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Macy Initiative in Health Communication


Project Administration

Aaron Lazare, MD, Principal Investigator. Dr. Lazare received his AB from Oberlin College and his MD from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He served his internship in internal medicine at Albert Einstein medical Center in the Bronx and residency in psychiatry at Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston. 

During 14 years of service at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), he became the director of Acute Psychiatric Service, director of Outpatient Psychiatry, and director of Clinical Services for the Department of Psychiatry while rising to the rank of professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. During his tenure at MGH, he built the outpatient psychiatry department into the largest and most diverse in New England, and provided leadership for founding and developing what many believe has been the most successful continuing education course in psychiatry in the U.S.

He conducted pioneering research on the importance of understanding the patient's perspective on clinical outcome and applying a negotiating paradigm to the doctor-patient relationship. This research, conducted in the mid-1970s, generated more than $1 million in National Institute of Mental Health funding over a period of eight years.

He is the author of the first textbook on outpatient psychiatry, Outpatient Psychiatry: Diagnosis and Treatment (1979) now in its second printing. The textbook was selected in January 1990 by the American Journal of Nursing as "book of the year." He was named by Boston Magazine (1984) as one of Boston's leading therapists.

In 1982, Dr. Lazare accepted the position of professor of psychiatry and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Dr. Lazare received the university's Distinguished Professional Public Service Award in 1988 "for exceptional achievement in serving the interests of the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," and two teaching awards. While chair of the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Lazare initiated an entirely new sphere of scholarly activity on the subject of shame and humiliation in medical encounters, an area in which Dr. Lazare is perhaps the national leader. His thesis focuses on the medical interview as a tinderbox for shame experiences for both patient and physician. Physicians can be taught to enhance the dignity of patients while minimizing the patient's humiliation.

Dr. Lazare's publications include 70 original articles and book chapters and six books.

In 1989, Dr. Lazare was called to be interim dean, permanent dean and interim chancellor of UMass Medical Center. He currently holds the title of chancellor/dean.

In 1992, Dr. Lazare was honored by the American Psychiatric Association to give the Benjamin Rush Award Lecture, given by an individual "who has achieved renown for his/her contribution to the history of Psychiatry."

In 1993, he was selected by the Anti-Defamation League of New England to receive the Maimonides Award for "outstanding commitment as a physician and educator to providing quality health services and the training of health care providers in an atmosphere of sensitivity and respect to all people."

In 1995, Dr. Lazare was appointed by Governor William Weld to chair the Citizens' Task Force on Adoption. One of the group's recommendations was the establishment of a UMass five-campus Center for Adoption Research and Policy.

The honors he has received over the years recognize a broad range of accomplishments as a practicing psychiatrist, as a researcher, as an author, as an educator, as a lecturer, as a leader/administrator, and as a humanitarian. He is co-editor of the reference text, The Medical Interview.


Michele P. Pugnaire, MD, Macy Project Director.Dr. Pugnaire has been involved with the Macy project at UMMS since December 1998, with responsibilities for strategic planning and overall direction for project implementation at UMass Medical School. As of January 1, 1999, she was appointed Acting Vice Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education at UMMS, responsible for providing leadership for curriculum development, implementation and evaluation in undergraduate medical education. Prior to this appointment, she served as Associate Dean for Admissions (since 1996), and in 1998, assumed responsibility for the direction of the Medical School Advising and Career Development Program, and for the Peoplesoft Student Information Conversion System Project.

Dr. Pugnaire joined the UMass faculty in 1984, in the Department of Family Medicine. During the past 15 years, she has served in a variety of administrative and teaching positions in the department, including director of the undergraduate division, course director for the Longitudinal Preceptor Program for the department, and director for the core clerkship in family medicine. Her recent achievements include: the establishment of a Primary Care Advising Program which has garnered national attention from medical schools across the country as a model for replication; and the McQ Family curriculum, a web-based electronic curriculum developed for the third year core clerkship in family medicine, now being adapted for use in the pediatrics and medicine clerkships as part of the UME-21 managed care curricular initiative. Throughout her years of UMass-based involvement as an administrator and educator, Dr. Pugnaire has maintained a community-based clinical practice in family medicine. A graduate of McGill University Medical School, she completed a residency in family practice at UMass in 1984. She is recipient of several UMass awards for teaching and curriculum development activities.


Emily Ferrara, MA, Macy Project Administrator, began working with the project in January 1999. She is responsible for the overall day-to-day management of the project, and serves as Assistant Director of Curriculum Development. She also serves as a member of the UMass Macy Steering Committee, and the Evaluation Committee. Ms. Ferrara is Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, and teaches communication/medical interviewing skills in the required Physician, Patient and Society Course. She also co-developed and co-teaches an elective on Creative Writing for second year medical students. Prior to her role with the Macy Initiative, she served as Assistant Director of the Office of Community Programs and Project Manager for the Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Physician Initiative at UMass. Ms. Ferrara received her BS in Communications from Boston University, and MA in Interdisciplinary Studies/Medical Humanities from Lesley University.