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OB Lepisto Brenda faculty

Brenda Lovegrove Lepisto


  • Assistant Professor, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
  • Director of Psychosocial Communication, Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency Program at Hurley Medical Center, Flint, Mich.
  • Clinical Psychologist

After a full-time career as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice while teaching part-time at Hurley Medical Center, Dr. Lepisto recently made a career change to join Hurley full time. She is a faculty member of the American Academy for Communication in Healthcare, where she teaches relationship-centered communication workshops nationally for physicians of various specialties. She feels passionate about resident-physician teaching.


  • Doctoral Degree: Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) Central Michigan University (CMU), Mount Pleasant, Mich.
  • Clinical Internship: The Devereux Foundation, Villanova, Pa.
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Child Clinical Psychology, Michigan State University/Hurley Medical Center/The Donald Whaley Children’s Center, Flint, Mich.
  • Fellowship: Michigan Council for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (MCPP) (formerly called Michigan Psychoanalytic Council), Psychoanalysis – Adults, Ann Arbor and East Lansing, Mich.
  • Fellowship: MCPP, Psychoanalysis – Children, Ann Arbor and East Lansing, Mich.
  • Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, CMU, Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology, CMU, Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

Psychosocial Communication Training

As director psychosocial communication in the Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency Program at Hurley, Dr. Lepisto trains residents in interviewing, communication and psychosocial topics. After residents undergo training in communication and interviewing, they practice the newly acquired skills and receive feedback in a one-to-one setting. Psychosocial-, patient-experience- and communication-training topics include patient-centered interviewing, communicating bad news, cultural competency, motivational interviewing, and shared decision-making, as well as other subjects.

Scholarly Activity

  • Ongoing research on burnout, fatigue and depression among resident physicians
  • Co-author, “Smith’s Guide to Patient-Centered Interviewing: An Evidence-Based Method,” 4th edition, McGraw-Hill Education (in progress)
  • $5000 grant from Norman Kagan Endowment for Graduate and Professional Studies, Michigan State University, East Lansing, for: “Burnout, Depression and Empathy in Resident Physicians: Are They Related to Patient Perceptions of Empathy?”
  • Recent publications, presentations and workshops: Resident- and faculty-physician knowledge, attitudes and experiences related to lead; technology, tweens and treatment; play interventions for children; evidence-based methods for patient-centered interviewing; communicating bad news to patients; empathy in the medical profession; resistance in child psychotherapy; failure to meet challenges of late adolescence; treatment of severely traumatized children; assessing physician communication and interpersonal behaviors.

Dr. Lepisto’s professional interests include all aspects of communication and psychosocial issues in medicine, with special emphasis in teaching and training faculty and residents in patient communication skills. She is the principal investigator of a study investigating resident physician burnout, depression and empathy in relation to patients’ perception of physician empathy. In addition to medical and educational activities, she enjoys spending time with her husband, children, grandchildren and two cats: Nahla, an ocicat, and Kimba, Abyssinian. She pursues scuba diving every chance she has. Other hobbies include studying animal behavior, nature, knitting, walking, sewing, needlework, reading and, most recently, drawing, using colored pencils.


  • Curriculum Development, Office of Medical Education, Research and Development, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing, Mich.
  • Registered Play Therapist, Supervisor, Association for Play Therapy, Clovis, Calif.
  • Child Psychoanalysis Certification, The Michigan Psychoanalytic Council, Ypsilanti, Mich.
  • Psychoanalysis Certification, The Michigan Psychoanalytic Council, Ypsilanti, Mich.