This year’s presenter of the Morton and Diane Stenchever Lecture will draw on his decades of experience in both maternal-fetal medicine and martial arts to help health care providers improve all aspects of their lives.
Michael R. Foley, MD, will present “Learning to Find Life Fulfillment and Harmony as an Ob-Gyn Provider: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Medicine” at 3:15 p.m. Monday. The professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix and chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Banner University Medical Center, has practiced martial arts for more than 50 years. He’s a seventh-degree black belt and operates 11 martial arts schools in the Phoenix area in addition to his medical career.
Dr. Foley will help attendees create tools to build a blueprint and become the architect of their own lives while finding fulfillment and harmony at and away from work.
Don’t confuse harmony with balance, Dr. Foley said. Striving for balance uses a lot of energy chasing an equilibrium that’s never achieved, much like the movement of a teeter-totter.
“Harmony is like strumming multiple notes or strings simultaneously to create a beautiful life chord, and we want to tune each string so we learn as providers to tune the string of family, to tune the string of professional growth and development, community, spirituality, finance, etc., so that we are in control of them,” he said.
He will talk about creating and maintaining trust in relationships with leaders, other providers, and family members through the concept of blending instead of resisting.
Dr. Foley also will show how to break free from negative assumptions and focus on meaningful work, great relationships and physical and spiritual well-being.
“We need tools so we can understand how we might deal with all of these stresses of change and how we need to go back to the original passions that brought us into medicine from the very beginning to maintain the control, to maintain the harmony,” he said.
Dr. Foley blends medicine and martial arts to train residents how to have crucial conversations, lead from their own strengths, and create change.
“As a doctor, you’re all about improving the life circumstance of your patients and the people around you,” he said. “As a martial artist, your training is that so you can learn to improve the life circumstance of your students so that you can teach them and let them grow, so it’s very much a lot of crossover.”
Dr. Foley has written two books that share many of the same concepts he will present during his ACOG lecture, “Ancient Wisdom for Life Fulfillment… Inspiring all People to Live Peaceful and Compassionate Lives,” published in 2010, and “The Art of Humane Living — Martial Arts as a Path to Peace,” published in 2004. More about his philosophies can be found at the website for his martial arts schools, centerforhumaneliving.org.