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For those who trained in Canada (especially Toronto), the name of Dr. Robert Buckman always brought a chuckle. He filled his lectures with his signature British wit and humour. Yet, the message was always loud and clear. Being an oncologist, he had great insight in communication with patients.

He was the first to teach us medical students about communication and professionalism: Kindness, empathy, delivering bad news, what to say when you don’t know what to say. A decade later, out of the countless hours of lectures, his stood out.

Truly a big loss to the medical educators community.

Dr. Buckman’s website


  1. Buckman R. Communications and emotions. BMJ. 2002 Sep 28;325(7366):672. BMJ website
  2. Buckman R. Words that make a difference: enhancing the “how” in “how we say it”. Support Cancer Ther. 2006 Jan 1;3(2):127. Free PDF
  3. Buckman R, Tulsky JA, Rodin G. Empathic responses in clinical practice: intuition or tuition? CMAJ. 2011 Mar 22;183(5):569-71. Pubmed


Stella Yiu, MD

Stella Yiu, MD

ALiEM Blog Contributor
Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa Staff Physician, The Ottawa Hospital
Stella Yiu, MD


Emergency physician and clinician educator in Ottawa, Canada. Own opinions. Go #FOAMed!