Dennis Novack, MD, is professor of medicine and associate dean of medical education at Drexel University College of Medicine. Before his retirement from clinical practice, he was a general internist who completed a two-year fellowship with George Engel's Medical-Psychiatric Liaison group in Rochester, N.Y., from 1976-1978. Since 1978, Dr. Novack has been in academic medical centers, dedicated to improving education in physician-patient communication and psychosocial aspects of care. First at the University of Virginia and then for 12 years at Brown University, he directed psychosocial education in primary care internal medicine residency programs. He also co-directed the first-year medical student course in medical interviewing and psychosocial aspects of care at Brown University Medical School. At Drexel, he directs clinical skills teaching and assessment. He also directs the first-year course at Drexel on physician/patient communication, psychosocial aspects of care, and physician personal awareness and well-being. Throughout, he has remained active in clinical practice in general internal medicine.
Dr. Novack has conducted educational research, developed curricula and written many articles in peer-reviewed journals about physician-patient communication, a number of which are used in various medical school curricula. He has also authored or co-authored articles on controversial topics in medical ethics, such as his articles in JAMA on "telling" the cancer patient and on physician use of deception in medicine. He has been a leader in the American Academy on Physician and Patient (AAPP) since its inception. He co-directed the first three AAPP annual faculty development courses and has taught in most of the 23 annual courses so far, as well as in many regional and British national courses. He is the founding editor of Medical Encounter, the quarterly newsletter of the Academy, and recently retired after 20 years as editor.
Dr. Novack has also been active for many years in the American Psychosomatic Society (APS), a scholarly society of nearly 1,000 members that fosters scientific research into mind-body interactions in health and disease. He is a past president of the APS. He has made many presentations at national and international meetings, and has been invited to serve at several consensus conferences on teaching physician-patient communication, including the Toronto Consensus Conference, whose conclusions were published in the British Medical Journal; two Kalamazoo conferences published in Academic Medicine; and an Institute of Medicine committee on the ideal behavioral sciences curriculum for medical education.