The Project on the Good Physician aims to develop the first national, longitudinal study of the moral and professional formation of American physicians over the course of their medical training.
Through a grant from the New Science of Virtues initiative at the University of Chicago, Drs. Curlin, Yoon and Rasinski developed a pilot national survey to develop and test the architecture and methods needed to carry out a longer term longitudinal study, and to identify and develop the survey items needed to measure the formation and degradation of medical virtues in physicians-in-training and practicing physicians.
Prominent medical organizations have launched major initiatives to teach ‘physician professionalism’ as a ‘core competency’ while requiring medical educators to measure the outcomes of their efforts. Unfortunately, little is known about whether and how the myriad of efforts and interventions actually shape the character and practices of physicians. Despite a growing pedagogical focus on modifying discrete behaviors in the developing physician, little is known what virtues characterize the good physician, and how are those virtues formed.
The Project on the Good Physician will bridge the social sciences and humanities to produce a rigorous assessment of the moral and professional formation of physicians by following national cohorts of physicians-in-training, from matriculation in medical school to the first years of practice after residency and/or fellowship. A longitudinal design allows investigators to scientifically assess the complex interplay of individual characteristics (both durable and mutable) and contextual factors (institutional features, student experiences) over the course of physicians’ medical training. Ultimately, the study will follow in the tradition of the great longitudinal surveys of past decades (e.g., The National Education Longitudinal Studies). Our pilot study began with national sample of 960 medical students in their third year clerkships and followed them into their fourth year (completed December 2013). Our study also included qualitative interviews on a sub-sample of medical students as well as an innovative online peer-rating component. Data analysis is currently ongoing. Lastly, this study assessed virtue and intrinsic motivation in a national sample of practicing U.S. physicians from various specialities.
Character Development and Virtue Formation
- Leffel GM, Rasinski KA, Curlin FA, Yoon JD. Relevance of the rationalist-intuitionist debate for ethics and professionalism in medical education. Advances in Health Science Education. 2015;20(5):1371-1383.
- Leffel GM, Oakes Mueller RA, Ham SA, Curlin FA, Yoon JD. Project on the Good Physician: A proposal for a moral intuitionist model of virtuous caring. Teach Learn Med. 2016;Jul 28:1-10.
- Shepherd AM, Schnitker SS, Leffel GM, Oakes Mueller RA, Curlin FA, Yoon JD, Greenway T. Developing the Good Physician: Spirituality Affects the Development of Virtues and Moral Intuitions in Medical Students. Journal of Positive Psychology. 2017;Jan 5 [Epub ahead of print].
- Leffel GM, Ham SA, Curlin FA, Yoon JD. Project on the Good Physician: Further evidence for the validity of a moral intuitionist model of virtuous caring [manuscript under review].
- Carey GB, Curlin FA, Yoon JD. Medical Student Opinions on Character Development in Medical Education: A National Survey. BMC Research Notes. 2015;8(1):455.
- Hawking M, Curlin FA, Yoon JD. Courage and Compassion: Virtues in Caring for So-Called “Difficult” Patients. AMA Journal of Ethics. April 2017, Volume 19, Number 4: 357-363.
Physician Well-being, Intrinsic Motivations, and Sense of Calling
- Tak HJ, Curlin FA, Yoon JD. Association of intrinsic motivating factors and markers of physician well-being: A National Physician Survey. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2017;Feb 6 [Epub ahead of print].
- Jenkins TM, Hickernell JC, Hu CY, Kim J, Watanaskul S, Yoon JD. Stressing the journey: Using Life Stories to Study Medical Student Burnout and Resilience [In Press].
- Cook AF, Arora VA, Rasinski KA, Curlin FA, Yoon JD. The Prevalence of Medical Student Mistreatment and its Association with Burnout. Acad Med. 2014;89(5):749-54.
- O’Connell T, Ham SA, Hart TG, Curlin FA, Yoon JD. A national longitudinal survey of medical students’ intentions to practice among the underserved. Academic Medicine, 2017 [In Press].
- Hines H, Avila CJ, Rudakevych T, Curlin FA, Yoon JD. Physician perspectives of long-term relationships and friendships with patients: A National Assessment. Southern Medical Journal. 2017; [In Press].
- Yoon JD, Ham SA, Reddy ST, Curlin FA. Role Models’ Influence on Choice of Primary Care Specialty: A National Longitudinal Study. [In Press].
Medical Student Evaluation, Selection and Remediation
- Ravella R, Curlin FA, Yoon JD. Medical School Ranking and Medical Student Vocational Identity. Teaching and Learning in Medicine. 2015;27(2):123-9.
- Sobowale K, Ham SA, Curlin FA, Yoon JD. Personality Traits Are Associated with Academic Achievement in Medical School: A Nationally Representative Study. Academic Psychiatry [In Press].
- Hodges LE, Tak HJ, Curlin FA, Yoon JD. Whistleblowing in medical school: A National Survey on Professionalism and Peer Accountability in Medical Students. Academic Psychiatry. 2016 Jun;40(3):530-3.