3rd Conversation (3C)™ Frequently Asked Questions


About 3rd Conversation:


What is 3rd Conversation (3C)?

Typically, patients and clinicians have talked about their respective experiences in separate conversations.  3rd Conversation brings us together to connect and explore how reinventing the patient-clinician relationship can be a source of power, healing, and fulfillment. 3C is designed to bring this new conversation—and the remarkable changes that it brings about—into reality.

The backbone of 3C is a Spark event, a professionally facilitated event that occurs in-person (when safe) or virtually. During Spark events, between 12 and 24 participants explore their respective experiences and "dreamstorm" ways the future could be different if relationships were prioritized and valued in our health system. The experience is designed to boost clinician, patient, and/or health system administrator wellbeing. Participants leave the room feeling enlightened, inspired, motivated, and supported to continue the conversation and to turn that conversation into action.

There are additional activities pre- and post- Spark event, tailored to each participating site's needs, goals and capacities. These include activities in narrative leadership, online community building, and ongoing work at the site-level to facilitate changes identified in the Spark event. 



What is the goal of 3rd Conversation?

The goal of 3rd Conversation is to generate deeper and sustained human connection as a catalyst for health care systems change.

We believe that in many ways the social fabric of health care is torn. The threads of human connection stand alone and disconnected because of the way the U.S. health care system is organized and financed. 3rd Conversation is re-weaving healthy, empathetic human connection in ways that help people achieve their shared health care hopes and interests.


What do participants get out of participating in 3rd Conversation?

Many health care entities are struggling to address rising rates of clinician burnout, depression, and suicide. While not a panacea, 3C helps reconnect providers to meaning in their work. 3C offers an opportunity for clinicians and patients (or clinicians and health system adminstrators) to describe a shared vision of the system they collectively desire, and to take action to bring that future into reality.


3rd Conversation adds a new dimension to efforts to develop a person-centered culture. It complements initiatives such as Patient Advisory Councils but is substantially different. 3C is a forum that allows all participants to talk together on equal footing about their respective needs. Participants report feeling "seen" and validated, as well as feeling understood and more positive about the health care system. 




3rd Conversation and COVID:

How has 3C adapted to COVID?

3rd Conversation has gone virtual! We have redesigned the Spark event to be conducted over Zoom and shortened the format. Our tests of the new design are showing the same end-results as those of our in-person events. Participants are leaving the event feeling seen, heard, understood, and energized to make the care delivery system more relationship-based.


Why is now a good time to participate in 3C?

Relationships and human connection are a powerful force for healing, health, professional satisfaction, patient experience and clinician wellbeing. Prioritizing relationships in health care during and in the recovery period from the COVID crisis can help sustain patients, providers, and health system administrators personally and professionally. Spark events provide an opportunity for people to reconnect during a time of physical distancing and social isolation, and can examine how participants can leverage this time of rapid learning and change to elevate the importance of relationships within the health care system. 


Spark Events:


What is a Spark Event?

A Spark Event brings local patients and health professionals together to discuss:

  • What health care looks like when it works

  • How the health care system would look if the patient-provider relationship was valued

  • What needs to happen for that vision to become reality

  • What patients, clinicians, and/or health system administrators can do together – next week, next month and next year – to achieve that reality

How many people do you need to hold a Spark Event?

The ideal number of participants for an in-person Spark Event is 24-30 participants. For virtual events, the ideal number is 8-24. For both in-person and virtual events, it’s important to have an equal number of patient and clinician (or clinician and health system administration) participants.


How long do Spark Events last?

In-person Spark events are approximately 3.5 hours, and include a meal. Virtual Spark events are approximately 2.5 hours. 

Are only physician providers allowed to participate in Spark Events?

No, Spark events are inter-professional. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other clinicians who provide care are encouraged to participate.




Who funds the 3rd Conversation initiative?

The Morris-Singer Foundation is the primary funder of the 3rd Conversation initiative. Their support allows approved communities to participate without fees. If you are an organization interested in sponsoring additional 3C sites, please contact us