The Stoeckle Center

Honorary Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital
Professor of Medicine, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School
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John D. Stoeckle, MDFew have contributed more to advancing primary care practice, training and research.

Throughout his 50 years as a primary care physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Stoeckle has enhanced the lives of thousands of patients and established primary care as a core practice of the institution. He began providing his personal brand of care in the early 50's in the hospital's Medical Clinic, and later helped establish the hospital's first teaching group practice, Internal Medicine Associates (IMA), working with colleagues, residents and medical students alike.

As a Harvard Medical School Professor of Medicine, Dr. Stoeckle played an important role in developing, implementing and teaching the Patient/Doctor curriculum at Harvard Medical School. His teachings have inspired generations of medical students and residents, leading many to embark on careers in primary care throughout the country and around the globe. Likewise, Dr. Stoeckle has written extensively about the challenges of doctoring in the modern era. His numerous publications on patients' perceptions of health and disease, as well as patient-doctor relationships, have significantly influenced the field of primary care internal medicine.

Dr. Stoeckle's research has been equally influential, bridging medicine and the social sciences. Working with colleagues in sociology, medicine and psychiatry, he has initiated studies of patient care and patient-doctor communication in outpatient practices. Dr. Stoeckle and various researchers based at the MGH Medical Clinic and IMA have published numerous influential studies, including the evolving work of primary care practitioners, the negotiation of care decisions between doctor and patient, and the design and development of training programs.

With an eye toward improving the overall health care delivery system, Dr. Stoeckle also has focused attention outside of the hospital setting. As former Chair of the MGH Committee on Clinics, he authored some of the first comprehensive descriptions of the history and development of community clinics and the impact of related policy issues. More recently, he examined changing economic relationships in medicine, particularly those affecting the content and quality of medical practice and inter-professional relationships. Dr. Stoeckle continues to write and publish and is actively engaged in the Center's work.

In 2000, the Massachusetts General Hospital established The John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation to commemorate and sustain Dr. Stoeckle's commitment to improving the quality and delivery of primary medical care. The Center remains focused on furthering the Stoeckle philosophy, coined by Francis Weld Peabody, MD, in 1927, that the "secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient."