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Walter F. Baile

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Professor, Department of Behavioral Science, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Director, Program for Interpersonal Communication And Relationship Enhancement (I*CARE), Faculty Development, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Dual/Joint/Adjunct Appointment

Professor, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Bio Statement

Dr. Walter Baile is Professor of Behavioral Science and Psychiatry and Director of the Interpersonal Communication And Relationship Enhancement (I*CARE) program in the Department of Faculty Development. In addition to being a practicing psychiatrist, he heads up the I*CARE educational effort within the Division of Academic Affairs. This consists of the development and dissemination of programs promoting competency in clinician patient communication, conflict resolution and mentoring. Specific activities directed toward this goal include a video based website (, a lecture series for fellows on Professionalism and Communication skills and hands on workshops for faculty, fellows and oncology staff. He has been involved on a national level in NCI funded programs in teaching communication skills (Oncotalk and Oncotalk Teach) and the International level, training physicians and other staff in communication skills notably in Italy, Germany and Portugal. He has presented and published widely in the area of clinician patient communication.  Video presentations on his I*CARE website received 2010 “People’s Telly Award” in three categories: education, training and the highest honor which is the silver People's Telly Award.  It also received the 2012 eHealthcare Leadership Award for Best Healthcare Content in the subcategory of Physician/Clinician Focused Site. Dr. Baile is also recipient of the 2010 Lynn Payer award given for Outstanding Contributions to the Literature on the Theory, Practice and Teaching of Effective Health Care Communication and Related Skills by the American Association of Communication in Healthcare and co-recipient of the 2012 John P. McGovern Award for Excellence in Biomedical Communication presented by American Medical Writers Association.  Additionally, Dr. Baile recently received the title of University of Texas Distinguished Teaching Professor in recognition of outstanding contributions to education and his election to the UT Academy of Health Science Education.


Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

1972 University of Pavia School of Medicine, Pavia, Pavia, Italy, MD, cum laude, Doctor of Medicine
1966 St. Peter's College, Jersey City, NJ, BA, Psychology

Honors and Awards

2012 eHealthcare Leadership Award
2012 John P. McGovern Award Recipient for Excellence in Biomedical Communication, American Medical Writers Association
2010-present Elected member, University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education
2010 Lynn Payer Award, American Association of Communication in Healthcare (AACH)

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Walters R, Baile WF. Training Oncology Professionals in Key Communication Skills: Adapting Psychodrama and Sociodrama for Experiential Learning. Journal of Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy 62(1):55-56, 2014.
2. Baile WF, Walters R. Applying Sociodramatic Methods in Teaching Transition to Palliative Care. J Pain Symptom Manage 45(3):606-19, 2013. PMID: 22889858.
3. Epner DE, Baile WF. Patient-centered care: the key to cultural competence. Ann Oncol 23 Suppl 3:33-42, 2012. PMID: 22628414.
4. Baile WF, De Panfilis L, Tanzi S, Moroni M, Walters R, Biasco G. Using Sociodrama and Psychodrama to Teach Communication in End of Life Care. J Palliat Med 15(9):1006-10, 2012. PMID: 22799884.
5. McHenry M, Parker PA, Baile WF, Lenzi R. Voice analysis during bad news discussion in oncology: reduced pitch, decreased speaking rate, and nonverbal communication of empathy. Support Care Cancer 20(5):1073-8, 2012. PMID: 21573770.
6. Baile WF, Palmer JL, Bruera E, Parker PA. Assessment of palliative care cancer patients' most important concerns. Support Care Cancer 19(4):475-81, 2011. PMID: 20401497.
7. Lenzi R, Baile WF, Costantini A, Grassi L, Parker PA. Communication training in oncology: results of intensive communication workshops for Italian oncologists. Eur J Cancer Care (Engl) 20(2):196-203, 2011. PMID: 20477861.
8. Baile WF. Personality disorders in the clinical setting. J Support Oncol 9(2):52, 2011. PMID: 21542409.
9. Baile WF. Training oncology practitioners in communication skills. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 33 Suppl 2:S115-22, 2011. PMID: 21952567.
10. Back AL, Trinidad SB, Hopley EK, Arnold RM, Baile WF, Edwards KA. What patients value when oncologists give news of cancer recurrence: commentary on specific moments in audio-recorded conversations. Oncologist 16(3):342-50, 2011. PMID: 21349951.
11. Epner DE, Ravi V, Baile WF. When patients and families feel abandoned. Support Care Cancer 19(11):1713-7, 2011. PMID: 20853170.
12. Epner DE, Baile WF. Wooden's pyramid: building a hierarchy of skills for successful communication. Med Teach 33(1):39-43, 2011. PMID: 21182381.
13. Parker PA, Ross AC, Polansky MN, Palmer JL, Rodriguez MA, Baile WF. Communicating with Cancer Patients: What Areas do Physician Assistants Find Most Challenging? J Cancer Educ 25(4):524-529, 2010. PMID: 20383673.
14. Back AL, Arnold RM, Tulsky JA, Baile WF, Edwards K. "Could I add something?": Teaching communication by intervening in real time during a clinical encounter. Acad Med 85(6):1048-51, 2010. PMID: 20505408.
15. West HF, Baile WF. Tell me what you understand: The importance of checking for patient understanding. J Support Oncol 8(5):216-8, 2010. PMID: 21086880.
16. Back AL, Arnold RM, Baile WF, Edwards KA, Tulsky JA. When praise is worth considering in a difficult conversation. Lancet 376(9744):866-7, 2010. PMID: 20842769.
17. Parker PA, Aaron J, Baile WF. Breast cancer: Unique communication challenges and strategies to address them. Breast J 15(1):69-75, 2009. PMID: 19120379.
18. Costantini A, Picardi A, Zilli M, Cairoli F, Torta R, Marchetti P, Baile W, Iacobelli S. Discussion about switch strategy in the adjuvant hormonal therapy of breast cancer: psychological aspects of physician-patient communication. Ann Oncol 20:1647-52, 2009. PMID: 19487489.
19. Back AL, Arnold RM, Baile WF, Tulsky JA, Barley GE, Pea RD, Fryer-Edwards KA. Faculty development to change the paradigm of communication skills teaching in oncology. J Clin Oncol 27(7):1137-41, 2009. PMID: 19171703.
20. Back AL, Arnold RM, Baile WF, Tulsky JA, Fryer-Edwards K. Humanism in oncology. What makes education in communication transformative? J Cancer Educ 24(2):160-2, 2009. PMCID: PMC2697957.
21. Costantini A, Baile WF, Lenzi R, Costantini M, Ziparo V, Marchetti P, Grassi L. Overcoming cultural barriers to giving bad news: feasibility of training to promote truth-telling to cancer patients. J Cancer Educ 24(3):180-5, 2009. PMID: 19526404.
22. Baile WF. Alcohol and nicotine dependency in patients with head and neck cancer. J Support Oncol 6(4):165-6, 2008. PMID: 18491684.
23. Kuerer HM, Breslin T, Shanafelt TD, Baile WF, Crawford W, Balch CM. Road map for maintaining career satisfaction and balance in surgical oncology. J Am Coll Surg 207(3):435-442, 2008. PMID: 18722950.
24. Kuerer HM, Eberlein TJ, Pollock RE, Huschka M, Baile WF, Morrow M, Michelassi F, Singletary SE, Novotny P, Sloan J, Shanafelt TD. Career satisfaction, practice patterns and burnout among surgical oncologists: report on the quality of life of members of the Society of Surgical Oncology. Ann Surg Oncol 14(11):3043-53, 2007. PMID: 17828575.
25. Back AL, Arnold RM, Baile WF, Fryer-Edwards KA, Alexander SC, Barley GE, Gooley TA, Tulsky JA. Efficacy of communication skills training for giving bad news and discussing transitions to palliative care. Arch Intern Med 167(5):453-60, 2007. PMID: 17353492.
26. Fujimori M, Parker PA, Akechi T, Sakano Y, Baile WF, Uchitomi Y. Japanese cancer patients' communication style preferences when receiving bad news. Psychooncology 16(7):617-25, 2007. PMID: 17006968.
27. Buckman R, Baile W. Truth telling: Yes, but how? J Clin Oncol 25(21):3181; author reply 3181, 2007. PMID: 17634501.
28. Baile WF, Buckman R, Schapira L, Parker PA. Breaking bad news: More than just guidelines. J Clin Oncol 24(19):3217; author reply 3217-8, 2006. PMID: 16809746.
29. Wright KB, Ware J, Parker PA, Bylund C, Query L. Jr, Baile WF. Medical student perceptions of communication skills training and knowledge of basic provider-patient communication skills: A comparison of first-year and fourth-year medical students. Medical Education Online 11:1-10, 2006.
30. Fryer-Edwards K, Arnold RM, Baile W, Tulsky JA, Petracca F, Back A. Reflective teaching practices: An approach to teaching communication skills in a small-group setting. Acad Med 81(7):638-44, 2006. PMID: 16799286.
31. Cinciripini PM, Robinson JD, Carter BL, Lam C, Wu X, de Moor CA, Baile WF, Wetter DW. The effects of smoking deprivation and nicotine administration on emotional reactivity. Nicotine Tob Res 8(3):379-92, 2006. PMID: 16801296.
32. Grassi L, Travado L, Gil F, Campos R, Lluch P, Baile W. A communication intervention for training southern European oncologists to recognize psychosocial morbidity in cancer. I--development of the model and preliminary results on physicians' satisfaction. J Cancer Educ 20(2):79-84, 2005. PMID: 16083370.
33. Feldman-Stewart D, Brundage MD, Tishelman C and the SCRN Communication Team (Hack T, Degner L, Baile W, Bultz B, Butler L, Carlson L, Davison J, Parker PA & Thorne S). A conceptual framework for patient-professional communication: An application to the cancer context. Psycho-Oncology 14(10):801-9, 2005. PMID: 16200514.
34. Back AL, Arnold RM, Baile WF, Tulsky JA, Fryer-Edwards K. Approaching difficult communication tasks in oncology. CA Cancer J Clin 55(3):164-77, 2005. PMID: 15890639.
35. Roberts C, Benjamin H, Chen L, Gavigan M, Gesme DH, McCarthy P, Samuels RJ, Baile WF. Assessing communication between oncology professionals and their patients. J Cancer Educ 20(2):113-8, 2005. PMID: 16083376.
36. Cinciripini PM, Tsoh JY, Wetter DW, Lam C, de Moor C, Cinciripini L, Baile W, Anderson C, Minna JD. Combined effects of venlafaxine, nicotine replacement, and brief counseling on smoking cessation. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 13(4):282-92, 2005. PMID: 16366758.
37. Lenzi R, Baile WF, Berek J, Back A, Buckman R, Cohen L, Parker PA. Design, conduct and evaluation of a communication course for oncology fellows. J Cancer Educ 20(3):143-9, 2005. PMID: 16122361.
38. Butler L, Degner L, Baile W, Landry M and the SCRN Communication Team (Hack T, Brundage M, Bultz B, Carlson L, Davison J, Feldman-Stewart D, Parker PA, Tishelman C & Thorne S). Developing communication competency in the context of cancer: A critical interpretive analysis of provider training programs. Psycho-Oncology 14(10):861-72; discussion 873-4, 2005. PMID: 16200525.
39. Thorne SE, Bultz BD, Baile WF and the SCRN Communication Team (Hack T, Degner L, Brundage M, Butler L, Carlson L, Davison J, Feldman-Stewart D, Parker PA & Tishelman C). Is there a cost to poor communication in cancer care?: A critical review of the literature. Psycho-Oncology 14(10):875-84; discussion 885-6, 2005. PMID: 16200515.
40. Back AL, Arnold RM, Tulsky JA, Baile WF, Fryer-Edwards KA. On saying goodbye: Acknowledging the end of the patient-physician relationship with patients who are near death. Ann Intern Med 142(8):682-5, 2005. PMID: 15838086.
41. Baile WF, Aaron J. Patient-physician communication in oncology: Past, present, and future. Curr Opin Oncol 17(4):331-5, 2005. PMID: 15933462.
42. Carlson LE, Feldman-Stewart D, Tishelman C, Brundage MD, Brundage MD and SCRN Communication Team (Hack T, Degner L, Baile W, Bultz B, Butler L, Davison J, Parker PA & Thorne S). Patient-professional communication research in cancer: An integrative review of research methods in the context of a conceptual framework. Psycho-Oncology 14(10):812-28, 2005. PMID: 16200512.
43. Gritz ER, Peterson SK, Vernon SW, Marani SK, Baile WF, Watts BG, Amos CI, Frazier ML, Lynch PM. Psychological impact of genetic testing for hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer. J Clin Oncol 23(9):1902-10, 2005. PMID: 15774782.
44. Beale EA, Baile WF, Aaron J. Silence is not golden: communicating with children dying from cancer. J Clin Oncol 23(15):3629-31, 2005. PMID: 15908676.
45. Hack TF, Degner LF, Parker PA and the SCRN Communication Team (Baile W, Brundage M, Bultz B, Butler L, Carlson L, Davison J, Feldman-Stewart D, Thorne S & Tishelman C). The communication goals and needs of cancer patients: A review. Psycho-Oncology 14(10):831-45, 2005. PMID: 16200519.
46. Parker PA, Davison BJ, Tishelman C, Brundage MD, Brundage MD and the SCRN Communication Team (Hack T, Degner L, Baile W, Bultz B, Butler L, Carlson L, Feldman-Stewart D & Thorne S). What do we know about facilitating patient communication in the cancer care setting? Psycho-Oncology 14(10):848-58, 2005. PMID: 16200511.
47. Hoffman M, Ferri J, Sison C, Roter D, Schapira L, Baile W. Teaching communication skills: An AACE survey of oncology training programs. J Cancer Educ 19(4):220-4, 2004. PMID: 15725639.
48. Baile WF, Shapira L. AACE Launches a new section of cancer communication. J Cancer Educ 18(4):180-1, 2003. PMID: 14959762.
49. Sivesind D, Parker PA, Cohen L, Demoor C, Bumbaugh M, Throckmorton T, Volker DL, Baile WF. Communicating with patients in cancer care: What areas do nurses find most challenging? J Cancer Educ 18(4):202-9, 2003. PMID: 14766330.
50. Back A, Baile W. Communication skills: Myths, realities and new developments. J Support Oncol 1(3):169-171, 2003. PMID: 15334873.
51. Peterson SK, Watts BG, Koehly LM, Vernon SW, Baile WF, Kohlmann WK, Gritz ER. How families communicate about HNPCC genetic testing: findings from a qualitative study. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet 119(1):78-86, 2003. PMID: 12704641.
52. Cohen L, Baile WF, Henninger E, Agarwal SK, Kudelka AP, Lenzi R, Sterner J, Marshall GD. Physiological and psychological effects of delivering medical news using a simulated physician-patient scenario. J Behav Med 26(5):459-71, 2003. PMID: 14593853.
53. Back AL, Arnold RM, Tulsky JA, Baile WF, Fryer-Edwards KA. Teaching communication skills to medical oncology fellows. J Clin Oncol 21(12):2433-6, 2003. PMID: 12805343.
54. Baile WF, Lenzi R, Parker PA, Buckman R, Cohen L. Oncologists' attitudes toward and practices in giving bad news: An exploratory study. J Clin Oncol 20(8):2189-96, 2002. PMID: 11956281.
55. Parker PA, Baile WF, de Moor C, Lenzi R, Kudelka AP, Cohen L. Breaking bad news about cancer: Patients' preferences for communication. J Clin Oncol 19(7):2049-56, 2001. PMID: 11283138.
56. Baile WF, Beale EA. Giving bad news to cancer patients: Matching process and content. J Clin Oncol 19(9):2575-77, 2001. PMID: 11331340.
57. Baile WF, Buckman R, Lenzi R, Glober G, Beale EA, Kudelka AP. SPIKES-A six-step protocol for delivering bad news: Application to the patient with cancer. The Oncologist 5(4):302-11, 2000. PMID: 10964998.


1. Baile W, Kirkwood C, Buckman R. I*CARE-Promoting Communication Skills Teaching and Research in a Comprehensive Cancer Center. Psycho-Oncology 18(Supplement 2-S1-S330):S77, 2009.
2. Parker PA, Baile W, Cohen l, Abbruzzese J, Varadhachary G, Ho L, LaPushin T, Dayao P, Lenzi R. Illness uncertainty, sense of coherence, and psychosocial adjustment in patients with pancreatic cancer. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 37(Supplement):51, 2009.
3. Parker P, Baile W, Ross A, Polansky M, Palmer L. Communicating with cancer patients; What physician assistants report as their most challenging encounters. Psycho-Oncology 17(S32), 2008.
4. Baile W. Communication basic concept applicable in advanced cancer care. Abstract #48N. Annals of Oncology 19(Supplement/8-viii36), 2008.
5. Parker P, Baile W, Cohen L, LaPushin T, Dayao P, Vu L, Lenzi R. Communication during oncology visits: do patients and physicians agree?. Medical Encounter 21(4):52, 2008.
6. Baile WF, Costantini A, Grassi L, Costantini M, Lenzi R. Communication skills training for Italian oncology program directors: Cultural challenges. Medical Encounter 21(4):124-125, 2008.

Book Chapters

1. Baile WF, Parker PA. Breaking Bad News. In: Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care. Ed(s) Kissane DW, Bultz BD, Butow P, Finlay I, 101-112, 2010. ISBN: 13: 9780199238361.
2. Baile WF, Dominici L. Communicating a Breast Cancer Diagnosis. In: Kuerer's Breast Surgical Oncology. Ed(s) HM Kuerer. McGraw-Hill: New York, NY, 147-152, 2010.
3. Gritz R, Apted J, W Baile, Sazama K, Thomas G. A Model for Designing and Developing a Faculty Health Program: The M. D. Anderson Experience. In: Faculty Heath in Academic Medicine: Physicians, Scientists, and the Pressures of Success. Ed(s) TR Cole, TJ Goodrich, ER Gritz. Humana Press: Totowa, NJ, 167-182, 2009. ISBN: 978-1-60327-450-0.
4. Rao A, Parker AP, W Baile. Conflict Resolution in an Academic Medical Center: The Ombuds Office. In: Faculty Heath in Academic Medicine: Physicians, Scientists, and the Pressures of Success. Ed(s) Cole TR, Goodrich TJ, Gritz ER. Humana Press: Totowa, NJ, 205-222, 2009. ISBN: 978-1-60327-450-0.
5. Baile WF, Aaron J, Parker PA. Practitioner-Patient Communication in Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment. In: Hand Book of Cancer Control and Behavioral Science: A Resource for Researchers, Practitioners, and Policymakers. V, 1st. Ed(s) MM Miller, DJ Bowen, RT Croyle, JH Rowland. American Psychological Association: Washington, DC, 327-346, 2008. ISBN: 13: 978-1-4338-0358-1.

Manuals, Teaching Aids, Other Teaching Publications

1. Baile WF, Buckman R. On Being an Oncologist: Reflections on the Personal Dimensions of Clinical Oncology. A Workbook Companion to the Video Presentation by Megan Cole and William Hurt, 2nd. The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center: Houston, 2009.
2. Buckman R. Baile WF. Error Disclosure (Video). The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Medical Staff Resources website: Houston, 2007.
3. Buckman R, Baile WF. Mini-Com: A Short Course in Communication Skills in Oncology. Video. The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center: Houston, 2007.

Grant & Contract Support

Title: Virtual reality in genetics counseling
Funding Source: Institutional Research Grant (IRG)
Role: Co-Investigator
Duration: 6/25/2009 - 12/21/2011
Title: Training oncology faculty to teach communication skills
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Role: Principal Investigator-MDACC
Principal Investigator: Back (University of Washington)
Duration: 7/1/2006 - 6/30/2011

Last updated: 2/11/2015