communication and, more recently, integrated healthcare teams. He currently provides trainings around the country on those subjects and serves as a national champion for behavioral healthcare within the PCMH.

In addition to these many accomplishments, Larry is one of the warmest, funniest, most generous people I've encountered in the collaborative family healthcare field. I've benefitted from his encouragement and mentoring. He has been the Yoda to many budding collaborative Jedi.

Randall Reitz

    Randall Reitz

Larry Mauksch is the warm, generous heart of the collaborative care movement. When I asked his colleagues across the nation to describe him. They called him visionary, caring, diligent, energetic, determined, and thoughtful.

I describe him as an ideal mentor. Through a lucky accident, Larry took me under his wing back in 2000. I was fortunate to complete my PhD internship at Marillac Clinic shortly after Larry’s year-long sabbatical during which he established Marillac’s collaborative care program. My internship was funded through a 5-year RWJ grant Larry had co-authored. During my years there, Larry returned to Grand Junction yearly to offer training and conduct research. My first published research was with him as a first author, and my early professional presentations included him as co-presenter. On multiple occasions I’ve slept in his home, eaten at his table, and soaked in his rooftop hot tub. I’ve called him for advice before each major decision of my career. He personally nominated me when I was invited to join CFHA’s board.

I share my experience with Larry because I have personal knowledge that he has provided similar tutelage to many, many young collaborators. This room is full of people for whom Larry has had a deep and enduring impact.

In thinking about a story to share that would typify Larry, the most poignant memories are actually of hearing Larry brag on his wife and children. If allowed, he will share stories of their academic success, deep humanity, and outdoor adventures for hours. Larry lives the family in collaborative family healthcare. His family is with us today and I’d like to thank Sally, Claire, and Eli for sharing your remarkable husband and father with us for these many years.

Valerie Ross

   Valerie Ross

I have been asked to reflect on my experience of Larry as a teacher and educator. It’s been my privilege to be both Larry’s student, colleague, and friend for the past 15 years.

Larry is one of the most generous and creative people I know. His work is infused with a deep understanding of collaboration and coaching.

  • In 1985 Larry took over the behavioral science program in the UW Family Medicine residency. The position became a base for his almost 30 year- exploration in training healthcare professionals.

  • In 1996 he started an Internship for Master’s level therapists in Collaborative Care. To date 19 therapists have graduated from the program, myself among them, many of whom are working in medical settings and involved in healthcare change.

  • His scholarly work as an educator has focused on defining, describing and teaching skills at the interface of time management and quality patient centered care.

  • He has been influential in developing methods for innovative clinical training, marrying skill articulation with, direct observation and feedback, video review, and self-reflection.

A few of Larry’s contributions include:

  • Training materials in patient centered communication such as "The Patient Centered Observation Form” and accompanying on-line videos

  • The Paired Observation Video Editing Course: a course that utilizes peer observation and has been adapted in medical schools around the country.

  • Recently Larry served on the Competency Task Force for the Council of Academic Family Medicine. He is developing new training materials in response to this experience.

  • His focus in clinical training is evolving from an individual to a team focus. He is working with health systems around the country to promote well functioning teams in the medical home.

Larry’s impact on me has been profound, both professionally and personally. Barry asked me tell you all some anecdotes that help to capture who he is. I thought to myself: "Well, we have been on this big adventure together – an adventure we all in CFHA are on -- trying to figure out how to change the healthcare system. For me, a formative part of this adventure has taken place in conversations in Larry’s office. Not a setting for dramatic story telling. So I tried to think of archetypes to more dramatically capture what it has been like to take part of this adventure with Larry.

  • Like Harry Potter, Larry is a leader among peers, a change agent from within guided by the values of social justice, compassion and the importance of relationship

  • However, in age he is closer to Dumbledore. He shares the qualities of a wise supportive mentor who is there when you need him and moves out of the way when it’s time to let his student grow. He is caring, challenging, and his door is always open.

  • There is little bit of Yoda in him too. He is a guide with a big picture view

  • Then again he does have an edge – like say – Hans Solo. He is a great co-pilot, he does not let the rules, or that fact that he is in an imperfect ship get in the way of his creativity or taking risks.

  • And then there is his style; which is really a little more like Columbo (without the cigar) : a bit rumpled in appearance, messy office, he always greets you with a big warm smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye signaling delight, and he is always thinking outside the box.

Recently Larry and I were talking about something that happened in the department that seemed like a step backwards, reversing some of the important work we had both done in the residency. That step backwards was bothering me. Larry leaned back in his chair and said: "I have really come to think of my work as just a grain of sand in a much bigger evolution.” Then we set to work planning how to move forward again. This is one of the most important lessons I learned form Larry. I will just call it: Think Zen.

Don’t take your self too seriously, recognize that your work may be but a flicker of light or grain of sand in the evolution of healthcare, AND invest 110% or more of yourself in that work. Don’t get hung up in judging whether a situation is good or bad. Look for openings to move towards creation of a more humane and quality system…whether it is teaching, or attending a faculty meeting, or trying to change a culture …listen… think systemically… do your research …get to know your collaborators … and take risks. You never know what will come of it.

I have tremendous gratitude for my relationship with Larry and all he has taught me and I am so pleased that CFHA is honoring him in this way.

 The text of Larry Mauksch's acceptance speech is available here.

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