Humanism in Medicine Research Roundup — April 2015


This post is part of our series of Research Roundups — a list of recently published studies on humanism in medicine. 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

Contemplating medicine during the Third Reich: Scaffolding professional identity formation for medical students
Reis SP, Wald HS.    Acad Med. 2015 Apr 7.
Hedy Wald,  PhD is a Gold Humanism Scholar.
The moral failures of physicians and the medical establishment during the Third Reich challenge medicine and medical education in a way few other events do. Studying these events promotes humanistic, ethically responsible practice. The authors describe an innovative module that aims to sensitize learners to medicine’s fundamental dilemmas (e.g., prejudice, assisted reproduction and suicide, physicians in war).

Impact of organizational leadership on physician burnout and satisfaction
Tait Shanafelt, MD is a recipient of our literature review grant.
Shanafelt TD, Gorringe G, Menaker R, Storz KA, et al.   Mayo Clin Proc. 2015 Apr;90(4):432-40.
Researchers surveyed over 3,800 physicians and scientists working for a large health care organization. Validated tools were used to assess burnout. Physicians also rated the leadership qualities of their immediate supervisor. Data showed that for each 1-point increase in composite leadership score, there was a 3.3% decrease in the likelihood of burnout and a 9% increase in the likelihood of satisfaction of the physicians supervised.

Professional identity formation: Creating a longitudinal framework through TIME (Transformation in Medical Education)
Holden MD, Buck E, Luk J, Ambriz F, et al.    Acad Med. 2015 Apr 4.
Era Buck, PhD is a recipient of our literature review grant.
Part of the Transformation in Medical Education (TIME) initiative at the University of Texas was to begin emphasizing professional identity formation (PIF) at the premedical level. In this article, the authors describe the process they went through to define PIF, the framework they created, and how this framework is mapped onto developmental phases of medical education.

The Johns Hopkins Learning Environment Scale: Measuring medical students’ perceptions of the processes supporting professional formation
Shochet RB, Colbert-Getz JM, Wright SM.    Acad Med. 2015 Apr 4.
Scott Wright, MD is a Gold Professor.
Authors created and validated a new measure of the medical school learning environment called the JHLES (Johns Hopkins Learning Environment Scale). This 28 item measure has seven factors/subscales: community of peers, faculty relationships, academic climate, meaningful engagement, mentoring, inclusion and safety, and physical space.

Other New Publications

Can empathy, other personality attributes, and level of positive social influence in medical school identify potential leaders in medicine?
Hojat M, Michalec B, Veloski JJ, Tykocinski ML.    Acad Med. 2015 Apr;90(4):505-10.
A group of over 600 medical students who used a peer nomination instrument to identify classmates who had a positive influence on their professional and personal development. Researchers compared the personality attributes of students nominated most frequently by their peers as positive influencers with those of students nominated least frequently. They found that positive social influencers appear to possess personality attributes conducive to relationship building, which is an important feature of effective leadership.

The incorporation of stress management programming into family medicine residencies-Results of a national survey of residency directors: A CERA study
Gardiner P, Filippelli AC, Lebensohn P, Bonakdar R.    Fam Med. 2015 Apr;47(4):272-8.
Over two hundred US Residency directors replied to a survey about four types of stress management programming (SMP): (1) access to counselors, social workers, or mental health providers, (2) residency support or Balint groups, (3) stress management lectures or workshops, and (4) residency retreats. 29% reported having all four types of SMP. Eighty-three percent reported stress management lectures or workshops, and 79% reported residency retreats.

A culture of avoidance: Voices from inside ethically difficult clinical situations
Pavlish C, Brown-Saltzman K, Fine A, Jakel P.    Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2015 Apr 1;19(2):159-65.
Researchers conducted six focus groups with 30 oncology nurses and interviewed 12 key informants. They found that many healthcare providers remain silent about ethical concerns until a precipitating crisis occurs and ethical questions can no longer be avoided. Factors that perpetuated the culture of avoidance included the intellectual and emotional toll of addressing ethics, differences in moral perspectives, fear of harming relationships, lack of continuity in care, emphasis on efficiency, and lack of shared decision making.

Acute effects of online mind-body skills training on resilience, mindfulness, and empathy
Kemper KJ, Khirallah M.    J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2015 Mar 17.
Researchers studied over 500 health professionals enrolled in the most popular 1-hour modules in a new online mind-body skills training program such as “Introduction to Stress, Resilience, and the Relaxation Response”; “Autogenic Training”; and “Introduction to Mindfulness.” Researchers found that completing 1-hour modules was associated with significant acute improvements in stress, mindfulness, empathy, and resilience.

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