Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Educational Psychology


Helen L. Johnson

Committee Members

David Rindskopf

Juliet Aizer

Joseph Murray

Elizabeth Wilson-Anstey

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Psychology | Higher Education


Medical Education, Empathy, Longitudnial Patient Programs


This study examines the effects of a longitudinal patient experience on the enhancement of empathy in first and second year students attending Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC). The Longitudinal Educational Experience Advancing Patient Partnerships (LEAP) is a new required program at WCMC. Entering Medical students are matched with chronically ill patients whom they will follow throughout medical school. One of the objectives of the LEAP program is to create an experience that will create more empathic medical students. Empathy is an attribute that is considered essential for a strong doctor-patient relationship. With the development of the Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE), the measurement of empathy has become increasingly accepted and used in numerous studies. In recent years the ability to teach empathy to medical students has become a more important focus of medical education. The LEAP program is an example of this type of educational intervention. Providing an opportunity for longitudinal patient interactions in the pre-clinical experience may help to facilitate the enhancement of empathy. Using a quasi-experimental model, this study uses the JSE as a pre and post test to determine the effects of LEAP participation on empathy.