Communications-focused dean joins TCU UNTHSC School of Medicine

Evonne Kaplan-Liss

Evonne Kaplan-Liss, M.D., M.P.H., has joined the faculty of the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine.

Kaplan-Liss is the first-ever medical school dean dedicated solely to the training of students and faculty to be effective communicators and empathetic scholars, according to the school.

As the assistant dean of Narrative Reflection and Patient Communication, Kaplan-Liss will develop curriculum and create an environment that teaches medical students to communicate more effectively with patients, colleagues, the community, media, funders and policymakers.

“This innovative medical school is a unique opportunity to transform health care by inspiring the next generation of medical students to be empathetic scholars,” Kaplan-Liss said. “Our goal is to infuse clarity throughout a new progressive communication curriculum and to become a model for other medical schools.”

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Kaplan-Liss was previously the founding medical director of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. There she developed curriculum and led hundreds of national and international workshops to educate thousands of students, faculty and administrators in the health professions to be more effective communicators.

Kaplan-Liss also will work with faculty members who will be required to participate in initial and ongoing communication training. Kaplan-Liss will incorporate the communication curriculum within the medical school and beyond, reaching out to the Fort Worth community, UNTHSC and TCU through a plan to develop Fort Worth’s Center for Empathetic Communication.

“When I visited Fort Worth and met Dean Flynn, I knew this was the best place to bring this center,” Kaplan-Liss said. “Dr. Flynn not only values the importance of communication training for his medical students, but also has the vision to integrate this training throughout all four years. This wouldn’t be possible at another university because curriculum is already established and faculty can often be unwilling to make changes.”

Kaplan-Liss is also voluntary faculty at Stony Brook Medicine as a clinical associate professor in the Program in Public Health and the Department of Family, Population & Preventive Medicine and continues to speak nationally on behalf of Alda Communications Training Co. in New York City. She graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, completing residencies in both pediatrics and preventive medicine, while also receiving her master’s in public health from Columbia University’s Mailmen School of Public Health. Kaplan-Liss is managing editor of the prevention textbook titled “Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice, 2nd Edition.”