Logo: Season 2 Conversations with Shem

Conversations with Shem: Season 2

7 episodes

Legendary medical literature icon Samuel Shem (best-selling author of The House of God) returns for Season 2 of our live, unscripted conversation about what’s broken in healthcare today. This time around, he brought the guests.


Drs. Shem, Corriel, Francois, Dean, Talbot, Vonnegut, Brown, Otto-Chebly, Carlin, Surrey


Drs. Dana Corriel, Samuel Shem

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conversations with shem

Episodes |

House of God's Conversations with Shem, Season II

Live, unscripted conversation between “Shem”, legendary author of ‘The House of God’, and his invited guests. The discussion: how do we put the HUMAN back into medicine?

Episode 1: The One with Doctor Fritz Francoise

The One with Doctor Fritz Francois

The CMO of NYU Langone Medical Center in NYU, Dr. Fritz Francois, discusses putting the HUMAN back into healthcare with Samuel Shem, author of “The House of God”.


House of God's Conversations with Shem

More about the show

From The House of God to Man’s 4th Best Hospital, a medicine legend joins SoMeDocs. Samuel Shem (pen name), a Professor of Medical Humanities at NYU Medical Center and the psychiatrist behind the iconic books so many in medicine have read, joins our show. This season, Shem brings the guests, but continues right where he left off: how we can put the HUMAN back into medicine.

Episode 2: The One with Doctor Wendy Dean & Doctor Simon G. Talbot
Meet the Talent

production Team

A lot of magic – time, energy, effort – goes on behind the scenes in order to create a project of this nature. Here are the humans behind this project. Contact SoMeDocs anytime to infuse magic into your own work.

series host
Samuel Shem, MD

Shem (our host’s title of preference) is a novelist, playwright and activist. Education: Harvard, Phi Beta Kappa; Rhodes Scholar at Oxford Ph.D.; Harvard MedicalSchool, M.D. with honors. He is Professor of Medicine in Medical Humanities at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. In 2020 he published his new novel, Man’s 4th Best Hospital, sequel to The House of God, which has sold 3 million copies.

Read more about him in his profile.

Books: The House of God, Man’s 4th Best Hospital

producer & creator
Dana Corriel, MD

Dr. Dana Corriel is a board-certified internist who took drastic, and unusual, pivot from seeing patients in the office to building creative entrepreneurial ventures. She founded SoMeDocs in an effort to promote the autonomy of doctors, by empowering and showcasing them using her skills as fuel, and tools that she regularly builds to accomplish this. Dr. Corriel now regularly consults with both individuals and companies, produces series, and helps to build, shape, and market thought leaders. You can check her our inside her profile.

"Good connection is mutual connection" - Shem

it started with a chance encounter


Shem and I linked up in late 2020, in the midst of a pandemic. We were connected through a mutual contact, in that magical way social media has for bringing people together who would not have otherwise met. We instantaneously clicked, unified by the healthcare field we had dabbled in and our love of the arts. Yada, yada, yada, several vent sessions later, we had ourselves a plan. We would join forces on the project, and use each of our talents to spread the word.

That’s how Conversations with Shem was born.

Dana Corriel, MD



Each episode brings together an eclectic group of accomplished physicians. We simply bring them on, tell them the topic, and let personalities get to work. Our goal: an open-ended discussion on how to put the HUMAN back into healthcare.

Fritz François, MD


Fritz François, MD, MSc, FACG is the Chief Medical Officer at New York University Langone Health, in New York.

Dr. François is a graduate of NYU College of Arts and Science who completed his medical degree at the NYU School of Medicine, where he stayed for internship, residency, chief residency, and gastroenterology fellowship. He is an academic gastroenterologist with over 70 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and presentations in his research areas of interests which include esophageal disease, H. pylori, Hepatitis C, and colorectal cancer screening in minority populations.

Dr. François many honors include five American Society for GI Endoscopy Diversity Minority Research awards, induction in the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society, the New York University Distinguished Teaching Award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award.

In his role as the Chief Medical Officer Dr. François helped lead the efforts to open the state of the art NYU Langone Kimmel Pavilion and Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital. He has served as a frontline architect of key operational initiatives to standardize quality patient care, proactively develop patient safety risk reduction strategies, improve throughput, eliminate waste, optimize available technological tools, and improve patient satisfaction.  Dr. François serves as a collaborator and advisor for the NYU Langone Institute of Excellence in Health Equity and remains committed to mentoring individuals across the professional landscape.



Fritz Francoise
Wendy Dean, MD

Wendy Dean, MD


Wendy Dean, MD is a writer, speaker, podcast host, and the President and co-founder of The Moral Injury of Healthcare (fixmoralinjury.org), a nonprofit organization that provides training and consultation to organizations focused on alleviating distress in their workforce. She and her co-founder, Simon G. Talbot, MD, began the conversation about moral injury in healthcare with the publication of their seminal work in STATNews on July 26, 2018.

A psychiatrist by training, Dr. Dean has been a practicing clinician, worked for the Department of Defense, and as an executive for a large international non-profit supporting military medical research.

In addition to moral injury, Dr. Dean’s expertise in product development, reimbursement for novel technologies, clinical trial conduct, government investment strategy, and the ethics of medical innovations is widely sought.

Dr. Dean graduated from Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She did her residency training at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, NH.

Simon G. Talbot, MD


Dr. Simon G. Talbot is an Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Attending Surgeon in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from the University of Auckland, School of Medicine in New Zealand and later moved to the United States, pursuing research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He completed his residency in the Harvard Plastic Surgery Residency Program followed by a fellowship in hand and microsurgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He works primarily in hand and reconstructive plastic surgery where he is the Director of Upper Extremity Transplantation. His work has resulted in more than 90 peer-reviewed publications, more than 100 invited presentations, and more than 25 chapters and lay-press articles. He heads a Department of Defense multi-million-dollar-funded laboratory in collaboration with investigators at the Harvard School of Engineering/Wyss Institute and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center/Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. This research involves nerve recovery facilitated by growth factor delivery, psychosocial predictors of outcomes after amputation/transplantation, and several novel device development projects. Administratively he is the Co-chair of the BWPO Physicians’ Council. He is heavily involved in the area of physician distress, burnout, and moral injury, with a leading article in Stat News being downloaded more than 280000 times, and frequently speaking and consulting nationally on this topic.

Mark Vonnegut, MD

Mark Vonnegut, MD


Mark Vonnegut, MD, the son of Kurt and Jane Cox Vonnegut, was born in Chicago in 1947 and moved to Cape Cod when he was four years old.  He attended Northfield Mount Hermon and received a B.A. in Religion from Swarthmore in 1969.  After graduation, he started a commune in British Columbia; he had his first psychotic break shortly thereafter.  Mark was originally diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia but was subsequently diagnosed as Manic Depressive; the medically preferred term is now Bipolar.  He spent several years back on the Cape recovering and working odd jobs, and he eventually completed a first memoir.  The Eden Express was published in 1975 and has remained in print ever since.  It was named an ALA Notable Book, and the New York Times declared it “required reading for those who want to understand insanity from the inside.”

In 1974, Mark decided to follow his true calling and go to medical school.  He spent two years completing the prerequisite coursework at The University of Massachusetts, Boston, and ultimately earned his medical degree from Harvard.

Vonnegut finished his pediatrics residency at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in 1982 and has been a primary care pediatrician ever since.  He spent 19 years with Milton Pediatrics in Milton, MA, eventually becoming a partner.  In 2001, Mark opened his own pediatric practice in Quincy, MA.  His staff privileges include Children’s Hospital, MGH, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and South Shore Hospital.  Mark has served on the Harvard Medical School Admissions Committee and is currently an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.  He has spoken at numerous conferences and has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Boston Globe, among others, on topics ranging from ADHD to mental illness.  Vonnegut’s second memoir Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So was published by Delacorte Press on October 5, 2010.  The Heart of Caring: A life in pediatrics will be published by Seven Stories Press in the fall of 2021.

Mark Vonnegut is married to Barbara Sibert Vonnegut.  He has three sons, Zachary, 43, Eli, 40, and Mark Oliver, 18.  He paints, plays the saxophone, and likes to walk his dog.

Theresa Brown, PhD, RN


Theresa Brown, PhD, RN, FAAN, a nurse, is the author of The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives, which was a New York Times bestseller. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and also writes for CNN.com. She has been interviewed on the NPR program “Fresh Air,” and has appeared on “Hardball,” and MSNBC live. Brown writes and speaks about nursing, health care and end of life care. She has a PhD in English from the University of Chicago. Her kids inspired her to leave academia and pursue nursing. It is a career change she has never regretted.


Dr. Kate Chebly

Kate Otto Chebly, MD


Kate Otto Chebly, MD is Chief Resident of the NYU Internal Medicine/Primary Care Program, and a Rudin Fellow in Medical Humanities, with a masters in Health Care Policy. She is also a mother of two, author of the book “Everyday Ambassador”, and international speaker on topics within global health and social determinants of health.

Reverend Nathan Carlin


Nathan Carlin, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), is Professor in the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). Dr. Carlin holds the Samuel Karff Chair. He was also elected as the Chair of the Faculty Senate of McGovern Medical School for 2018-2019.

Dr. Carlin directs the Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration for medical students and he co-directs the Clinical Humanities Certificate Program for dental students. At McGovern Medical School, he holds appointments in the Department of Family Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Carlin also has an appointment at the Institute for Spirituality and Health.

Dr. Carlin has published over 100 articles, chapters, book reviews, and commentaries. Additionally, he has published 7 books, one of which is a co-edited volume.  These include: Living in Limbo: Life in the Midst of Uncertainty; 100 Years of Happiness: Insights and Findings from the Experts; Religious Mourning: Reversals and Restorations in Psychological Portraits of Religious Leaders; Medical Humanities: An Introduction; The Gift of Sublimation: A Psychoanalytic Study of Multiple Masculinities; Pastoral Aesthetics: A Theological Perspective on Principlist Bioethics; and Teaching Health Humanities.

Currently, Dr. Carlin is working on three books.  Two of these are edited volumes focused on contemporary physician-authors; the other is a monograph (under contract with Oxford University Press) on medicine and secularization.

Episode 6: The One with Reverend Doctor Nathan Carlin
Episode 7: The One with Janet Surrey

Janet Surrey, PhD


Janet Surrey, PhD teaches Insight Dialogue retreats internationally and leads a monthly practice group in the Boston area. Jan serves on the Insight Dialogue Community Teachers’ Council and the coordinating team for the Insight Dialogue Teaching Community. She has worked with Gregory Kramer since 2007. Her original teacher was Vimala Thakar. Jan has also done many retreats with Thich Nhat Hanh and Joanna Macy and completed the Community Dharma Leader training at Spirit Rock in 2008. Jan is a practicing clinical psychologist and is a faculty and board member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy in Boston, MA. She and other facilitators hold a monthly practice group called Insight Dialogue Northeast.

Dr. Jonathan Vitale


Dr. Jonthan Vitale is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at HappyHealth.

Jonathan is a Family Physician, wherein he treats a diverse patient-body on a daily basis. When Vitale isn’t promoting wellness or treating illness, he is also very active on Twitter as a vocal member of the Patient Advocacy and Primary Care Revolution communities.

Dr. Jonathan Vitale

Want to Weigh In?

Shem and Corriel invite YOU to add your thoughts into the mix. Simply submit your opinion in written form via: our submission form.

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