UCF Empathy Study Earns Research Funding

A UCF College of Medicine effort designed to identify ways to promote empathy and humanism in medical education has earned a $5,000 grant from Arnold P. Gold Foundation Research Institute. The institute was established in 2012 to discover and disseminate knowledge about humanizing medicine to improve health and the human condition.

UCF’s 18-month effort, led by Dr. Caridad Hernandez, will include a systematic review how humanism is taught in medical education across the span from medical student to practicing physician. The study will examine how contextual factors – such as workplace learning, task demands, team dynamics, time constrains, fatigue and support systems – influence the way physicians express humanistic attributes such as empathy.

The study will look at how medical training, practice and the learning environment can impact humanism and empathy and hopes to identify specific interventions that can more significantly promote a humanistic approach to physician training.

“It’s an honor to be selected to participate in this endeavor, to help contribute to identifying best practices for teaching, sustaining and promoting  humanistic attributes amongst medical trainees and physicians,” Dr. Hernandez said.

In notifying Dr. Hernandez of the award, the Gold Foundation noted that this year’s review process was “extremely competitive,” with many more proposals than the organization anticipated on important questions related to increasing humanism in medical care.

Dr. Hernandez’s collaborators on the study are:

  • Dr. Heather Harrell, associate professor of medicine and director of the internal medicine clerkship at the University of Florida College of Medicine
  • Dr. Jennifer Kogan, associate professor of medicine, director of undergraduate education at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Anya Andrews, instructional systems architect and senior research scientist at UCF
  • Dr. Analia Castiglioni, associate professor of internal medicine and director, Practice of Medicine – 2, UCF College of Medicine
  • Dr. Juan Cendan, assistant dean for simulation, associate professor of surgery, and director, Clinical Skills and Simulation Center, UCF College of Medicine
  • Shalu Gillum, J.D., LMS, public services librarian, UCF College of Medicine