November 20, 2013 – Central Michigan University and NIWH Partner to Study Unique Communication Skills for Physicians

For Immediate Release

NIWH Partner to Study Unique Communication Skills for Physicians
CMU pix

Mount Pleasant, MI and Wellesley, MA, November 20, 2013 – In an effort to shift the growing problem of  type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and improve doctor-patient communication, Central Michigan University has partnered with the National Institute of Whole Health to study Communication Skills for Physicians through NIWH’s hospital tested Behavioral Engagement with Pure Presence ™ (BEPP). This partnership is the result of doctoral research requirements of CMU’s graduate learner, Christie Clipper, a researcher and administrator in public health.

Saleh Aldasouqi, MD, FACE, ECNU, Associate Professor of Medicine and Vice Chief of Endocrinology at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and Steven Berkshire, EdD, MHA, SPHR, FACHE, Professor and Director of the Health Administration doctoral program at Central Michigan University, are supporting and assisting Clipper’s efforts to test Behavioral Engagement with an experimental study involving patients with T2DM and their physicians.

Dr. Aldasouqi believes that most of these patients not only have diabetes, but also have problems with weight and eating habits. He states, “As such, they need the full attentiveness, the Pure Presence, of their physicians to provide counseling and effective interviewing in order to achieve healthier outcomes. The role of physicians is not merely to adjust medications and order labs.”

Communication Skills for Physicians

The study is designed to test how the model of Behavioral Engagement can impact the relationship between doctor and patient, specifically Communication Skills for Physicians, and potentially result in improved outcomes and compliance. Dr. Aldasouqi has become a champion of the study as he believes the BEPP model  can potentially have a positive impact on the patient-physician relationship and communication issues impacted by the now mandated use of electronic medical records (EMR). The widespread use of EMR has had a negative impact on patients as well as physicians.

Dr. Aldasouqi says this about the problems relating to EMR, “With the advent of EMR, and office visit time is shrinking, physicians are challenged even more to find time to empathize with their patients which is essential to building trusted relationships for improved patient compliance and healthier outcomes. The complaint by patients about their physicians not listening to them is vastly underestimated, and under appreciated in healthcare discussions.”

“Recently, a popular radio show host complained about her doctors, who used to listen and dedicate more time to her needs and questions in the past, are not listening as they used to because they are spending more time entering patient visit notes into their computers.”

“Because of the aforementioned emerging burdens, what doctors are now doing has become less face-to-face interviewing, and more focused on putting information into their computers. Within the current healthcare environment, the role of the physician appears to be moving closer to clerks whose main job is to enter information into computers, rather than the role of physician who is expected to counsel and advise their patients.”

“I am excited to participate as a co-investigator in this promising study, and I am optimistic about its findings, because I have personally examined this promising behavioral model and believe the model, (Behavioral Engagement with Pure Presence ™) is a potentially effective tool to transform the patient-physician relationship under the challenging provisions physicians must learn to balance within patient care today.”

Clipper, the study originator and Co-Primary Investigator regards her interest in studying Behavioral Engagement with Pure Presence as part of her professional mission. It is my mission to help others live life to their highest potential whether managing a chronic illness or practicing preventive measures while working to reduce healthcare costs.  Offering effective communication tools for the patient-provider encounter, I see the dissemination of Behavioral Engagement with Pure Presence TM into clinical practice as an essential tool for providers in achieving this immeasurable purpose.”

Dr. Berkshire, Clipper’s research chair concurs. “Dr.  Aldasouqi, Dr. Deaton and myself believe that this is certainly an important study to conduct and will provide results and findings that can be extremely helpful in changing behaviors in treatment compliance through behavioral change.” The study is scheduled to begin in January, 2014. The findings will be submitted for article publication to medical journals. This will provide national exposure to the research and its findings.


About NIWH
Since its inception in 1977, the National Institute of Whole Health has held a compelling vision for American health care. Today, 36 years later, that vision has become a reality in mainstream medicine and health care with the inclusion of chronic care coordination, whole person health information, wellness advocacy and self-directed care.

The recently publish award-winning, bestselling book “Changing Behavior” documents the development and research of Whole Health Education at various Boston hospitals than began in 1980. For more information, please visit Media Contact: Conor Michael, at 888-354-4325 or

About CMU

Established in 1892, Central Michigan University is among the nation’s 80 largest public universities with more than 20,000 students on the Mount Pleasant campus and another 7,000 enrolled on-line and at more than 50 locations across North America. CMU offers more than 200 academic programs at the undergraduate, masters, specialists and doctoral levels. For more information visit,