Dr. John M. Kelley, professor of psychology at Endicott College, was awarded the 2018 Distinguished Professorship for his excellence in teaching, research, and service.
Dr. Kelley is also the deputy director of the Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a lecturer on medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a licensed clinical psychologist.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon. His research interests include investigating the placebo effect in medical and psychiatric disorders and understanding how the patient-clinician relationship affects healthcare outcomes in medicine and psychiatry.
The competitive selection process for the 2018 Distinguished Professorship included reviewers from Endicott as well as academic administrators from Stonehill College and Tufts University. During Dr. Kelley’s fourteen years at Endicott, he has contributed significantly to the academic life of the College through his outstanding teaching, scholarship, and service. This two-year appointment will enable him to engage fully in his scholarly activities.
Dr. Kelley shared his feelings on the recognition, “I am grateful to the College for its support of my research endeavors. I am also quite mindful of the fact that the College has a large number of incredibly accomplished scholars, each of whom also deserve such recognition. I'm sure that the selection committee had a very hard time choosing between so many gifted scholars and teachers.”
The Distinguished Professorship will allow Dr. Kelley to spend additional time developing research collaborations with his colleagues at Harvard-affiliated hospitals in Boston. “It will allow me to engage more frequently with colleagues at Harvard Medical School and its affiliated teaching hospitals, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center,” he said.
The Distinguished Professorship will allow Dr. Kelley to work more intensively on projects involving "open-label placebo and authorized concealment, both of which have the potential to help reduce medication dosages and perhaps ameliorate the opioid crisis."
Teaching at Endicott is especially unique, Dr. Kelley said, because of the close relationships both faculty and students build as a result of the small class sizes. He says that he is often involved in faculty and student collaborations on senior theses projects and research papers. He explained, “A good example of this is a recent peer-reviewed research paper that I published with my colleague in biology, Dr. Bram Lutton, and two of his students. Several years ago, Bram directed both students to me for statistical help with their senior theses. This collaboration eventually turned into a scientific publication in a professional journal.”
Dr. Kelley remains committed to excellence in teaching and said that the makings of a successful educator are curiosity and perseverance. He explained, “Curiosity is crucial because it leads us to ask questions and explore new ideas; and perseverance is vital because research and scholarship often take a long time to come to fruition.”