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A Good Clinician and a Caring Person: Longitudinal Faculty Development and the Enhancement of the Human Dimensions of Care

Branch, William T. Jr MD; Frankel, Richard PhD; Gracey, Catherine F. MD; Haidet, Paul M. MD, MPH; Weissmann, Peter F. MD; Cantey, Paul MD, MPH; Mitchell, Gary A. MD; Inui, Thomas S. MD, ScM

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181900f8a
Faculty Development

Purpose: To successfully design and implement longitudinal faculty development programs at five medical schools, and to determine whether faculty participants were perceived to be more effective humanistic teachers.

Method: Promising teachers were chosen from volunteers to participate in groups at each of the medical schools. Between September 2004 and September 2006, the facilitators jointly designed and implemented a curriculum for enhancing humanistic teaching using previously defined learning goals that combined experiential learning of skills with reflective exploration of values. Twenty-nine participants who completed 18 months of faculty development at the five medical schools were compared with 47 controls drawn from the same schools in the final six months of the two-year project. For comparison, the authors developed a 10-item questionnaire, the Humanistic Teaching Practices Effectiveness Questionnaire (HTPE), to be filled out by medical students and residents taught by participants or control faculty. Items were designed to measure previously identified themes and domains of humanism. Control faculty were similar to participants by gender, specialty, and years of experience.

Results: Thirty-four (75%) of the original 45 enrollees completed the programs at the five schools. Faculty participants outperformed their peer controls on all 10 items of the HTPE questionnaire. Results were statistically significant (P < .05) and sufficiently robust (8%–13% differences) to suggest practical importance.

Conclusions: A longitudinal faculty development process that combines experiential learning of skills and reflective exploration of values in the setting of a supportive group process was successfully accomplished and had a positive impact on participants’ humanistic teaching.

Dr. Branch is chief of general internal medicine and professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Frankel is professor of medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, and senior scientist, Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dr. Gracey is assistant professor of medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, New York.

Dr. Haidet is educational director, Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies, DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, Texas, and associate professor of medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

Dr. Weissmann is associate professor of medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dr. Cantey is volunteer assistant professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia. At the time this article was written, he was assistant professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Mitchell is professor and chair, American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles. At the time this article was written, he was emeritus professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dr. Inui is professor of medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, and president and CEO, Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Please see the end of this article for information about the authors.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Branch, Division of General Internal Medicine, 49 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive, Suite 446, Atlanta, GA 30303; telephone: (404) 778-1600; fax: (404) 778-1602; e-mail: (william.branch@emoryhealthcare.org).

© 2009 Association of American Medical Colleges