Humanism in Healthcare Research Roundup — December 2015

booksThis post is part of our series of Research Roundups — a list of recently published studies on humanism in healthcare. If you would like to be notified each time a Research Roundup is published, send an email to with the subject line “Subscribe RR”.

Publications from Gold Foundation-Affiliated Authors

Responding to suffering
Epstein RM, Back AL.   JAMA. 2015;314(24):2623-2624.
This paper was supported by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Research Institute’s Mapping the Landscape, Journeying Together initiative.
Suffering (severe distress that threatens the integrity of a person) spans physical, emotional, social, spiritual, existential and financial domains. Since physicians have been taught to diagnose and treat, many do not know how to completely address the “whole person problem” that suffering presents. A review of the literature lead the authors of this essay to recommend a complimentary approach of “turning toward” suffering and “refocusing and reclaiming.”

Choosing a qualitative research approach
Teherani A, Martimianakis T, Stenfors-Hayes T, Wadhwa A, Varpio L.    J Grad Med Educ. 2015 Dec;7(4):669-70.
Dr. Martimianakis is a grantee in our 2013 and 2015 Mapping the Landscape, Journeying Together cohorts.
Qualitative research is the systematic inquiry into social phenomena in natural settings.  In this paper, authors describe 3 different qualitative research approaches commonly used in medical education: grounded theory, ethnography, and phenomenology.

Losing touch? Refining the role of physical examination in family medicine
Kelly M, Tink W, Nixon L, Dornan T.    Can Fam Physician. 2015 Dec;61(12):1041-3.

Drs. Kelly, Nixon and Dornan are grantees in our 2013 Mapping the Landscape, Journeying Together cohort.
Embodied knowing, communicating empathy by means of touch, and “laying on hands” have been part of medicine since ancient Greece. But physical examination techniques are under threat from the technology of diagnostic imaging. The authors argue that touch is especially valuable to family physicians, whose personalized knowledge of a given individual’s “normal” becomes embodied over long-term relationships.

Changes in burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance in physicians and the general us working population between 2011 and 2014
Shanafelt TD, Hasan O, Dyrbye LN, Sinsky C, Satele D, Sloan J, West CP.    Mayo Clin Proc. 2015 Dec;90(12):1600-13.
Drs. Shanafelt and West are grantees in our 2015 Mapping the Landscape, Journeying Together cohort.
In a study of over 6,000 physicians, researchers found that burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance worsened from 2011 to 2014. More than half of US physicians are now experiencing professional burnout.

The Gold-Hope Tang, MD 2015 Humanism in Medicine Essay Contest: First Place: Being the Narrator
Sharpless J.    Acad Med. 2015 Dec;90(12):1634-5.

Joanna was the first place winner of the Gold-Hope Tang, MD 2015 Humanism in Medicine Essay Contest
“From my earliest medical school days, I’d thrived on relationships with my patients—histories shared, goals negotiated, lessons taught and learned. With Mr. Wilson, there was none of this give and take. There was only his powerlessness, his speechlessness, and a creeping sense that we were doing these things to him and not for him.”

Shared presence in physician-patient communication: A graphic representation
Ventres WB, Frankel RM.    Fam Syst Health. 2015 Sep;33(3):270-9.

Dr. Frankel is a member of our Research Institute Strategic Planning Task Force
Shared presence is a state of being in which physicians and patients enter into a deep sense of trust, respect, and knowing that facilitates healing. In this article, we reconcile the biopsychosocial model and patient, person, and relationship-centered care pathways by presenting a graphic image for clinicians and teachers in medical education. This conceptual image serves as a framework to synthesize the vast literature on physician-patient communication.

Other Publications

Prevalence of depression and depressive symptoms among resident physicians: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Mata DA, Ramos MA, Bansal N, Khan R, Guille C, Di Angelantonio E, Sen S.    JAMA. 2015 Dec 8;314(22):2373-83.

Authors performed a systematic review of studies with information on the prevalence of depression or depressive symptoms among resident physicians published between January 1963 and September 2015. The summary estimate of the prevalence of depression or depressive symptoms among resident physicians was 28.8%, ranging from 20.9% to 43.2% depending on the instrument used, and increased with calendar year.

Socialization to professionalism in medical schools: A Canadian experience
Byszewski A, Gill JS, Lochnan H.    BMC Med Educ. 2015 Nov 17;15:204.

This study provides an overview of how professional identity formation is supported in the Canadian context, guided by the standards set out by CanMEDS. Despite a rich literature that describes the definition, program design and evaluation methods for professionalism, in some areas of the curriculum there is still an opportunity to ensure programs embrace the suggested framework.

Bringing home the health humanities: Narrative humility, structural competency, and engaged pedagogy
Tsevat RK, Sinha AA, Gutierrez KJ, DasGupta S.    Acad Med. 2015 Nov;90(11):1462-5

Health humanities programs are thriving across the country, encouraging medical students to read, write, and become more reflective about their professional roles. In this essay, the authors present three pedagogical pillars (narrative humility, structural competency, and engaged pedagogy) that educators can use to invite learners to become empowering, engaging, and caring clinicians.

BrandyKing-150x150This post was written by Brandy King, Head of Information Services at The Arnold P. Gold Foundation Research Institute