In her teaching, lectures, and writings, Lucy M. Candib, M.D. has raised awareness of various possibilities for improving physician-patient relationships, with a special emphasis on bringing caring to the fore. Dr. Candib has taught and practiced family medicine, including obstetrics, in an urban neighborhood family health center in Worcester, Massachusetts, since 1976. The Family Health Center serves as a residency training site within the University of Massachusetts, where she is a professor of family medicine and community health.
In her book Medicine and the Family: A Feminist Perspective, Dr. Candib explores the assumptions underlying current teachings about child and adult development, sexual abuse, the family life cycle, and family systems. She also examines the ways in which women are often ignored, subordinated, or blamed in the modern medical system. Dr. Candib then shows how "doctors-in-relation" allow caring to become the core of clinical work, and contrasts that to the "traditional" medical emphasis on so-called rationality and objectivity.
For the Women's Health Project at the University of Massachusetts residency program, Dr. Candib has delineated thirteen principles she calls the "Tenets of Women's Health." She has lectured widely on the topics of sexual abuse and violence against women. Over her career, she has also focused attention on the concerns of women trainees and practitioners in her work with family practice residents.
Dr. Candib inspires physicians to get more out of their relationship with their patients and encourages active listening. She also examines the vulnerability of patients, physicians, families, and communities, going beyond the patient perspective to address the effects of societal and economic constraints on physicians and the community.
Physicians deal every day with difficult topics, beyond disease states. Dr. Candib observes that today's health care providers are likely to encounter patients who are survivors of inflicted atrocities and abuse, sometimes the result of genocidal conflicts, and have to work with their suffering. "People fleeing horrendous circumstances bring persisting memories that produce symptoms even for the next generation...Clinicians around the world need to be willing and able to acknowledge and witness the profound sources of experiential pain in the lives of their patients."
In 1995 Dr. Candib won a Fulbright grant to teach family medicine in Ecuador, where she spent a year as visiting professor at Pontificia Catholic University. In 1993 she received the Society for Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Excellence in Education Award, which recognizes leadership within the Society for Teachers in support of teaching, curriculum development, research, or other aspects of medical student or resident education. Dr. Candib also received the Outstanding Primary Care Research, Generalist Physician Initiative award in 1997 from University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Candib combines clinical work and teaching three days a week with research, reading, and writing. She lives with her life partner and occasional co-author, Richard Schmitt; together they have raised two children.