OU’s PI Academy to welcome Dr. Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good to campus

Rachel Yim, Science & Technology Reporter

The PI Academy at Oakland University is bringing a collaboration between a professor and his mentor to campus this week.

PI Academy at OU, which provides professional development in research and matches junior faculty with scholars from all across the nation, is welcoming Dr. Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good, a professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School to campus Oct. 29 and 30.

During her visit to OU, she will be serving as a mentor to Dr. Edward Rohn, assistant professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences.

“I am honored and a bit overwhelmed by the opportunity to work with Dr. Good,” Rohn said. “Her experience and insights have already been invaluable on a pair of manuscripts I have been working on.

Rohn was part of the PI Academy through the research office at OU. During the training, new faculty get hands-on experiences and learn how to help develop their research careers, according to Rohn. Part of the program includes enlisting the aid of an outside mentor for a period of one or more years.

“Her work is inspirational to me as she helped to find my field of medical anthropology,” Rohn said. “Her work on physician competency, in particular, figured heavily into my dissertation research.

Rohn is currently working on research that involves the intersection between patients and providers in the management and understanding of the experiences of chronic illnesses, specifically spinal cord injury and chronic pain. 

He cited his interest in improving healthcare delivery and passion of both patients’ and doctors’ stories as what inspired him to come up with his research idea.

As a comparative sociologist and medical anthropologist, Good will be working on a research project with Rohn, and hosting a public seminar on how she sees American medicine responds to cultural diversity in patient populations during her visit to OU.

“My talk will be based on my own Boston area research project as well as on national health policy issues over the past two decades, and subsequent research by my postdoctoral fellows and physicians I have mentored,” Good said. “I hope we can have a discussion where we can consider issues such as advocacy and trust in clinical patient relationships.”

Other than being a professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, she is also an honorary visiting professor at the University of Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in the faculty of medicine. As an honorary visiting professor, she advises and mentors their faculty in the area.

When it comes to research, Good has several domains of research on the culture of medicine. In the past, she focused on “Pain as Human Experience” (1992), a book she wrote and edited with her colleagues. 

Currently, she continues to research doctor-patient interactions in the U.S., looking at how physicians and healthcare staff respond to cultural diversity in American Society.

“[Rohn and I] both draw on medical anthropological modes to analyze the work of doctoring and the inner life of medicine,” Good said.

Good didn’t forget to express her excitement in her visit to OU.

As this will be my first visit to Oakland, I would like to leave this open,” Good said. “Dr. Rohn and Dr. [David] Stone and other faculty I will meet will help define various goals in our upcoming conversations. I am looking forward to fruitful and enjoyable conversations that I hope will be helpful to the faculty involved.”