Gold Professors

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation Professorship Program promotes the importance of humanistic medicine and the values of professionalism in medical education.  Gold Professors engage in curriculum development, program development, and the transformation of institutional culture toward a more humanistic learning environment.  Meet our Gold Professors:

Louise Aronson, MD, MFA

Anna Kuperberg PhotographyDr. Aronson is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Aronson’s Professorship project is entitled “Fostering Humanism through Critical Reflection and Narrative Advocacy”. In her project, she will explore educational strategies associated with critical reflection, which encourages thoughtful and emotive introspection, and narrative advocacy, which encourages physicians to become active change agents for improving health outcomes and care. Specifically, the project will create a longitudinal, developmental, curriculum in reflection and replicate and disseminate a Writing for Change narrative advocacy program.

Alexander Green, MD, MPH

AlexanderGreenDr. Green is the Associate Director of The Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Associate Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Green’s Professorship project is entitled “Through the Veil of Language: Addressing the Hidden Curriculum to Promote Quality, Safety and Humanism in the Care of Patients with Limited English Proficiency (LEP)”.

In his project, he will conduct a first of a kind study exploring the hidden curriculum as it relates to LEP patients across various clinical settings and in an interprofessional context with medical and nursing students. As we have discussed at recent Board meetings, the “hidden curriculum” is the unofficial learning – of both good and bad behaviors and attitudes – that occurs as students are socialized into organized medicine.

Jennifer Kesselheim, MD, EdM

Jennifer KesselheimDr. Kesselheim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/ Children’s Hospital Cancer Center and in the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kesselheim’s Professorship project entitled “A Curriculum in Humanism and Professionalism for Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellows” seeks to fill a gap in the humanism curriculum in pediatric fellowship training. She proposes to develop, implement, and measure the outcome of a novel curriculum, and also to refine it for use by other fellowship programs across a range of subspecialties.


Sigall K. Bell , MD

BellS032011_mediumWe’re reaching a tipping point in medicine: system fixes like checklists and barcodes can only go so far if they are not coupled with organizational culture change that prioritizes listening carefully to patients and colleagues, and speaking up across inter-professional and hierarchical boundaries. I hope to leave an imprint on patient safety by cultivating the human, relational components of safety—improving how we communicate with patients, families, and each other. I am honored to join the Gold family, and view the Professorship as a unique opportunity to ensure that the most vulnerable voices in health care are heard.”

Dr. Bell is Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School and Co-Director of Patient Safety and Quality Initiatives at the Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice, Children’s Hospital Boston. She practices medicine at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with a focus on HIV care, and is site director for the Harvard Medical School Patient-Doctor III course and director of a medical student Writing Program. Both courses emphasize reflective practice and humanism in medicine. Dr. Bell’s research probes the effects of institutional culture and the “hidden curriculum” – the customs that shape communication and moral decision-making in the clinical learning environment – on patient safety and humanism. Dr. Bell has received a number of teaching awards, and is a member of Academy of Medical Education at Harvard Medical School. She lectures internationally and her work can be found in the New England Journal of Medicine, Academic Medicine, Medical Education, and the New York Times (video).

Stephanie Harman, MD

Harman-2011-facultyphoto-cropped-mediumI went in to palliative care because of both my passion and my distress working in an increasingly technology-shrouded medical system that seemed to foster dis-passion rather than compassion….. While the specialty of palliative medicine has highlighted the importance of empathic communication skills in caring for patients with advanced disease the skills are not universally incorporated in to basic medical training.

Dr. Stephanie Harman is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine and a practicing palliative care physician and internist at Stanford Hospital. She graduated from Williams College with a degree in literary studies, received her medical degree at Case Western Reserve University, and completed a medicine residency and palliative care fellowship at Stanford. She is medical director of Stanford’s Palliative Care Program and serves as the Stanford site director for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship. She was recently appointed an associate program director for the Stanford Internal Medicine Residency. She is also a recognized clinical leader at Stanford Hospital, winning the Isaac Stein Award for Compassionate Care from the hospital’s board and serving on the hospital’s ethics committee and multiple quality committees, including as a physician lead on a hospital-wide task force to improve advance care planning.

The Gold Professorship will allow Dr. Harman to bring critical communication skills to medical students and residents outside the boundaries of palliative care. “Humanistic communication lies at the heart of the physician-patient/family relationship. It connects physicians to patients as fellow human beings…. The specialty of palliative medicine developed to address the gaps in caring for patients and their families and comprehensively relieving their suffering: physically, emotionally, psychosocially and spiritually.” Dr. Harman will develop curricula for both students and residents that focus on three main areas:

  • Emotion Handling to learn how to respond to and address emotions as they arise in conversation – including both physician and patient emotions.
  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution for doctors in training to learn how to bridge the gap between “sides” and focus on the common interest of healing they share with their patient.
  • Debriefing to allow for reflection and learning from each difficult communication encountered by the students and residents.

Adina Kalet, MD, MPH
(Professorship 2009 – present)

adina_kaletBeing awarded this professorship … will allow me to spend substantial time working on issues fundamental to ensuring that our society has the kind of physicians it needs and deserves as we move into tumultuous times in health care.”

Adina Kalet, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine and Surgery at New York University School of Medicine, earned her medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine (1984), and was in the first cohort of NYU/Bellevue Primary Care Internal Medicine Residents (1987). Dr. Kalet was a New York Academy of Medicine Bowen-Brooks Fellow and a graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, where she received her MPH in Epidemiology. Currently, she is the Director of Educational Research for NYU School of Medicine’s Division of Educational Informatics, is co-Director of the Program in Medical Education Innovation and Research, and runs a Research on Medical Education and Outcomes (ROMEO) unit as part of the Section of Primary Care, Division of General Internal Medicine, in the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Kalet practiced and taught primary care medicine in an inner-city public ambulatory health center for many years before becoming the Program Director of the Macy Initiative in Health Communications at NYU, a controlled, multi-centered trial of teaching communication skills. Since then, she has been instrumental in developing and implementing innovative changes in undergraduate and graduate medical education curricula to prepare future physicians for practice in medically underserved communities. Dr. Kalet serves as the Principal Investigator on a number of ongoing curriculum development and evaluation projects; she has written extensively and consulted both nationally and internationally on issues of clinical skills evaluation, faculty development, professionalism assessment, and psychosocial aspects of medicine. Over the past eight years, she has been the faculty leader of the Professional Development committee and the Professional Development Portfolio project for NYU School of Medicine students. In collaboration with her students, she is now studying “medical professionalism,” and creating and implementing several new initiatives in this critical field. Dr. Kalet is eager to continue this work through the generous support of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Alicia Fernandez, MD
(Professorship 2009 – present)

fernandezpic“The award validates the importance of teaching the next generation of physicians to care for vulnerable members of our society…The Gold Professorships emphasis on humanism in medicine is exactly what is needed in medical education and practice today.”

Dr. Fernandez is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and is a practicing internist and primary care physician at San Francisco General Hospital. She is a graduate of Yale College, received her medical degree at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and completed a medicine residency, chief residency and general medicine research fellowship at UCSF. Dr. Fernandez’ research interests are in health care disparities with a focus on the treatment of chronic disease in low-income and limited English-proficient populations. Her research is currently supported through an NIH K-23 Career Development Award, The Commonwealth Fund, and the Russell Sage Foundation (RSF). She is the Principal Investigator of the RSF study, “Immigration, Culture and Health Care,” a two-city study of low income Mexican Americans with diabetes.

Dr. Fernandez has consulted in the area of health disparities to numerous national organizations, has served on NIH special emphasis panels, and is currently a member of the AHRQ study section on Health Care Quality and Effectiveness Research. Along with colleagues at UCSF, she is a section editor for the Medical Management of Vulnerable and Underserved Patients textbook (Lange series, 2007). Dr. Fernandez’ teaching ability has been recognized through numerous teaching awards and her induction to the UCSF Academy of Medical Educators. She is currently a co-director of the UCSF Pathway to Discovery in Health and Society, a new UCSF program designed to foster research and innovation at the intersection of health and society.

J. Donald Boudreau, MD
(Professorship 2009 – present)

Dr_Don_Boudreau“In spite of universal agreement on the importance of humanism in medicine, there often appears to be a disconnect between the received wisdom and the resources available to support individuals and institutional initiatives in this regard. The Gold Foundation, as a notable exception, is actively bridging the gap. This indelible bond between humanity and caring speaks to the goals of the projects in which I am personally involved.”

Dr. Boudreau is a practicing pulmonologist and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, McGill University. He has been involved in medical education, at both undergraduate and graduate levels, for approximately 20 years and is currently the Director of the Office of Curriculum Development. His primary focus is on the development of a new curricular component entitled ‘physicianship,’ which is based on the premise that the primary mandate of medicine is healing, with professionalism defining the norms by which healing services are delivered.

Elizabeth Gaufberg, MD
(Professorship 2008 – present)

Liz“I feel proud and fortunate to be part of an institution where human relationships are recognized as centrally important to what we do. Our physicians genuinely care about their patients, our teachers about their students, colleagues about each other.”

Dr. Elizabeth Gaufberg is trained in both internal medicine and psychiatry, and serves on the faculty of both departments at The Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She directs the psychosocial training for the CHA Medicine Residency Program and the social science training for the Harvard Medical School Cambridge Integrated Clerkship (CIC). The CIC offers a revolutionary structural approach to clinical medical education by providing a longitudinal learning environment that was specifically designed to be, and has proven to be, inherently humane. At the core of this educational model is the concept that concern for human interests, values and dignity is the cornerstone of students’ clinical learning and professional development, just as it is of the utmost importance to patient care.

Dr. Gaufberg has a strong interest in medical professionalism and has developed an interactive professional boundaries curriculum for medical trainees. She often integrates the arts into her teaching in order to stimulate reflection, foster empathy, and hone observation and interpretation skills. Dr. Gaufberg is a co-founder of the CHA medical humanities initiative which strives to incorporate art and literature into medical student and residency education, and is a co-editor of Auscultations, the CHA employee literary arts journal.

Kirk Smith, MD, PhD
(Professorships 2003 – 2004, 2008 – present)

KirkSmithKirk Smith, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. He is the Director and one of the founders of Frontera de Salud. His Gold Foundation Professorship supports his work to expand Frontera and to promote humanism in medicine through service-learning experiences for medical students and residents.

Dr. Smith completed doctoral studies at the UTMB Institute for the Medical Humanities in 1998 and graduated AOA with honors from the UTMB medical school in 2000. He completed his residency in the Internal Medicine department at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. where, concurrent with his clinical duties, he held a position as a faculty associate at the Georgetown Center for Clinical Bioethics and was active in teaching and research. He has published both in the U.S. and abroad, including a series on the Medical Humanities published in JAMA and articles (in translation) introducing the Medical Humanities to Chinese audiences. In addition to his duties with Frontera, Dr. Smith is Community Outreach Director for the Stark Diabetes Center at UTMB.

Daniel Shapiro, PhD
(Professorship 2008 – 2010)

danshapirobw_copy_medDaniel Shapiro, PhD is Professor and Chair of the Humanities Department at Penn State College of Medicine. Dr. Shapiro’s first book, Mom’s Marijuana: Life, Love and Beating the Odds, has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Portuguese. His second book is titled, Delivering Doctor Amelia: The Story of a Gifted Young Obstetrician’s Mistake and the Psychologist who Helped Her. Dr. Shapiro is a cancer survivor himself, and as a result of expertise as someone who has lived on “both sides of the bed”, he is a consultant to the hit television series, “Grey’s Anatomy” and has written for, or been featured in the New York Times, JAMA, the Chicago Tribune, ABCNEWS.COM, Salon.Com, NPR’s “All Things Considered” and a number of other periodicals. A humorist who also uses drama, he speaks widely to lay and professional groups.

Dr. Shapiro created “The Video Slam” project for medical students, in which medical students become film makers and patients become their teachers. Over 50 participating medical students work in groups of 2 or 3 and make home visits to patients who live with chronic illness (including ALS, cancer, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and AIDS). But instead of bringing medical supplies, students carry video camcorders with an eye to capturing the experience on tape. Patients and their families provide the lessons – lessons in managing illness on a daily basis. Dan explains, “Student doctors are learning that helping patients anticipate and cope with the predictable challenges of illness is as important as diagnosing and dosing.”

Scott Wright, MD
(Professorships 2001 – 2003, 2004 – 2005, 2007 – 2008)

Scott_Wright_MDScott Wright, MD, a professor in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has made substantive contributions to the field of medical education through his own research and the mentoring of others. His work has been published in leading biomedical research journals including NEJM, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, and American Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Wright has received awards for his teaching and mentoring. He has been involved with many educational programs at Hopkins, and he is involved with medical education activities at a national level including ‘The Initiative to Transform Medical Education’, ‘Innovative Strategies for Transforming the Education of Physicians’, and programs of ‘The Arnold P. Gold Foundation’ from which he has been awarded a Professorship. Dr. Wright also serves as the director of the Miller-Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence, an initiative at Bayview aimed at promoting clinical excellence.

Dr. Wright has been providing longitudinal primary care to patients in Baltimore since 1995. He also spends at least one month per year serving as an attending on the inpatient general medical service at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He received his MD from McGill University in 1992 and he then completed his internal medicine residency training at the Montreal General Hospital. After pursuing fellowship training at Hopkins, he joined the Hopkins faculty in 1997.