Posted:July 26, 2011

Philadelphia, PA -

Three articles showcasing the role of medical professionalism in improving health care have been named the winners of the ABIM Foundation Professionalism Article Prize. These articles examine core issues highlighted in Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter. Authored in 2002 in partnership with the ABIM Foundation, the American College of Physicians Foundation and the European Federation of Internal Medicine, the Physician Charter presents a modern definition of medical professionalism. The fundamental principles of medical professionalism include the primacy of patient welfare, patient autonomy and social justice.

The Physician Charter also articulates professional commitments of physicians and health care professionals, including improving access to high quality health care, advocating for a just and cost-effective distribution of finite resources, and maintaining trust by managing conflicts of interest. In the time since the Physician Charter was released, the number of journal articles published on medical professionalism has tripled.

The articles recognized with the Professionalism Article Prize advance issues central to the Physician Charter – including the role of practicing physicians in controlling rising health care costs; the need to reform medical education and training to prepare future generations of physicians to practice under increasing resource constraints; and the responsibility physicians must take to report impaired and incompetent colleagues.

The winners of the inaugural ABIM Foundation Professionalism Article Prize award are:

    • Commentary/Perspective: “What If Physicians Actually Had to Control Medical Costs?” by Robert H. Brook, MD, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
    • Medical Education and Training: “Cost Consciousness in Patient Care—What is Medical Education’s Responsibility?” by Molly Cooke, MD, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
    • Professionalism in Practice: “Physicians’ Perceptions, Preparedness for Reporting, and Experiences Related to Impaired and Incompetent Colleagues” by Catherine M. DesRoches, DrPH; Sowmya R. Rao, PhD; John A. Fromson, MD; Robert J. Birnbaum, MD, PhD; Lisa Iezzoni, MD, MSc; Christine Vogelli, PhD; and Eric G. Campbell, PhD, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“The three articles recognized by the ABIM Foundation contribute to the growing literature on the importance of medical professionalism in improving health care quality,” said Christine K. Cassel, MD, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the ABIM Foundation. “We know that physicians want to live up to the ideas embodied in the Physician Charter, but often don’t have the systems to support them doing so. These articles raise and begin to answer important questions about how we can address this challenge.”

More than 100 articles were reviewed for the Professionalism Article Prize and organized into three categories: Commentary/Perspective, Medical Education and Training, and Professionalism in Practice. To be considered, the articles under consideration needed to be published in English-language, peer-reviewed journals between January, 1 2010 and December 31, 2010. A selection committee, made up of physicians and patients, reviewed the articles and judged them based on clarity of writing, thoroughness, methodology, and contributions to the field and society.

Members of the selection committee included:

    • Barry Egner, MD, FAACP, FAACH, Medical Director, Foundation for Medical Excellence
    • Rosemary Gibson, author, The Treatment Trap
    • Hayley Goldbach, medical student, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
    • Frederic W. Hafferty, PhD, Professor of Medical Education, Mayo Clinic
    • Lorna Lynn, MD, Director, PIM Research, American Board of Internal Medicine
    • Walter McDonald, MD, FACP, Emeritus Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine

The creation of the Professionalism Article Prize continues the Foundation’s long history in advancing professionalism. Since its publication, the Physician Charter has gone on to be endorsed by more than 130 organizations and cited in nearly 1,500 articles and books.

Winners of the Professionalism Article Prize will receive recognition on the ABIM Foundation’s website and social media pages, an invitation to write a guest post on The Medical Professionalism Blog, and a Best Article in Professionalism web badge.