Telltale Hearts

A Public Health Doctor, His Patients, and the Power of Story

New Release


By Dean-David Schillinger, MD

Formats and Prices




$41.00 CAD



  1. Hardcover $32.00 $41.00 CAD
  2. ebook $18.99 $24.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around July 16, 2024. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

In this illuminating work, a doctor and public health advocate reveals what his patients have taught him about patience and healing.

For over three decades, Dr. Dean-David Schillinger has served in one of the country’s busiest and most important public hospitals. A public health leader and primary care physician for underserved patients, Schillinger learned that high-tech tests and novel medications are often not enough to save lives. Rather, accurate diagnosis, treatment and true healing come from listening deeply to patients and their stories. 

In Telltale Hearts, Schillinger reveals what is lost when patients’ stories are ignored or overlooked, and how much is gained when these stories are actively elicited. The stories themselves, at times shocking and always revelatory, disclose secrets, prompt awe, forge unexpected connections, and even catalyze public health action.

Telltale Hearts serves as a call to action, urging us to reshape public policy to improve the nation's health.

  • “With this remarkable work, woven from strands of memoir, reportage, prophecy, and stinging indictment, shot through with bright threads of humor and tenderness, and beautifully written, Dean-David Schillinger brings clarity, curiosity, patience, understanding, and an undeniable literary gift to bear on the practice of medicine in this inhumane age.”
    Michael Chabon, author of Moonglow
  • Telltale Hearts digs deep into the humanity of patients and caregivers alike, revealing the indispensable connection between medicine and storytelling. Timely and telling!”
    Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, editor in Chief, Bellevue Literary Review, and author of What Doctors Feel
  • “Schillinger, a master clinician, uses powerful stories to bring the reader face-to-face with the root causes of the nation’s most pressing health problems and the imperative to enact desperately needed changes in health policy and public health. A compelling, beautifully written must-read for all of us who have a personal stake in improving our health and the health of our communities.”
    Ronald Epstein, MD, author of Attending
  • "A humble and honest, heroic and heartrending account of humanistic medicine."
    Booklist (starred)

On Sale
Jul 16, 2024
Page Count
368 pages

Dean-David Schillinger, MD

About the Author

Dean-David Schillinger MD is a primary care physician, scientist, author, and public health advocate. He is an internationally recognized expert in health communication and has been widely recognized for his work related to improving the health of marginalized populations. He is credited with a number of discoveries in primary care and health communication and is considered a pioneer of the field of health literacy. He is the inaugural recipient of the Andrew B. Bindman Professorship in Primary Care and Health Policy at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Schillinger has served as chief of the UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital, and chief of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program for the California Department of Public Health. In 2006, he co-founded the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, a leading research center committed to addressing the social, environmental and commercial determinants of health through research, education, policy, and practice. He currently directs the UCSF Health Communications Research Program.

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July 2024

  • Dean-David Schillinger and Daniel Handler [online event]

    Dean-David Schillinger is joined by Daniel Handler for a conversation about his new book, Telltale Hearts: A Public Health Doctor, His Patients, and the Power of Story.

    Virtual - Zoom

    Free, registration required.
  • Dr. Dean-David Schillinger with José Vadi

    Celebrate the release of TELLTALE HEARTS with Dean-David Schillinger, MD, in conversation with José Vadi!

    Greenapple Books | San Francisco

    Learn More

August 2024

  • Dean-David Schillinger, MD with Ashley M. McMullen, MD - Telltale Hearts (Ferry Building Event)

    Dean-David Schillinger, MD is in conversation with Ashley M. McMullen, MD

    Book Passage | San Fransisco

    Learn more