EM1510F "Erosion of Empathy in Medical Trainees" (IM GR-100215)

Patient care is a complex endeavor that involves largely the application of medical knowledge and communication skills. Medical literature has reported that the patient-physician relationship and the ability to communicate empathy have many benefits for health outcomes, physician well-being, and the community. Unfortunately, studies show that although reported empathy increases during the pre-clinical years, once a student enters the apprentice phase, those scores start to trend downward and continue to decrease during residency. Many hypotheses exist on why this attrition occurs and thereby provide a good starting point to create interventions. Our calling as medical educators is to foster an environment that teaches patient-centered care and arm our students with the ability to not only remain compassionate but ideally, increase their ability to respond empathetically.

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Target Audience

UT Southwestern faculty, fellows, residents and medical students, commnity physicians, nurse clinicians, physician assistants and nurses.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, the participant should be able to:

  • Define empathy.
  • Discuss potential benefits and risks of empathy in medicine.
  • Discover biological, personality and professional factors that influence empathy.
  • Understand how empathy evolves during the education of a physician.
  • Summarize literature on interventions aimed at cultivating empathy.
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 AMA
  • 1.00 Ethics
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Photo: Reeni Abraham, M.D.Reeni Abraham, M.D.
Assistant Professor
Co-director, Internal Medicine Clerkship
Division of General Internal Medicine

Available Credit

  • 1.00 AMA
  • 1.00 Ethics


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