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URMC / Health Humanities and Bioethics / About Us / Biopsychosocial (BPS) Model


Biopsychosocial (BPS) Model

George Engel

"The crippling flaw of the [biomedical] model is that it does not include the patient and his attributes as a person, a human being. The biomedical model can make provision neither for the person as a whole nor for data of a psychological or social nature."

- G. Engel, Clinical Application of the Biopsychosocial Model, 1981

The Biopsychosocial (BPS) approach to medical education and practice was developed by Dr. George Engel 45 year ago. He proposed an alternative approach that integrates the scientific and objective method of knowing about the patient’s disease with equal attention to the "human and relational" and subjective experiences of patient and families in relation to broader social, cultural, societal and environmental contexts.

The Department’s BPS focus on socio-cultural and societal contexts has guided our work in social justice, equity and inclusion, and our long-standing academic partnership with diversity faculty. 

We continue to apply BPS integration of data-driven science with relationship-centered practices and apply it to patient care, education, and research across URMC to ensure a humanistic, ethical, and inclusive culture.