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Dr. Helen Riess is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Director of Empathy Research and Training in Psychotherapy Research group in the Department of Psychiatry at MGH. She is conducting research on improving empathy in the patient - physician relationship. She received her undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University and her M.D. from Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Riess completed her psychiatry residency, Chief Residency, and a research fellowship at MGH.
Dr. Riess's clinical interests include psychotherapy and psychopharmacology for adult anxiety disorders, depression, adult adjustment disorders, adult attention deficit disorders, bereavement,Dr. Riess has a career-long commitment to medical education. She has developed innovative educational and therapeutic curricula to address problems ranging from her book on the treatment of bulimia nervosa, to published curricula on psychotherapy supervision, to her recent neurobiologically informed empathy training curriculum for physicians. Dr. Riess completed a Rabkin Medical Education Fellowship at Harvard Medical School as well as the Harvard Macy Harvard Macy Institute for Educators in the Health Professions.
Dr. Riess's research is supported by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation for Humanism in Medicine, The Josiah Macy Jr., Foundation for Medical Education, The Risk Management Foundation, and The David Judah Fund.
Dr. Riess conducts research on improving empathy and relational skills in physicians. Dr. Riess's research is supported by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation for Humanism in Medicine, The Josiah Macy Jr., Foundation for Medical Education, The Risk Management Foundation, and The David Judah Fund.
Dr. Riess has also previously conducted research on treatment of bulimia nervosa with an integrative treatment approach utilizing cognitive behavioral, relational, psychodynamic, and experiential therapies. The results and methods are published in journal articles and her book, Integrative Group Treatment for Bulimia Nervosa, Columbia University Press, 2001.
Riess H, Kelley JM, Bailey RW, et al. Improving Empathy and Relational Skills in Otolaryngology Residents: A Pilot Study. Otolarygology Head Neck Surgery 2011
13. Riess H. Empathy in Medicine: A neurobiological Perspective. JAMA 2010; 304 1604-1605
1. Riess, H. Dockray-Miller, M. Integrative Group Treatment for Bulimia Nervosa. New York: Columbia University Press. 2002
A meta-analysis of studies that investigated measures designed to improve health professionals’ interactions with patients confirms that such efforts can produce health effects just as beneficial as taking a daily aspirin to prevent heart attack.
Resident physicians' participation in a brief training program designed to increase empathy with their patients produced significant improvement in how patients perceived their interactions with the residents.
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