News » GW Receives Grant to Promote Mentoring, Humanism for Medical Students

GW Receives Grant to Promote Mentoring, Humanism for Medical Students

The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) received a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to fund its program, “Training Faculty to be Mentors in Humanism: A Faculty Development Program to Nurture Students’ Inner Growth.” The grant initiative was led by Benjamin Blatt, M.D., professor of medicine at SMHS, in collaboration with GW faculty members Christina Puchalski, M.D., director of the GW Institute for Spirituality and Health at SMHS, Matthew Mintz, M.D., associate professor of medicine at SMHS, Linda Raphael, Ph.D., associate clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at SMHS, and Ellen Goldman, Ed.D., associate professor of human and organizational learning at the GW Graduate School of Education and Human Development and of clinical research and leadership at SMHS. The program is designed to prepare faculty to take an advanced mentoring role in the revised medical curriculum, which will begin in fall 2014. The grant will support a series of faculty development workshops and the creation of a faculty learning community to explore the mentors’ own humanistic growth. 

“This is an exciting time for faculty development at SMHS and we are so pleased to be a recipient of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation grant. The sponsored initiative will further prepare a group of faculty already highly skilled in mentoring to guide students along newly developed pathways for inner professional development, as well as for clinical skills and reasoning,” said Blatt.

In the new pathways for professional development and clinical skills and reasoning, the humanistic and scientific formation of students will be integrated and holistic, within small group learning communities. Mentors will work with students throughout their four years of medical school, getting to know them deeply as individuals as they develop and form into physicians. They will support students through a process of repeated self-assessment and reflection, with the purpose of fostering the students’ inner life as well as scientific growth — an exercise that is crucial to the student’s ability to be fully and compassionately present for patients and their families.  

The “Training Faculty to be Mentors in Humanism: A Faculty Development Program to Nurture Students’ Inner Growth,” will support advanced training for mentors in fostering their students’ professional development in four competency domains:  ethics, personal growth, self-directed learning/continuous improvement, and professionalism /leadership. The personal growth domain will include wellness, the humanities and spirituality (defined in a broad sense as meaning and connectedness). The initiative will also support the formation of a learning community for faculty where mentors can advance their own humanistic growth.

In October, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation issued a Request for Proposals for mentoring interventions specifically designed to help physicians and nurses in training and early practice to be more humanistic in their patient care. The Foundation chose eight grantees to receive $25,000 in funding over a two year timeline. Early this year, the project teams will meet for a one-day workshop with expert consultants and other grantees to explore ways to improve/enhance each project in such areas as methods and assessment and benefit from a cross-fertilization of ideas.

In addition to SMHS, other national recipients of the grant include: Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine; University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing & Health Studies; North Shore LIJ Health System; New York Medical College; New York University School of Medicine; Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University/Hasbro Children's Hospital; and Penn State University School of Medicine.