ABIM Foundation Recognizes Medical Professionalism Articles Addressing Trust, Transparency and Physician Training

Eighth Annual John A. Benson Jr., MD Professionalism Article Prize Winners Announced

PHILADELPHIA – The ABIM Foundation has awarded the John A. Benson Jr., MD Professionalism Article Prize to four scholarly articles that explore opportunities to improve healthcare quality at all levels. Recipients of the eighth annual awards looked at how healthcare professionals can challenge medical misinformation and better understand transparency issues and how organizations and educational institutions can build positive culture.

“Trust between healthcare professionals and patients has always been at the heart of medicine, but many factors challenge these sacred relationships today,” said Richard J. Baron, MD, President and CEO of the ABIM Foundation. “By focusing on transparency, ethics, culture, conflicts of interest and humanism, the new recipients of the John A. Benson Jr., MD article prize can illuminate opportunities to strengthen trust. The topics that the winning articles address also align with the Foundation’s ongoing mission to foster medical professionalism as a force to improve patient care.”

The journal articles receiving this year’s commentary prize are:

The Case of Dr. Oz: Ethics, Evidence, and Does Professional Self-Regulation Work?”
Jon C. Tilburt, MD, MPH; Megan Allyse, PhD; and Frederic W. Hafferty, PhD

This commentary, published in February 2017 in the AMA Journal of Ethics, confronts the challenges that physicians with popular platforms, such as Dr. Mehmet Oz, can present to the profession. While Dr. Oz meets high standards for surgical care, the authors focus on advice he gives millions of people through his TV show and social media platforms that is not evidence-based. The authors raise concerns that this misinformation could erode physician-patient trust. They encourage the medical profession to foster trusting patient relationships and to hold doctors—those with large followings and those who are less prominent—accountable for providing evidence-based information.

The Charter on Professionalism for Health Care Organizations
Barry E. Egener, MD; Diana J. Mason, RN, PhD; Walter J. McDonald, MD, Sally Okun, RN, MMHS; Martha E. Gaines, JD, LLM; David A. Fleming, MD, MA; Bernie M. Rosof, MD; David Gullen, MD; and May-Lynn Andresen, RN, BSN

Recognizing that individuals function within the culture and policies of their organizations, several groups, including the ABIM Foundation, Commonwealth Fund, North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the American Hospital Association supported the creation of a Charter on Professionalism for Health Care Organizations. The Charter, which was featured in a January 2017 Perspective in Academic Medicine, focuses on healthcare organization professional obligations that include patient partnerships, organizational culture, community partnerships and operations and business practices. The multidisciplinary effort recognized that these domains are critical for caring for patients, maintaining a professional and healthy staff and improving overall health of communities. The authors outlined potential challenges in enacting the Charter and detailed their aspirations for its use and dissemination.

The journal articles receiving this year’s research prize are:

Bringing Transparency to Medicine: Exploring Physicians’ Views and Experiences of the Sunshine Act
Susan Chimonas, PhD; Nicholas J. DeVito, MPH; and David J. Rothman, PhD

This research article, published in the May 2017 edition of The American Journal of Bioethics, shares the results of physician focus groups about The Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA). The law, which requires product manufacturers to report physician payments to the federal government, was created to support proper reporting of conflicts of interest and inspire public trust. However, authors reported that physicians in the focus groups were concerned that the law may undermine public trust in doctors and showed less concern about the influence of industry on care. The authors highlighted these findings as opportunities to help physicians and the public understand the PPSA.

A Multi-Institutional Longitudinal Faculty Development Program in Humanism Supports the Professional Development of Faculty Teachers
William T. Branch Jr., MD; Richard M. Frankel, PhD; Janet P. Hafler, EdD; Amy B. Weil, MD; MaryAnn C. Gilligan, MD, MPH; Debra K. Litzelman, MD; Margaret Plews-Ogan, MD; Elizabeth A. Rider, MSW, MD; Lars G. Osterberg, MD, MPH; Dana Dunne, MD; Natalie B. May, PhD; and Arthur R. Derse, MD, JD

The authors of this December 2017 research article in Academic Medicine describe a year-long program for faculty at 30 U.S. and Canadian medical schools. Their research looks at the first 11 academic years of the program, which brings faculty members together in small groups to learn about humanistic teaching, role modeling, experiential learning techniques and professional development. Results showed that participating faculty had higher medical humanism scores and that the program could serve as a model to empower faculty to create a positive learning culture at all levels of medical education.

About the award

The ABIM Foundation created the annual prize in 2011 to celebrate and encourage outstanding contributions to the growing body of literature on medical professionalism and commitments articulated in the Physician Charter. Over the past eight years, about 550 articles have been considered for the award and 25 winners declared.

Articles published in English language, peer-reviewed journals between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017 (online or in print), were eligible for the prize. A committee of physicians and other leaders in health care reviewed 17 articles meeting those criteria and selected the winners based on clarity of writing, thoroughness, methodology and contributions to the field and society.

Members of the selection committee are:

  • Louise Arnold, PhD, Professor Emerita, Office of Medical Education, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
  • John A. Benson Jr., MD, President Emeritus, American Board of Internal Medicine and ABIM Foundation
  • Rosemary Gibson, MSc, Senior Advisor, The Hastings Center; Section Editor, Less is More, JAMA Internal Medicine
  • Hayley Goldbach, MD, Resident, UCLA
  • Harry Isaacson, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Interim Executive Dean, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
  • Lorna Lynn, MD, Vice President, Medical Education Research, American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Walter McDonald, MD, Emeritus Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine
  • Daniel Wolfson, MHSA, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, ABIM Foundation

The ABIM Foundation named the article prize in honor of American Board of Internal Medicine and ABIM Foundation President Emeritus John A. Benson Jr., MD. For more than two decades, Dr. Benson taught medical students at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where he also worked to foster interprofessional education, and at Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, where he served at the Center for Ethics in Health Care. He has received several honors for his work in medical education and clinical medicine and has written extensively about professionalism.

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