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Although we take full responsibility for its contents, a book like this is a collective undertaking. We are grateful to the many people who have helped to bring about this work, whether knowingly or not. Among these are our patients; our students, trainees, and colleagues at UC Davis, Texas A&M University and Baylor College of Medicine; two professional societies (Society of General Internal Medicine and Academy of Communication in Health Care); and the many communication researchers on whose shoulders we stand.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of colleagues who generously provided feedback on parts of the book: Andrew Auerbach, Lauren Bloom, Kevin Burnham, Paul Duberstein, Ronald Epstein, Tonya Fancher, Ishani Ganguli, Jodi Halpern, Dana Hinojosa, Marianne Matthias, Kelley Skeff, and Steven Woloshin. Special thanks are due to Robert Bell, a longtime colleague at UC Davis whose work inspired and helped to shape the initial contours of this book.

Finally, this work could not have been completed without the loving support of our wives (Helaina Laks Kravitz, MD, published author, voracious reader, and a gentle but persistent critic; and Nancy James Street, award winning teacher, invaluable colleague, and a much appreciated—and needed—proponent of imagination and creativity). We are also grateful for the inspiration of our adult children (David, Aaron, and Joshua Kravitz; Rachel Crowder, Joshua Street, Jonathan Street, and Madeline West), who represent the next generation and our hopes for the future.

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