Training: Papers‎ > ‎

(Riess 2011)

Title:  Empathy Training for Resident Physicians: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Neuroscience-Informed Curriculum
DOI or website link: 
Publication: Journal of General Internal Medicine
  • Helen Riess, MD
  •  John M. Kelley, Ph
  • Robert W. BaileyBS
  •  Emily J. Dunn BA
  • Margot Phillips
Date:   January 2011
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA; 
  • Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 
  • Endicott College, Beverly, MA, 
  • Empathy and Relational Science Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 
Riess H, Kelley JM, Bailey R, Konowitz PM, Gray ST: Improving empathy and relational skills in otolaryngology residents: a pilot study. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011, 144: 120-122. 10.1177/0194599810390897.Google Scholar


BACKGROUND: Physician empathy is an essential attribute of the patient–physician relationship and is associated with better outcomes, greater patient safety and fewer malpractice claims. 

OBJECTIVE: We tested whether an innovative empathy training protocol grounded in neuroscience could improve physician empathy as rated by patients.

Topic Area: 
  • Medicine 
  • Healthcare

Intervention/Methods used:
  •  receive standard postgraduate medical education or education augmented with three 60-minute empathy training modules.
residents and fellows from 
  • surgery, 
  • medicine, 
  • anesthesiology, 
  • psychiatry, 
  • ophthalmology, 
  • and orthopedics 

About the assessment: 
(How was the change in empathy measures before / after the intervention/method?) 

What was the result?
"The empathy training group showed greater changes in patient-rated CARE scores than the control"

"A brief intervention grounded in the neurobiology of empathy significantly improved physician empathy as rated by patients, suggesting that the quality of care in medicine could be improved by integrating the neuroscience of empathy into medical education."


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Posted By:   Edwin Rutsch 
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