Spencer Miller is a world-renowned motivational speaker, sports broadcaster and most importantly for JDMI staff, a patient. And when his hospital experience didn’t go as planned he decided to share his story with the JDMI team and help improve the patient experience for others.

Spencer, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, visited Mount Sinai Hospital for a scheduled appointment several weeks ago. Despite being assured that his visit would be accommodated, the staff was unable to provide the necessary assistance to offer Spencer imaging services, and the miscommunication ultimately led to his appointment being rescheduled.  Spencer  was disappointed in his experience and his physician, Mark Silverberg  reached out to Dr. Howard Ovens, Chief Medical Strategy Officer, so Spencer could provide the hospital with feedback about his experience.  “I was immediately struck by Spencer’s commitment to improving the patient’s experience  by expanding staff’s understanding of how people with disabilities experience the health-care system” said Dr. Ovens. 

At the invitation of Dr. Larry White, JDMI Medical Director,  Spencer shared his experience to a full room of JDMI’s Mount Sinai staff who were all listening intently to Spencer’s suggestions around communicating with patients.

“We all have our bad days, good days, and in-between,” says Spencer. “But when dealing with people with various needs you have to remember that you’re empowered to provide care. And often, the interaction between patient and staff is a reflection of what the patient is going through. For example, I’ve had over 30 surgeries.  There are days that the frustration of my experiences spills over to my interaction with staff.”  He also added that the first two minutes of an interaction with health-care staff is what he remembers the most –if that doesn’t go well, then the relationship can spiral down from there.

Dr. Larry White and Lilace Hudson, Clinical Manager at Mount Sinai thanked Spencer for giving his time to the JDMI team, reminding everyone that while it’s not possible to fully understand other’s experiences, we all have to consider each patient’s individual circumstances.  

 “ I was very pleased to speak with the JDMI team. I have been a big supporter of Mount Sinai and I decided to speak with the team because I know that these are issues that you care about,” said Spencer.

Sinai Health System has a number of resources available for staff to learn about accommodation, including our Accommodation Policy and FAQ on the Human Rights and Health Equity intranet pages and our AODA committee, chaired by Sharon Currie.


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