Farr Curlin


principal investigator

Farr Curlin
Assistant Professor, Medicine
MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics
The University of Chicago, United States

Farr Curlin, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Section of General Internal Medicine, Associate Faculty in the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and the Center for Health and the Social Sciences, the University of Chicago and Director of the Program of Medicine and Religion at the University of Chicago. Over the past eight years, Dr. Curlin has developed the world’s first program of empirical research to give sustained attention to the ways physicians’ religious traditions and commitments shape their clinical practices. Dr. Curlin leads the Program of Medicine and Religion, a groundbreaking program at the University of Chicago that brings together clinicians and scholars who are formed by and students of the great religious traditions, to analyze and interpret the practice of medicine and the experience of illness in explicit reference to the teachings of their traditions. He has been principal investigator on three peer-reviewed grants, and papers from his initial studies have been widely published in leading clinical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Curlin has received several honors for his scholarship including recent selection as a Greenwall Foundation Faculty Scholar in Bioethics.



Kenneth A. Rasinski
Senior Scientist, Program of Medicine and Religion
University of Chicago

John D. Yoon
Clinical Associate, Hospital Medicine
University of Chicago

Project on the Good Physician
The Project on the Good Physician is a pilot study that aims to develop a national longitudinal study of the moral and professional formation of American physicians over the course of medical training—from matriculation in medical school to the first years of practice after residency training. Through utilizing the methods of the social and psychological sciences, informed by philosophical and theological analysis, our study seeks to facilitate a richer and truer understanding of the contemporary answer to an age-old question: How does one become a good (virtuous) physician? This project focuses our inquiry to three “meta-virtues” hypothesized to be particularly critical for the development of good physicians: empathic compassion, mindfulness, and generosity. We also examined a potential facilitator of medical virtue (experiences of moral elevation while working with an exemplar) and potential obstacles of medical virtue (burnout and sense of entitlement). One of the project’s contributions to the field of virtue research will be to develop physician-specific measures of these meta-virtues. In total, the project promises to generate novel insights about character development and moral enculturation and catalyze a constructive engagement between the humanities and the sciences regarding the formation of virtue.

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