Mary Catherine Beach, MD, MPH



2024 East Monument Street
Room 2-500
Baltimore, MD 21205
  • Core Faculty
    Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
  • Professor of Medicine
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Professor, Dept. of Health, Behavior & Society
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Mary Catherine Beach is a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Health, Behavior & Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Beach is a former Greenwall fellow (Bioethics and Health Policy), health policy fellow in the office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar Award.

Dr. Beach’s scholarship about respect and relationships in healthcare encompasses both empirical and conceptual dimensions. Dr. Beach’s empirical work has focused primarily on respect and communication between patients and clinicians. For the last several years, most of Dr. Beach’s research has centered on people living with HIV/AIDS and sickle cell disease (SCD). Her empirical work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Greenwall Foundation.

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Dr. Beach is on the editorial board for Patient Education and Counseling and on the Advisory Board for Communication in Medicine. At Johns Hopkins, Dr. Beach serves as co-chair of an Institutional Review Board (IRB), Course Director of the Scholarly Concentrations Program (a course spanning 2 years in the School of Medicine curriculum that guides students through a mentored scholarly project), and Director of the TL1 Predoctoral Clinical Research training program (a year-long interdisciplinary program).

Research Interests

  • Respect
  • Patient-clinician communication
  • Health care quality for underserved populations
  • Sickle-cell disease
  • HIV and substance abuse


  • BA, Barnard College, Columbia University (1991)
  • MD, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine (1995)
  • MPH, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University (1999)


  • Editorial Board, Patient Education and Counseling
  • Course Director, Scholarly Concentrations, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Co-Chair, IRB3, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Director, TL1 Predoctoral Clinical Research Training Program, Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing

Recent Publications

  1. Beach MC, Morrison RS. The effect of do-not-resuscitate orders on physician decision- making. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2002 Dec;50(12):2057-61.
  2. Beach MC, Sugarman J, Johnson RL, Arbelaez JJ, Duggan PD, Cooper LA. Do patients treated with dignity report higher satisfaction, adherence and receipt of preventive care? Ann Fam Med. 2005 Jul-Aug;3(4):331-8.
  3. Beach MC, Inui T. Relationship-centered care: A constructive reframing. Journal of General Internal Medicine.2006 Jan;21 Suppl 1:S3-8.
  4. Beach MC, Keruly J, Moore RD.Is the quality of the patient-provider relationship associated with better adherence and health outcomes for patients with HIV? J Gen Internal Med.2006 Jun;21(6):661-5.
  5. Beach MC,Roter DL, Wang NY, Duggan PS, Cooper LA. Are physicians’ attitudes of respect accurately perceived by patients and associated more positive communication behaviors? Patient Education and Counseling.2006 Sep;62(3):347-54.
  6. Beach MC, Saha S, Cooper LA. Patient centeredness and cultural competence: Their relationship and role in healthcare quality. The Commonwealth Fund Report. October 2006.
  7. Beach MC, Rosner M, Cooper LA, Duggan PS, Shatzer J. Can patient-centered attitudes reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care? Academic Medicine.2007 Feb;82(2):193-8.
  8. Beach MC, Duggan PS, Cassell CK, Geller G. What does ‘respect’ mean? Exploring the moral obligation of health professionals to respect patients. Journal of General Internal Medicine.2007 May;22(5):692-5.
  9. Ratanawongsa N, Haywood C Jr, Bediako SM, Lattimer L, Lanzkron S, Hill PM, Powe NR, Beach MC. Health care provider attitudes towards patients with acute vaso-occlusive crisis due to sickle cell disease: development of a scale. Patient Education and Counseling. 2009 Aug;76(2):272-8. PMCID: PMC3119258
  10. Haywood C Jr, Lanzkron S, Hughes MT, Brown R, Massa M, Ratanawongsa N, Beach MC. A Video-Intervention to Improve Clinician Attitudes toward Patients with Sickle Cell Disease: The Results of a Randomized Experiment.Journal of General Internal Medicine2011 May;26(5):518-23. PMCID: PMC3077483
  11. Saha S, Beach MC. The Impact of Patient-Centered Communication on Patients’ Decision Making and Evaluations of Physicians: A Randomized Study Using Video Vignettes. Patient Education and Counseling. 2011 Sep;84(3):386-92. PMCID: PMC3159856
  12. Hsu I, Saha S, Korthuis PT, Sharp V, Cohn J, Moore RD, Beach MC. Providing Support to Patients in Emotional Encounters: A New Perspective on Missed Empathic Opportunities. Patient Education and Counseling.2012 Sep;88(3):436-42. PMCID: PMC3448439
  13. Saha S, Korthuis PT, Cohn JA, Sharp VL, Moore RD, Beach MC. Primary care provider cultural competence and racial disparities in HIV care and outcomes. J General Internal Medicine. 2013 May;28(5):622-9. PMCID: PMC3631054
  14. Flickinger TE,Saha S, Moore RD, Beach MC. Higher Quality Communication and Relationships Are Associated with Improved Patient Engagement in HIV Care. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 2013 Jul 1;63(3):362-6. PMCID: PMC3752691
  15. Beach MC, Roter D, Korthuis PT, Epstein RM, Sharp V, Ratanawongsa N, Cohn J, Eggly S, Sankar A, Moore RD, Saha S. A multicenter study of physician mindfulness and health care quality. Annals of Family Medicine.2013 Sep-Oct;11(5):421-8. PMCID: PMC3767710
  16. Haywood Jr. C, Bediako S, Lanzkron S, Diener-West M, Strouse J, Haythornthwaite J, Onojobi G, Beach MC, for the IMPORT Investigators. “An unequal burden: Poor patient-provider communication and sickle cell disease.” Patient Education and Counseling. 2014 Aug;96(2):159-164. PMCID: PMC4115582
  17. Beach MC, Forbes L, Branyon E, Aboumatar H, Carrese J, Sugarman J, Geller G. (2015). Patient and family perspectives on respect and dignity in the intensive care unit setting. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics. 2015;5(1A):15A-25A
  18. Flickinger TE, Saha S, Roter D, Korthuis PT, Sharp V, Cohn J, Moore RD, Ingersoll KI, Beach MC. Respecting patients is associated with more patient-centered communication behaviors in clinical encounters.  Patient Education and Counseling, 2015 Aug 20 [Epub ahead of print]. PMCID: PMC5271348
  19. Flickinger TE, Saha S, Roter D, Korthuis PT, Sharp V, Cohn J, Eggly S, Moore RD, Beach MC. Clinician empathy is associated with differences in patient-clinician communication behaviors and higher medication self-efficacy in HIV care. Patient Education and Counseling, 2015 Sep 3 [Epub ahead of print]. PMCID: PMC5610904
  20. Beach MC, Saha S, Branyon E, Ehanire I, Mathews Z, Cooper LA. Communicating Respect for Patients as Persons: A Qualitative Study. International Journal of Person-Centered Medicine2016;6(1):42-49
  21. Callon W, Saha S, Wilson IB, Laws MB, Massa M, Korthuis PT, Sharp V, Cohn J, Moore RD, Beach MC. How Does Decision Complexity Affect Shared Decision Making? An Analysis of Patient-Provider Antiretroviral Initiation Dialogue. Patient Education and Counseling 2016 Dec 16PMC Journal – In Process
  22. Berger Z, Boss EF, Beach MC. Communication Behaviors and Patient Autonomy in Hospital Care: A Qualitative Study. Patient Education and Counseling 2017 Aug;100(8):1473-1481. Epub 2017 Mar 7.PMC Journal – In Process
  23. Beach MC, Branyon E, Saha S.Diverse patient perspectives on respect in healthcare: A qualitative study. Patient Education and Counseling 2017 Nov;100(11):2076-2080PMC Journal – In Process
  24. Goddu AP, O’Conor KJ, Lanzkron S, Saheed MO, Saha S, Peek ME, Haywood C Jr., Beach MC. “Do Words Matter? Stigmatizing Language and the Transmission of Bias in the Medical Record.” Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2018 May;33(5):685-691. Epub 2018 Jan 26.
  25. Beach MC, Topazian R, Chan K, Sugarman J, Geller G. Climate of Respect Evaluation in Intensive Care Units: Development of an Instrument (CORE-ICU). Critical Care Medicine. In press. PMC Journal – In Process
  26. Callon W, Beach MC, Links A, Wasserman C, Boss E. Defining and Measuring Evidence of Shared Decision-Making in Dialogue: A ‘Top-down’ and ‘Bottom-up’ Approach. Patient Education and Counseling. In press. PMC Journal – In Process.
  27. Lee J, Callon W, Haywood Jr C, Lanzkron S, Gulbrandsen P, Beach MC. What does shared decision-making look like in natural settings? A mixed methods study of patient-provider communications. Communication in Medicine(in press)