Mary Catherine Beach, M.D., M.P.H.

Headshot of Mary Catherine Beach
  • Professor of Medicine


Internal Medicine

Research Interests

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

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The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Main Entrance)

Appointment Phone: 410-955-9434
1800 Orleans St.
Sheikh Zayed Tower
Baltimore, MD 21287
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Mary Catherine Beach is a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She holds a joint appointment in health, behavior and 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. 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). more



  • MD; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (1994)


  • Internal Medicine; The Mount Sinai Hospital (1998)


  • Internal Medicine; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2003)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Internal Medicine (Internal Medicine) (1998)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Beach is currently conducting research on the theoretical foundations of respect and the impact of physician attitudes and patient-physician communication on patients in the primary care setting, in the treatment of HIV and substance abuse and in the treatment of sickle cell disease.

Selected Publications

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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 Educ Couns. 2015 Sep 3. pii: S0738-3991(15)30070-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2015.09.001. [Epub ahead of print]

Flickinger TE, Saha S, Roter D, Korthuis PT, Sharp V, Cohn J, Moore RD, Ingersoll KS, Beach MC. “Respecting patients is associated with more patient-centered communication behaviors in clinical encounters.” Patient Educ Couns. 2015 Aug 20. pii: S0738-3991(15)30057-4. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2015.08.020. [Epub ahead of print]

Haywood C Jr, Williams-Reade J, Rushton C, Beach MC, Geller G. “Improving clinician attitudes of respect and trust for persons with sickle cell disease.” Hosp Pediatr. 2015 Jul;5(7):377-84. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2014-0171.

Laws MB, Rose GS, Beach MC, Lee Y, Rogers WS, Velasco AB, Wilson IB. “Patient-provider concordance with behavioral change goals drives measures of motivational interviewing consistency.” Patient Educ Couns. 2015 Jun;98(6):728-33. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2015.02.014. Epub 2015 Feb 23.

Beach MC, Roter DL, Saha S, Korthuis PT, Eggly S, Cohn J, Sharp V, Moore RD, Wilson IB.  Impact of a Brief Patient and Provider Intervention to Improve the Quality of Communication about Medication Adherence among HIV Patients.  Patient Education and Counseling, 2015 May 21

Haywood Jr. C., Diener-West M., Strouse J., Patrick Carroll C., Bediako S., Lanzkron S., Haythornthwaite J., Onojobi G., and Beach MC., for the IMPORT Investigators. Perceived Discrimination in Health Care is Associated with a Greater Burden of Pain in Sickle Cell Disease. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2014 Nov;48(5):934-43. Epub Apr 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.

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.

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

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.

aha 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.

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 Medicine. 2011 May;26(5):518-23.

Kinsman H, Roter D, Berkenblit G, Saha S, Korthuis PT, Wilson I, Eggly S, Sankar A, Sharp V, Cohn J, Moore RD, Beach MC. “We’ll do this together”: The Role of the First Person Plural in Fostering Partnership in Patient-Physician Relationships. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2010 Mar;25(3):186-93.

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.

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.

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.

Beach MC, Price EG, Gary TL, Robinson KA, Gozu A, Palacio A, Smarth C, Jenkes MW,  Feuersein CJ, Bass EB, Powe NR, Cooper LA. Cultural competence: A systematic review of health care provider educational interventions. Medical Care. 2005 Apr;43(4):356-73.

Beach MC, Roter D, Rubin H, Frankel R, Levinson W, Ford DE. Is physician self-disclosure related to patient evaluation of office visits? Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2004 Sep;19(9):905-10.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Courses and Syllabi

  • Genes to Society: Scholarly Concentrations, Year Two
    The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Activities & Honors


  • Levine Mentoring Award, Johns Hopkins, 2015
  • Jozien Bensing Award for Outstanding Research contributing to Effective Healthcare Communication, European Association of Communications in Healthcare (EACH), 2010
  • Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • K-08 Award, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • George Engel Award 22nd annual George L. Engel Award for Outstanding Research contributing to the Theory, Practice and Teaching of Effective Healthcare Communication and Related Skills, Academy of Communication in Healthcare

Professional Activities

  • Leadership Program for Women Faculty, Johns Hopkins, 2013
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