Applying Positive Psychology to Health Care &  Health Care Education



Too many amazing healthcare professionals are suffering.  

Burnout, exhaustion, failures of teams, poor communication and organizational conflict.  It doesn't have to be that way.

It's all about mattering.  

It is my goal to help clinicians remember how much they matter.

To their patients & to each other.

Interprofessional Education & Collaborative Practice

Optimal healthcare is provided by collaborative teams of professionals.  When providers don't work together, the impact may be felt by both the patient and the team members. 

Teamwork skills & an understanding of the synergy of complementary roles are essential to collaborative practice. 

My work in interprofessional education focuses on recognizing the barriers to effective communication and providing strategies to move past them. 



Dr. Haizlip is Clinical Professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing and Faculty in the University of Virginia School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics. She is board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Critical Care. She completed medical school and residency at the University of North Carolina and did her pediatric critical care training at the University of Utah. 

In addition to her training as a Pediatric Critical Care physician, Dr. Haizlip has also earned a Master of Applied Positive Psychology degree at the University of Pennsylvania. She has published and presented internationally on using applications of positive psychology to create culture change in academic health care. Her article entitled “The Negativity Bias, medical education, and the culture of academic medicine: Why culture change is hard” earned her and her co-authors the ABIM Foundation Professionalism Article Prize. She has been a faculty member of the UVA Center for Appreciative Practice since its inception and became Director in 2016.  

She is actively involved in clinical, teaching and research activities that promote collaborative education and practice in health care. As Co-Director of the Center for Academic Strategic Partnerships for Interprofessional Research and Education (ASPIRE), her projects include the exploration of professional mattering, development of the No Room for Error simulation that emphasizes the importance of collaborative care for patient safety, and involvement in the Train-the-Trainer Faculty Development Program course for Interprofessional Education. 


Dr. Haizlip’s professional goal is to integrate her interests in positive psychology and interprofessional healthcare to promote high functioning health care teams for the benefit of both practitioners and patients. 




2014 - present

As a professor at the University of Virginia, I have the privilege to work with ambitious students pursuing graduate degrees in Advanced Practice Nursing.  My teaching interests include pharmacology and pediatrics.

UVA School of Nursing Website



2003 - present

After more than a decade of practicing Pediatric Critical Care and Pediatric Sedation, I decided to step away from the PICU to pursue my passions.  I maintain a practice with our Pediatric Sedation service so that I can serve children and their families & maintain relationships with my wonderful colleagues in Pediatrics.

UVA Department of Pediatrics Website


 2013 - Present

The UVA Center for Interprofessional Collaborations (CIPC)  - formerly the Center for Academic Strategic Partnerships for Interprofessional Research and Education (ASPIRE)  strives to enhance inter- professional education and collaborative practice in healthcare.  My expertise is in Team Dynamics and Effective Team Communication. 

UVA Center for Interprofessional Collaborations Website

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2007 - Present

My colleagues and I in the Center for Appreciative Practice work to promote positive culture change in health care.  Through the use of everyday appreciative practices (reframing, assuming positive intent) and formal summits using Appreciative Inquiry, we strive to remind our colleagues of the many things that are going well in our lives & our work.

UVA Center for Appreciative Practice Website



View full CV here

Perspective: The Negativity Bias, Medical Education, & the Culture of Academic Medicine: Why Culture Change is Hard

Haizlip J, May N, Schorling J, Williams A, Plews-Ogan M.  Academic Medicine  2012: 87, 1205-1209

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182628f03

The culture of academic medicine is still problematic despite ongoing efforts to improve working conditions, to promote well-being in clinicians and to enhance professionalism.  We argue that the evolutionary negativity bias in serially reinforced in medical education and that interventions based in positive psychology may help create desired culture change.

Appreciative inquiry in healthcare: Positive questions to bring out the best.

May N, Becker D, Frankel R, Haizlip J, Harmon R, Plews-Ogan M, Schorling J, Williams A, Whitney D. 2011 Brunswick, OH: Crown Custom Publishing.

ISBN-13: 978-1933403236

ISBN-10: 1933403233


Finding Our Positive Emotion

Haizlip JA & Plews-Ogan M. In M. Plews- Ogan & G. Beyt. (Eds.) Wisdom leadership in academic health science centers: Leading positive change. 2014: p.135-157.  London: Radcliffe Publishing, Ltd.

ISBN-13: 978-1846195716

ISBN-10: 1846195713

Crop_Wisdom Leader Plews-Ogan Beyt sqr.j

Interprofessional Education and Practice Guide No. 2. Developing & Implementing a Center for Interprofessional Education

Brashers V, Owen J, Haizlip, J. Journal of Interprofessional Care. 2015: 29, 95-99.


This article details lessons learned as we created our Center for Interprofessional Education at the University of Virginia. 



My colleagues* and I are exploring the construct of MATTERING in healthcare.  Mattering was first defined by Rosenberg and McCullough and is used to describe the perception that one is significant in the lives of others and is important in the world.   Since the desire to impact the lives of others is integral to professional identities of health professionals, it stands to reason that a sense of mattering is critical to our professional satisfaction.  Psychologists have demonstrated that mattering is associated with enhanced personal well-being.  We hypothesize that if we can understand what makes clinicians feel like they matter, we may be able to positively impact the epidemic of burnout in physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers.

* Courtney McCluney, Morela Hernandez, Beth Quatrara & Natalie May