Empathy & Relational Science Program

Empathy & Relational Science Program: Staff biographies and publications

Meet Our Staff

Dr. Helen RiessHelen Riess, M.D., Director
Dr. Helen Riess is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Empathy and Relational Science Program (ERSP) at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is also a Core Member of the Consortium on Research in Emotional Intelligence in Organizations (CREIO) and on the faculty of the Harvard Macy Institute.

She has devoted her career to understanding patients and to teaching the transforming power of empathy in medical relationships to trainees and faculty. This led her to develop a neuroscience-based empathy training system, and research has shown that this method significantly improves patients’ experience of their care.

In 2011, she founded the ERSP to conduct translational research on the neuroscience of emotions and emotional intelligence. The research team also investigates cultural aspects of empathy, inter-professional communication and leadership influences on organizational systems to enhance compassion and improve patient safety. The research is designed to directly inform medical training programs, coaching relationships and consultations to medical professionals.

View Dr. Riess' publications on PubMed.


Lidia SchapiraLidia Schapira M.D.
Dr. Schapira is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a medical oncologist with a focus on the care of women with breast cancer. She has a particular interest in the psychosocial, behavioral and communication issues in cancer care and treatment. She has played an active role nationally and internationally in championing efforts to improve patient-clinician communication through research, professional education and advocacy.

Dr. Schapira is active on many national and international editorial boards, is a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society, an associate editor for the American Society of Clinical Oncology's website for the public: Cancer.Net, and past chair of ASCO's Lifelong Learning Committee.

Dr. Schapira received her MD from Dartmouth Medical School. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, and fellowships in medical oncology and hematology at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. She also completed a Research Fellowship in the Division of Aging at Harvard Medical School.

View Dr. Schapira's most recent publications on PubMed.


Lee BaerLee Baer, PhD
Dr. Baer is Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and is Associate Chief of Psychology at MGH where he is currently the senior biostatistician in the Depression Program and was previously the director of biostatistics for the Dept. of Psychiatry.

Dr. Baer was a clinical intern at the Yale affiliated West Haven VA Medical Center, and was a clinical and research fellow at MGH Psychiatry. Dr. Baer has provided research and statistical consultation on dozens of NIH and foundation grants, and taught the multivariate statistics sequence for five years in the Dept of Psychology at Harvard College. Dr. Baer has published more than 200 papers and books, and his own clinical research has often focused on areas related to the patient-doctor relationship.

View Dr. Baer's most recent publications on PubMed.


LorieÁine Lorié, PhD
Áine Lorié completed her PhD in Sociology at the National University of Ireland, Galway in June 2009. Prior to this, she conducted research in applied sociology for both academic and professional (market-research) purposes. This work heavily included medical based projects, in particular mental health research.

Dr. Lorié currently teaches online as an Adjunct Faculty with Kaplan University in the Department of Social Sciences as well with Regis University’s College for Professional Studies School of Humanities and Social Sciences. She simultaneously assists as a research collaborator in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General where she has been working on several projects and provides qualitative research support as well as a complementary sociological perspective.

Dr. Lorié’s principal career goals and research interests are geared towards expanding dialogue between the professions of sociology and psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy in order to further understand therapy in its social context.

Selected References:

Phillips, M, Lorié, Á, Kelley JM, Gray ST, Riess H. Long-term effects of empathy training in surgery residents: a one year follow-up study. European Journal of Person Centered Healthcare, 2013; 1 (2) 326-332.

Lorié, Á (2013). Sacred Belief & Secular Health?: a study on mental illness and religion in modern Irish society. Peter Lang (Oxford) Ltd.

Hodges, K & Lorié, Á (2012). Ignoring the Social Elements: Research of Prevention-Focused Group Programs for Preadolescents and Adolescent (review), in International Journal for Group Psychotherapy: Vol. 62, No. 1, pp. 149-156.


Gordon Kraft-ToddGordon Kraft-Todd
Gordon Kraft-Todd graduated from Harvard College in 2007 with a B.A. in Leadership, a self-designed major synthesizing psychological, philosophical, and sociological perspectives on leadership. Gordon was clinical research coordinator in the Empathy and Relational Science Program for two years. He also was a research assistant with the Edmund J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard Law School and with the Moral Cognition, Cognitive Evolution, and Canine Cognition laboratories in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He is currently lab manager of the Human Cooperation Laboratory in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. Gordon is applying for social psychology PhD programs starting fall 2014, and is interested in understanding the propagation of prosocial norms.

Selected References:

Kelley JM, Kraft-Todd G, Schapira L, Kossowsky J, Riess H (2014) The Influence of the Patient-Clinician Relationship on Healthcare Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. PLoS ONE 9(4): e94207. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094207

Riess, H., Kraft-Todd, G (2014). E.M.P.A.T.H.Y.: A Tool to Enhance Nonverbal Communication Between Clinicians and Their Patients. Academic Medicine, Published Ahead-of-Print, doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000287



reineroAndrea Heberlein, PhD
Following an undergraduate degree in animal behavior, Dr. Heberlein completed her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Iowa. She continued her training with postdoctoral fellowships in cognitive neuroscience and social psychology, and is now on the faculty of the Department of Psychology, Boston College, where she teaches courses in Research Methods, Social Psychology, and Emotion.

Dr. Heberlein's research has spanned cognitive/affective neuroscience and social/cognitive psychology, focusing on the neural and cognitive mechanisms underlying our understanding of other minds. She is currently working on projects examining different forms of mind perception and of attention to minds, including studies examining the sequelae of empathizing along different dimensions of mind. Other projects explore the effects of competition on mind perception.

View Dr. Heberlein's recent publications on PubMed.



reineroDiego Reinero
Diego Reinero is a clinical research coordinator in the Empathy and Relational Science Program at MGH. He intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Social Psychology, integrating empathy, morality, and prosocial behavior. He hopes to see findings from such research applied in fields such as health care, public policy, technology, finance, and behavioral economics.

Diego Reinero graduated summa cum laude from Skidmore College in 2012 with a B.S. in Psychology and a B.S. in Business, writing his psychology thesis on empathy and the pluralism of prosocial motivations. Following graduation, Diego coached Princeton High School's Boys soccer teams and worked at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Research and Evaluation. Complementing his empathy research, Diego is also a research assistant in Professor Daniel Gilbert's Lab in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University and in Dr. Joan Camprodon's Neuropsychiatry and Neuromodulation Lab at MGH.

Selected References:

Can Empathy Be As Effective As Aspirin? The Patient-Clinician Relationship Affects Medical Outcomes -- The Arnold P. Gold Foundation - Humanizing Medicine Blog. April 18, 2014.



Margot PhillipsMargot Phillips, MD
maphillips1@partners.org

Margot Phillips, M.D. is a psychiatrist and a graduate of the MGH-McLean Adult Psychiatry Training Program, where she served her final year as the Chief Resident in Psychotherapy at MGH. Dr Phillips began working with Dr Riess in 2009 and joined the research team in 2010. Beginning July 2011, Dr Phillips will pursue a fellowship in Psychosomatic Medicine through Boston University. She is also a candidate in the MGH Center for Psychoanalytic Studies.

 

Selected References:

Phillips, M, Lorié, Á, Kelley JM, Gray ST, Riess H. Long-term effects of empathy training in surgery residents: a one year follow-up study. European Journal of Person Centered Healthcare, 2013; 1 (2) 326-332.

Riess, Helen, Kelley, John M., Bailey, Robert W., Dunn, Emily J., Phillips, Margot.Empathy Training for Resident Physicians: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Neuroscience-Informed Curriculum", Journal of General Internal Medicine, Online First™, 2 May 2012

Phillips M., Gross A. Approach to the Medically Ill Patient. In The Massachusetts General Hospital/ McLean Hospital Residency Handbook of Psychiatry. By the Residents and Faculties of the Massachusetts General and McLean Hospitals. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1st edition. June, 2010 pp: 129-139.

Gordon C., Phillips M. and Beresin G. The Doctor-Patient Relationship. In The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of General Hospital Psychiatry. 6th Edition. Stern TA, Fricchione GL, Cassem NH, Jellinek MS, Rosenbaum JF. Mosby: 2010 pp. 15-24.

Beresin G., Phillips M. and Gordon C. The Psychiatric Interview. In The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of General Hospital Psychiatry, 6th Edition. Stern TA, Fricchione GL, Cassem NH, Jellinek MS, Rosenbaum JF. Mosby: 2010 pp. 25-38.


Alumni

John M. KelleyJohn M. Kelley, PhD
John M. Kelley, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Endicott College, the Deputy Director of the Program in Placebo Studies at Harvard Medical School, and a licensed clinical psychologist in the Psychiatry Service at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Kelley earned a bachelor’s degree with high honors from Harvard University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon. His research interests include: (1) investigating the placebo effect in medical and psychiatric disorders; and (2) understanding how the patient-clinician relationship affects healthcare outcomes in medicine and psychiatry. Dr. Kelley has served as a co-investigator or consultant on 8 National Institutes of Health research grants, and he is the author or co-author of 38 peer-reviewed scientific publications, including articles in The New England Journal of Medicine, The British Medical Journal, and Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

 View Dr. Kelley's recent publications on PubMed.

 


 

Emily DunnEmily J. Dunn
Emily J. Dunn graduated from Simmons College in May 2011 with a B.A in Psychology and a minor in Art. She is now a graduate student at The Ohio State University where she plans to earn a PhD in Clinical Psychology. She is currently working in the Psychopathology and Affective Sciences Lab where she is involved in research on emotion regulation and psychophysiology.

View recent publications on PubMed.


Rob BaileyRob Bailey
Rob Bailey graduated from the University of Oregon in 2003 with a B.S. in Business Administration and a concentration in Finance. After working as a credit analyst in commercial banking for a year, Rob spent two years teaching English in Kyrgyzstan with the Peace Corps. Upon his return, Rob began focusing on a career in clinical psychology. For nearly two years, through the end of 2010, Rob was involved with the Psychotherapy Research Program in support of Dr. Helen Riess’s research studying the effectiveness of a training program designed to bring empathy and humanistic ideals to the field of medicine. While preparing for his graduate studies, Rob also served as a residence counselor at the OCD Institute at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, where he provided direct patient care to adults with severe OCD spectrum disorders through group and individual counseling. Rob completed a master’s degree in psychology at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY, in 2013 and is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program in clinical psychology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Selected References:
Riess, Helen, Kelley, John M., Bailey, Robert W., Dunn, Emily J., Phillips, Margot.Empathy Training for Resident Physicians: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Neuroscience-Informed Curriculum", Journal of General Internal Medicine, Online First™, 2 May 2012


Maren Leuschner, M.D
Maren Leuschner, M.D. joined the Psychotherapy Research Group at the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2010 where she has been involved in empathy training research. After earning her medical degree from the University of Ulm, Germany, in 2004, she worked as an Intern at the Psychiatric Center Nordbaden, Wiesloch, Germany. In 2008 she completed her Research Dissertation at the Department of Psychosomatics in Ulm, Germany with the Title: "Changes of Marital Quality and Somatic Syndromes at the Transition to Parenthood in Men”.

Since 2006 Dr. Leuschner has been a Fellow at the Department of Psychosomatics at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, where she works with a broad spectrum of psychosomatic disorders, leading group psychotherapy and family therapy sessions.