ECU lands national spirituality and medicine grant
Musick (left), Hardy
(July 29, 2005)
The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina
University has been awarded a $50,000 grant to complete a medical
education project on spirituality and medicine.
The four-year grant awarded by the George Washington Institute for
Spirituality and Health (GWish) to ECU is one of four national grants from
the George Washington University-based group for 2005.
Started in 1995, the "Curriculum Development in Spirituality and Medicine"
grant is given to a medical or osteopathic school that incorporates issues
related to spirituality and medicine into their curriculum, according to
the GWish Web site.
At ECU, Dr. David Musick, associate dean for medical education, is the
primary investigator with Dr. Virginia Hardy, associate dean for
intercultural affairs, counseling and diversity, serving as co-principal
investigator for the grant. Hardy is also interim senior associate dean
for academic affairs.
"One of the things we'll discuss with the students is taking a spiritual
history of the patient, said Musick. "Obviously, it's not for every
patient situation, but if the patient has been just diagnosed with a
chronic or terminal illness then they may lean on their spiritual
resources. We believe physicians should be willing to speak to their
patients about that, particularly with end-of-life issues."
He added that national surveys show that patients want to speak to their
physicians about their religious beliefs.
"Well use this grant funding to develop and implement a new set of skills
as well as bring knowledge to the curriculum," said Musick, who is also
associate professor for physical medicine and rehabilitation. "And once
you implement, you have to assess that the students have learned from
Musick added that GWish awarded grant funding for spirituality and
medicine development in medical school curriculums about a decade ago, but
the courses didnt reach a large number of students since the courses were
electives and only five or six out of 75 students might take the course.
"Now it is more the tapestry approach, which is what we will do. You take
a little bit and put it here and there throughout the curriculum. You
reach all of the students that way," Musick said. "We went through a
process putting this together and talking to all the course directors. We
will add parts of this into 11 different sections of the curriculum."
During the first two years of medical school, the course work focuses on
the science of how the body works and how medications affect the body; the
third and fourth year takes that knowledge into the clinical setting for
This is not the first time that Musick has served as principal
investigator and received this award. "In the mid-90s while I was at the
University of Kentucky, I was the co-principal investigator with a
physician and we got this grant. I developed the curriculum so I think
that will help me a lot here," he said.
The Association of American Medical Colleges has included spirituality as
a component of its Medical School Objectives Project Report III, a set of
curriculum guidelines sent to all medical schools, according to
The George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health works toward a
more compassionate system of health care by restoring the heart and
humanity of medicine through research, education and policy work focused
on bringing increased attention to the spiritual needs of patients,
families and the health care professionals, according to its Web site.