SMU eNews

Best-Selling Author Dr. Victoria Sweet Speaks at SMU February 21 - Picchi Memorial Lecture Series

Though Dr. Victoria Sweet arrived to work at San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital for a two-month appointment, she remained there for 20 years. At Laguna Honda, a descendant of the Hôtel-Dieu (God's Hotel) that cared for "anyone who had fallen, or, often, leapt, onto hard times," Dr. Sweet found that she had the chance to practice a kind of "slow medicine" — a rarity in the modern medical world.

Dr. Sweet's book, God's Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital, and A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine, tells the story of the patients and hospital that transformed the way she came to understand care of the body, and soul.

The 23rd annual Picchi Memorial Lecture on February 21, 2013, will feature Dr. Victoria Sweet. The event at the Health Education Center will begin at 4 p.m. with a reception following the lecture. Please RSVP to the event by calling the SMU Office of Development at 510-869-8628.

God's Hotel has been received with rave reviews and acknowledgements, including being named a Best Book by the San Francisco Chronicle, Scientific American, Barnes and Noble, Kirkus Review and Medscape and as a San Francisco Public Library Librarian Favorite Book of 2012. Parade Magazine put God's Hotel fifth on its Summer Reading List for nonfiction. Dr. Sweet was also recently interviewed on NPR. Click here to listen the interview.

Recent reviews include such praise as:

"God's Hotel is a most important book...It should be required reading for anyone interested in the ‘business' of health care—and especially those interested in the humanity of health care." (Oliver Sacks, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and The Mind's Eye.)

"Dr. Sweet surrounds the stories of her patients with detailed excursions into Hildegard's medical practice and its occasional unexpected utility for modern problems. And while these two layers would make for a perfectly fine memoir, what turns "God's Hotel" into a tour de force is its third: a bitingly skeptical eyewitness account of Laguna Honda's transformation from anachronism into efficient, computerized 21st-century rehabilitation center." (Abigail Zuger, MD, The New York Times)

"Victoria Sweet is a master storyteller and a consummate physician. Her beautifully written stories from the frontline of healthcare document the struggle of all modern-day healers to hold fast to the immortal soul of medicine despite the pressures of economics, the self-interest of politics, and the reductionism of science." (Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and 1997 Picchi Speaker)

Dr. Sweet is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. She is also a prize-winning medical historian with a PhD in history and social medicine. Dr. Sweet has received numerous honors, including the Shryock Medal, the Estes Award, and the Stannard Memorial Award.

Click here for event listing.

The Picchi Memorial Lecture Series, which began in 1990, is made possible by the Picchi Education Fund. Contributions to the Picchi Education Fund help purchase books, videos and other materials for the John A. Graziano Memorial Library at Samuel Merritt University.  The Library is open to the community at large and maintains the latest information on many health-related topics.  The Picchi Education Fund also helps provide a computer database offering information on diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, nutrition, maternal/child care, back care, arthritis, hypertension, sexually transmitted diseases and more.  The Picchi Education Collection, housed in the John A. Graziano Memorial Library, is supported by generous donations.

Dr. Victoria Sweet
Dr. Victoria Sweet