The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) honored Ronald Epstein, M.D., with the 2017 STFM Gold Humanism Award. The award recognizes an STFM member each spring for attributes of humanism in medicine, defined by respectful and compassionate relationships with other physicians and the health care team, and with patients. It reflects attitudes, behaviors, and values that are sensitive to the values and backgrounds of others.
Epstein, a University of Rochester Medical Center professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry, and Oncology, recently published a book that offers an inside look at how doctors think and work. It is believed to be the first book for the general public about mindfulness in medical practice. (Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity, Scribner, January 2017)
He also has built a worldwide reputation for physician training while teaching at the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry. A hallmark of Epstein’s success has been to understand what makes a really good doctor—qualities such as self-awareness, good judgment, and communication skills—and to revamp education to include those qualities in assessments of professional competence.
In addition to his teaching and medical practice, Epstein’s is a well-funded researcher who focuses on doctor-patient communication particularly in cases of advanced cancer, and how to promote mindfulness and compassion in health care. The STFM award is sponsored by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation, which has funded some of Epstein’s studies.
The Society is honoring Epstein at its annual spring conference, May 5-9 in San Diego. His colleagues in URMC Family Medicine are also hosting a reception in Epstein’s honor at the meeting.