Exploring the Difference Between Curing and Healing

May 22, 2014

Credit Neil Fowler/flickr creative commons

The pediatric oncologist Mark Greenberg says in his riveting TED talk, that medicine is losing its vision of healing. “We are not health care providers,” he notes pointedly. “We traffic in healing.” Greenberg knows what he's talking about, and not only because of his long history treating severely ill children. He lost his own child to cancer.

On our show we attempt to appreciate the difference between curing and healing. We live in a society in which we struggle with what we want from our healthcare policies. Is it anything and everything that reinforces our sense of control over things? Do we demand what we want when we want it? How do we answer these questions when we consider that healing is adapting to the circumstances at hand, with a focus on emotional as well as physical health, not tied to a particular outcome?

Join the conversation by email, on Twitter, or on Facebook.


  • Bruce Clements is a senior contributor to the show.
  • Dr. Hugh Blumenfeld practices and teaches medicine in Hartford.


  • “Gne Gne,” Montefiori Cocktial
  • “Take Me to the River,” Talking Heads
  • “When My Time Comes,” Andrew Calhoun
  • “Carnival,” Natalie Merchant
  • “Life in Technicolor,” Coldplay