Media Relations

Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT: Gisele Galoustian

Clifford Barr Lectureship Inspires Medical Students in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine to Become Compassionate Physicians

BOCA RATON, FL (May 23, 2012) — Medical students in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine listened intently during the recent Clifford Barr Lectureship titled “The Compassionate Physician,” which was presented by Dr. Jose V. Castellanos, M.D., an internist and physician mentor. The lecture, which took place in the Schmidt College of Medicine, was supported by Clifford Barr, a retired attorney who worked at Dewey Ballantine in Manhattan after graduating from Princeton and Harvard Law School who moved to Boca Raton nearly 30 years ago. Barr believes that it is important to invest in FAU’s new medical school and the medical students in this community.

In a health care system that rewards technical skills and procedural prowess over compassion, this lecture focused on teaching medical students about the responsive and sympathetic aspects of being a doctor. Castellanos provided the students with various scenarios and personal examples of working with patients to help understand and respond to their feelings and expectations. In addition, he offered the students sage advice on managing and coping with their own feelings when they become doctors.

“As physicians, we must always be driven to show kindness and empathy toward others,” said Castellanos. “We are treating human beings, not results or numbers.”

Empathy is essential for improving patient-physician relationships and enhances the overall ability for physicians to communicate with their patients. Improved communication puts patients at ease and helps to build a bond of trust.

“Dr. Castellanos is a compassionate, caring and exceptional doctor, and I can’t think of a better role model for this class of future physicians,” said Barr. “If we are able to instill and maintain compassion and empathy in these students and those who follow, then we are able to play a very important role in improving doctor-patient relationships.”

There have been numerous studies conducted on empathy during the four years of medical school, and results have shown that empathy in medical students starts to decline after the first year. The Schmidt College of Medicine’s innovative curriculum emphasizes a patient-focused approach and as do the local community physicians who serve as mentors for each of the 64 class members. The Clifford Barr Lectureship will continue to be provided to incoming class members of the Schmidt College of Medicine.


About the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine :
With the addition of one of America's newest medical schools at FAU, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine is capitalizing on its existing strengths in basic, applied and translational biomedical research. Researchers in the College are addressing some of the world's most pressing health challenges including aging, cardiovascular disease and stroke, cancer, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, autoimmune diseases and HIV/AIDS. Housed in a $20 million, 95,000-square-foot facility funded by a gift from the Schmidt Family Foundation and state matching funds, the new medical school welcomed its inaugural class of 64 students in August 2011. The College has developed a new and innovative curriculum, which features early and continuous community-based clinical experiences and problem-based learning with emphasis on small-group and self-directed learning. The curriculum includes a student-centered and patient-focused approach and clinical experiences with local physicians, health departments and hospitals, and a state-of-the-art medical simulation center. A key component of the innovative curriculum is early exposure to patients and the actual practice of medicine. To that end, the College has established relationships with several prominent area hospitals that are serving as sites for clerkships, hospital-based electives and residencies. During clinical trainings, students have the opportunity to work side-by-side with physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of patients, applying knowledge learned from the first two years of study to real-life situations.

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

Privacy Policy | University Regulations and Policies | Emergency Information | Get Help | Contact Us

An Equal Opportunity/Equal Access Institution
© Copyright 2016. Florida Atlantic University.
Boca Raton Campus Danie Beach Campus Davie Campus Fort Lauderdale Campus Harbor Branch Campus Jupiter Campus Treasure Campus
 Last Modified 9/7/16