MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Jeannie Sperry, Ph.D., associate professor and clinical psychologist in the West Virginia University Department of Family Medicine and associate professor in the WVU Department of Medical Education, has been awarded a $5,000 scholarship from The Arnold P. Gold Foundation to participate in the Gold Humanism Scholars program at the Harvard Macy Institute 2014 Program for Educators. The Gold Foundation’s mission is to work to restore a more effective balance between the cutting-edge science of medicine and the delivery of compassionate, patient-centered care.
Dr. Sperry is the director of Behavioral Science Education in the Department of Family Medicine and was recently appointed co-director of the Clinical Performance Exam and head of the Communication Skills thread for the M.D. degree curriculum in the WVU School of Medicine.

“Participating as a Gold Humanism Scholar will strengthen  my role in developing future healthcare providers who espouse the Gold Foundation’s definition of humanistic caregivers: those who demonstrate respect for a patient’s concerns and provide compassionate care for a patient’s physical and emotional well-being,” Sperry said. “I am grateful for this opportunity to enrich my teaching skills and further promote compassionate care in our institution.”

Sperry will represent the WVU School of Medicine at the Harvard program in January and May of 2014. Her project, “Advanced Communication Skill Development,” is focused on ensuring that WVU’s graduating medical students demonstrate high-quality medical communication skills.

“For nearly 20 years, Dr. Sperry has been teaching and supervising various disciplines of learners, including interdisciplinary teams, at WVU,” Norman D. Ferrari, M.D., WVU School of Medicine vice dean for Education and Academic Affairs and chair of the Department of Medical Education, said. “In addition to extensive clinical teaching, she has been a co-investigator on five Health Resources and Services Administration grants and has earned a reputation as a leader in health professions education. She embodies the qualities of a humanistic educator and role model for compassionate care.”

Additionally, Sperry recently achieved specialty board certification in clinical health psychology and was recognized at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention in Hawaii in August. This status is achieved by only 6 percent of psychologists nationally.

The Harvard Macy Institute was established in 1994 to bring together healthcare professionals, educators and leaders to discuss the critical challenges of the day and design innovative solutions that have a lasting impact on the way medicine is practiced and students are educated. The Institute is a collaborative effort of Harvard Medical School, the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School.
For more information: Leigh Limerick, Communications Specialist, 304-293-7087
lal: 09-09-13