ABIM Foundation Recognizes Scholarly Contributions Addressing Social Injustice, Racism and Medical Professionalism

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

PHILADELPHIA – Recognizing the importance of scholarly publication to advance the field of medical professionalism, today, the ABIM Foundation announced recipients of the seventh annual John A. Benson Jr., MD Professionalism Article Prize. The winning articles explored timely issues and challenges facing the medical profession, including how physicians and medical educators can recognize and confront racism; ways to provide better health care service to disenfranchised populations; and avenues to integrate professionalism into the medical education of future physicians.

The journal articles receiving the award are:

  • Remembering Freddie Gray: Medical Education for Social Justiceby Delese Wear, PhD, Joseph Zarconi, MD, Julie M. Aultman, PhD, Michelle R. Chyatte, DrPH, and Arno K. Kumagai, MDIn this August 2016 Academic Medicine perspective, the authors explore recent high-profile killings of young black men and how patients’ experience may differ drastically from the lives of medical students tasked with caring for them. The authors note that while current medical curriculum covers health disparities, it rarely examines the broader societal forces that can lead to discrimination and affect patient outcomes. They recommend a new “Curriculum for Social Justice” that emphasizes critical reflection in which issues of power, privilege, identity, and oppression can be safely and productively explored.
  • Structural Racism and Supporting Black Lives — The Role of Health Professionalsby Rachel R. Hardeman, PhD, MPH, Eduardo M. Medina, MD, MPH, and Katy B. Kozhimannil, PhD, MPAPublished in the December 2016 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, this perspective highlights how structural racism can undermine health care workers’ best efforts to provide equal care. While they believe most physicians are not explicitly racist, the authors note that most physicians operate in a racist system. Furthermore, the authors posit that it is incumbent on clinicians and researchers to use their power, privilege and responsibility to dismantle this structural racism. Among their suggestions is “centering at the margins” in health care—meaning to shift the viewpoint from a majority group’s perspective to that of the marginalized group—to encourage more diversity, enable patient-centered care and revamp the delivery system to empower the disenfranchised.
  •  Parting the Clouds: Three Professionalism Frameworks in Medical Educationby David M. Irby, MDiv, PhD, and Stanley J. Hamstra, PhDPublished in the April 2016 issue of Academic Medicine, this piece outlines three frameworks that have evolved in the medical education community to teach professionalism: “virtue-based” focuses on the development of moral character and reasoning; “behavior-based” emphasizes milestones, competencies and measurement of observable behaviors; and “identity formation” focuses on a physician’s identity development and socialization into a community of practice. The authors warn that use of three different frameworks can lead to misunderstandings and conflicting approaches in teaching professionalism, and that finding commonalities will be key in creating professionalism curricula that effectively prepare clinicians to provide patient-centered care.

“The challenges we face as a society do not stop at the doors of hospitals, doctors’ offices or medical schools. As members of the community in which they practice, clinicians need to be prepared to confront and solve disparities in health care. The articles selected for this year’s John A. Benson Jr, MD article prize bravely advance important conversations about how professionalism is taught and enacted in real-world settings,” said Richard J. Baron, MD, President and CEO of the ABIM Foundation. “The principle of social justice as articulated by the Physician Charter advocates for the elimination of discrimination and fair distribution of resources. Clinicians can rely on these principles to guide their ongoing work to unite communities and improve care for everyone.”

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 seven years, more than 500 articles have been considered for the award and 21 winners declared.

Articles published in English language, peer-reviewed journals between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2016 (online or in print), were eligible for the prize. A committee of physicians and other leaders in health care reviewed 16 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:

  • Amy Berman, BSN, LHD, Senior Program Officer, The John A. Hartford Foundation
  • John A. Benson Jr., MD, President Emeritus, American Board of Internal Medicine and ABIM Foundation
  • Wendy Levinson, MD, Chair and Co-Founder, Choosing Wisely Canada
  • 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
  • Hayley Goldbach, MD, Intern, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Bernard Rosof, MD, Professor of Medicine, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, CEO, QHC Advisory Group, LLC
  • Daniel Wolfson, MHSA, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, ABIM Foundation

The 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 on 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.



Media Inquiries

Jaime McClennen
Email: press@abimfoundation.org