Humanism in Healthcare Research Roundup — November 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

A methodological review of the assessment of humanism in medical students
Buck E, Holden M, Szauter K.

Acad Med. 2015 Nov;90(11 Suppl):S14-23.
This paper was supported by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Research Institute’s Mapping the Landscape, Journeying Together initiative
This systematic review sought to address the following questions: How do medical educators assess humanism in medical students, and how does the measurement impact the understanding of humanism in undergraduate medical education (UME)? After analysis of 155 articles that met inclusion criteria, researchers found that assessment of humanism in UME incorporates a limited scope of a complex construct, often relying on single quantitative measures from self-reported survey instruments.

Humanism, the hidden curriculum, and educational reform: A scoping review and thematic analysis
Martimianakis MA, Michalec B, Lam J, Cartmill C, Taylor JS, Hafferty FW.

Acad Med. 2015 Nov;90(11 Suppl):S5-S13.
This paper was supported by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Research Institute’s Mapping the Landscape, Journeying Together initiative
Researcehrs conducted a scoping review and thematic analysis of 200 articles about the hidden curriculum in medical education.  They found a strong preoccupation with negative effects of the hidden curriculum, particularly the moral erosion of physicians and the perceived undermining of humanistic values in health care. Proposals for reform largely target medical students and medical school faculty, with little consideration for how organizations, institutions, and sociopolitical relations more broadly contribute to problematic behaviors.

The Gold-Hope Tang, MD 2015 Humanism in Medicine Essay Contest –Second Place: The Doctor Will See You Now
Lynch K.
Acad Med. 2015 Nov;90(11):1530-1.

Katrina was the second place winner of the Gold-Hope Tang, MD 2015 Humanism in Medicine Essay Contest
“Truthfully, I hesitated to look. Maybe out of fear or uncertainty or impatience. I knew there was a person to be found under all the inconvenience, but I waited until the most desperate moment to look.”

George Engel’s epistemology of clinical practice
Saraga M, Fuks A, Boudreau JD.

Perspect Biol Med. 2014;57(4):482-94.
Dr. Boudreau is a 2009 Gold Professor
The author argues that George Engel’s biopsychosocial model, one of the most significant proposals for the renewal of medicine in the latter half of the 20th century, has been misunderstood.  He demonstrates how, framed in epistemological terms, the issue at stake is not the need to complement medical science with humane virtues, but rather to acknowledge that the object of clinical practice is not the body but the patient.

Conceptualizing interprofessional teams as multi-team systems-Implications for assessment and training
West C, Landry K, Graham A, Graham L, Cianciolo AT, Kalet A, Rosen M, Sherman DW.

Teach Learn Med. 2015 Oct-Dec;27(4):366-9.
Dr. Kalet is a 2009 Gold Professor
This study investigated the multidimensional measurement of interprofessional (IPE) teamwork as part of large-scale simulation training. Researchers found that the 3 instruments they created appear to provide a robust view of IPE teamwork; however, challenges remain. Due to the large scale of the simulation exercise, observation-based assessment did not function as well as self- and standardized patient-based assessment.

Gold Humanism Honor Society Election and academic outcomes: A 10-institution study
Specter S, Kahn MJ, Lazarus C, Prislin M, Wong JG, O’Donnell J, McCormack WT, Kavan MG, Lopez AM, House A.

Fam Med. 2015 Nov-Dec;47(10):770-5.
Drs. Specter and Kavan are members of our Research Institute Strategic Planning Task Force
Researchers evaluated five graduating classes at 10 medical schools to learn about students’ membership in the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS), Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) and their residency choices. They found that students elected into the GHHS as an aggregate group tend to be academically higher achieving when compared to their non-GHHS peers and gravitate to a higher degree toward primary care and specifically to family medicine.

What we are like when we are at our best: Appreciative stories of staff in a community mental health center
Salyers MP, Firmin R, Gearhart T, Avery E, Frankel RM.
Am J Psychiatr Rehabil. 2015;18(3):280-301.

Dr. Frankel is a member of our Research Institute Strategic Planning Task Force
Appreciative Inquiry is an organizational change methodology that discovers what works well in an organization and then pursues strategies to enhance those factors. In this study of narratives from  27 community mental health staff, researchers found that people are at their best with a sense of mastery, connection, and autonomy.

Other Publications

The Munich-Evaluation-of-Mentoring-Questionnaire (MEMeQ) – a novel instrument for evaluating protégés’ satisfaction with mentoring relationships in medical education
Schäfer M, Pander T, Pinilla S, Fischer MR, von der Borch P, Dimitriadis K.

BMC Med Educ. 2015 Nov 9;15(1):201.
Researchers developed an instrument to evaluate the weighted satisfaction of mentoring relationships, emphasizing the protégés’ individual expectations and needs. 134 protégés were included in a study that showed the MEMeQ instrument was reliable, valid and flexible.

Medical school experiences associated with change in implicit racial bias among 3547 students: A medical student CHANGES study report
van Ryn M, Hardeman R, Phelan SM, PhD DJ, Dovidio JF, Herrin J, Burke SE, Nelson DB, Perry S, Yeazel M, Przedworski JM.

J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Dec;30(12):1748-56.
In this study of over 3500 students from a stratified random sample of 49 U.S. medical schools, researchers examined the association between change in student implicit racial bias towards African Americans and student reports on their experiences with 1) formal curricula related to disparities in health and health care, cultural competence, and/or minority health; 2) informal curricula including racial climate and role model behavior; and 3) the amount and favorability of interracial contact during school. The study showed that medical school experiences in all three domains were independently associated with change in student implicit racial attitudes.

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