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Gutless & Grateful for Healthcare Professionals

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As a health advocate, Amy’s presentations have been accepted to international conferences, including International Critical Case Reports (Dubai), Traditional and Alternative Medicine (Netherlands), Diversity and Disability (Honolulu) and Critical Care and Disability (Reno, NV).  

View other healthcare speaking here.

“Thank you for an inspiring talk at this weekend’s WOCN conference.  The part that you should be most excited about, is that the people who were in your audience for this talk (nurses!) can act on your shared insights. My biggest “take away” from your talk is to remember to just listen.  Sometimes I just want to make things better, but I’m often defining that by what I think will make things better.  I wanted you to know what your perspective meant to me. Thank you!” – Cathy, WOCN Nurse

With a keynote combining Broadway theatre and mental health advocacy, Amy has changed the way doctors view the role they have in their patients’ recovery. Her incredible story of physical and spiritual survival demonstrates the importance of emotional support and expressive arts in times of critical surgical interventions, as well as the tremendous impact that doctors have on their patients.

Perfect For:

  • Medical Conferences and Associations
  • Benefits and Fundraisers
  • Supporters and Family Members
  • Support Groups
  • Hospital Events and Fundraisers
  • Med and Pre-Med Students
  • Medical Field Professionals
  • Practitioners and Researchers
  • Patient and Family Advocates
  • Mental Health Events
  • Healthcare Products and Services Industry
  • Confidence, Peer-to-Peer Communication and Team-Building
  • Eating Disorder Awareness (see Eating Recovery Center Foundation Benefit)
  • Arts and Healing Advocacy.

To learn more about Amy’s workshops and performances for patients, click here.

The Problem: Surgeons’ bedside manners, attitudes in the operating room, and attitudes in life affect’s their patients’ overall emotional and physical wellbeing, before and after surgery.

“Rudeness and incivility among doctors, in particular in the operating room, can actually lead to poorer health outcomes and even higher death rates among patients.[1]

Amy speaks on her experience in a customizable 3-component keynote/program:

Part 1) A 70-minute one-woman autobiographical musical – Gutless & Grateful – a comedic yet poignant story on how I survived 27 stomach surgeries, organ failure and sexual abuse, tuning those obstacles into opportunities. Through interwoven song and dialogue, Amy share a primal piece of live-storytelling – a powerful message that it’s possible to overcome physical and mental obstacles.

Part 2) An educational session/speech where I discuss an alternative approach to  health,  and how to help patients thrive with a physical or mental health condition, or one of the speech topics listed below.

Part 3) A Q&A session where members have the opportunity to ask about my own journey and my experience with healing, and the idea of “patient as person.”

View testimonials here.

The Solution:

Amy’s compelling story lends a voice to all patients, providing surgeons with an firsthand account of what it’s like being under the knife 27 times, in eight hospitals and among 13 surgeons.

Based in part on Amy’s personal experience surviving ten years of medical interventions, sexual abuse, and PTSD, Amy brings a voice to the patient experience with Gutless & Grateful, in a 60-90 minute program combining storytelling, music, and a keynote speech.
You can explore these key themes in more detail here.

A survivor’s first hand experience radically changes doctors’ approaches to their practice.

Amy was the Eastern Regional Recipient of the Great Comebacks award for her ostomy advocacy, and was honored at a national convention of Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses in Nashville, TN, in June 2014.  A video of Amy and the other regional Great Comebacks honorees, filmed by Town Square Pictures, was shown to over 500 nurses, to show just how important WOC nurses are and the impact their work has on real people, like Amy..

“The challenge for us … is to nurture … ego strength and competence, and a strong work ethic — but in a way that doesn’t abandon our commitment to being civil to one another.[1]

Amy is a  PTSD peer-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for The Huffington Post, award-winning founder of the Fearless Ostomates, and health activist who’s writings on health advocacy have been featured in Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Phoenix Magazine – the official publication of the UOAA.

Amy emphasizes compassion and the balance of emotional wellbeing with professional conduct.

“rudeness isn’t entirely the doctors’ fault, since much of it stems from a medical culture in which the surgeon is captain of the ship in the operating room and the doctor on the ward is the arbiter of all medical decisions. The problem is, that structure means that ‘we are essentially training the next generation of surgeons to be bullies.’[1]

One way to do that may  involve educating surgeons and physicians in positions of authority to accept that their power does not have to be exercised all the time, and that difficult situations and crises can often benefit from a cooperative rather than a dogmatic approach.


Surgeons’ attitudes affect their patients and the behavior of the rest of the staff.

“…when doctors were more courteous to operating room staff, their patients were more likely to survive and avoid complications than the patients of docs who were O.R. boors.[1]

“75% of pharmacists and nurses prefer not to confront difficult physicians to ask about potential medication interactions or errors in the prescription. If a doctor who may be making a prescribing mistake goes unchallenged, patients may wind up getting the wrong type or amount of drug — with potentially disastrous consequences.”

  1. Time Magazine: Your Doctor’s Bedside Manner Could Affect Your Health

Get in touch with me and inquire about Gutless & Grateful now!

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