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Training Physicians for Empathy

August 08, 2014

A pair of training programs exposes medical students to art and loss, teaches them about the emotional aspects of patient care, and helps them avoid burnout.

Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA
President and CEO of
Thomas Jefferson University
and TJUH System

The healthcare industry is rife with change, and how it trains new doctors is no exception.

Healthcare organizations, already challenged to meet the demands of a growing patient population are looking to develop fresh methods to teach young students how to care for segments of the patient population that may be neglected and underdeveloped.

One attribute providers are eager to teach is the importance of empathy and emotional intelligence.

"The Art of Attending"

Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, looks at the way doctors are being selected and trained, and sees a structure that is rooted in the past, not the future.

Klasko, the President and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and TJUH System in Philadelphia, sees the current criteria used to judge med students doesn't necessarily produce the best doctors. He believes that when it comes to selecting the right doctors, the process should go deeper than test scores.

"We still select doctors based on their science GPA, their MCATs, and their organic chemistry grades, and somehow we are amazed that doctors aren't more emphatic, communicative and creative," says Klasko.

He has sought to break through the GPA barrier to discover more relevant skill sets that doctors need in the 21st century.


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