Carl Hammerschlag

You were the Super Star of our conference! I have attended leadership conferences over my 24 years with SSM and never heard such positive feedback concerning a presentation.

– SSM Healthcare

About Keynote Speaker Carl Hammerschlag

Carl Hammerschlag, MD is a master storyteller and internationally recognized author, physician, speaker, healer, and humanitarian clown. A Yale-trained psychiatrist; he has spent more than twenty years working with Native Americans. He is an expert on community-based health care, how to survive in rapidly changing cultures, and a leading authority in the practical applications of Psychoneuroimmunology (mind-body-spirit medicine). A faculty member at the University of Arizona Medical School, the Chief of Community Mental Health, Gesundheit! Institute, and founder of the Turtle Island Project, a non-profit, multidisciplinary organization whose programs integrate the principles of mind/body/spirit medicine with Native American rituals and ceremonies.

Speech Topics


Change is the biological order of the universe. How you come to those changes is more important than the challenges they represent. It’s hard for us to change, as a species we seem to want to maintain the status quo. We are comfortable with the familiar even if it keeps us from achieving greater success by doing things differently. Sometime in our lives we will face difficult and serious challenges. If we can balance our fear of change with our hopes for the future then we can transform threats into opportunities.

In his inimitable style with humor and poignancy, this storyteller, doctor, healer, grandfather, sculptor and fly fishermen will guide you on a transformative experience of discovery that will allow you to become the hero of your own life’s journey or assisting those you serve.


Only when we shed the masks that inhibit growth and learn to explore our preconceptions and face our fears can we take the risks to become great leaders. In this age of public scrutiny and accountability, Dr. H discusses leadership in terms of pursuing authenticity; creating environments that encourage risk-taking; appreciating the power of the unconscious, intuitive mind; and transmitting the clearest sense of mission and values.


Wireless technology is reprogramming human behavior on a massive scale. We can stay connected to friends, family, do business, and foment uprisings; we can talk, listen to music, and look at streaming video while driving. 85% who have a handheld device are never more than an arms length away from them. As a culture, we are always ready to respond to the sound of the ping, and stop whatever we’re doing and be someplace else.

We are becoming addicted to the ping of an arriving message which triggers a burst of endorphins that stimulate the reward centers of our brains and urge us to want more. As a culture, we suffer from an Attention Deficit Disorder, and it’s stressing us out. In the language of science and stories, Dr. Hammerschlag reminds us how to thrive in these rapidly changing times. With passion and humor this internationally recognized psychiatrist helps us appreciate the importance of a “life between the pings.”


Saying what you mean, and doing what you promise, is no longer the custom in our culture. Nowadays, it’s more common to say whatever people want to hear, or whatever you can get away with. Right and wrong is now determined by courts of law rather than a shared consensus about what’s ethical and moral.

To succeed personally and professionally you must be authentic– a person or organization whose words, actions and principles are all telling the same story. In his compelling style, Dr. H. shares his experience and wisdom, in ways that will kindle your passion and purpose.


Today’s healthcare model is based on an intervention (we diagnose illness and prescribe treatment). The future of healthcare will be based on a model of prediction and prevention. We can do that and get reimbursed for it, but it means moving beyond office and hospital walls, and into the community. Healthcare in the future will be provided in schools, after-school programs, senior centers designed to keep people healthy.

In high risk areas of the community mobile vans can provide out-patient/preventative care. There is a large pool of healing resources and practitioners in communities that can be mobilized to create a network focused on keeping people healthy. Weaving the language of science, with the magic of his stories, Dr. H. presents a paradigm-shifting model of preventative healthcare that saves billions of dollars, provides better care and promotes the importance of sustaining connections and building community.

Speakers Videos

Healing in Community

America’s Healing Doc

Books & Media


Rave Reviews

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KEYWORDS: Authenticity, Business of Healthcare, Caregivers & Caregiving, Change, Dementia, Disease Prevention, End of Life, Grief, Hospice, Leadership, Longevity, Mindfulness | Happiness, Resilience, Stress, Trust, Vision