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Dan Shapiro, PhD



"Dr. Shapiro was amazing!!! He did a fantastic job and all of the physicians in attendance were extremely complimentary." -- Melissa Shay, St. Joseph Health System, Bryan, TX

“Shapiro is a triple threat: a psychologist who has been both a cancer patient and the spouse of a patient. He brings these perspectives to this terrifically helpful book that will assist couples as they face the challenges of serious illness. Lucid, practical, and informed by research and interviews with patients and their spouses, Shapiro provides a blueprint for managing the illness and succeeding as a couple.”— Andrew Weil, MD, author of 8 Weeks to Optimum Health and Spontaneous Happiness

Psychologist, Cancer Survivor, Physician Burnout Speaker

Dan Shapiro, Ph.D. is the Vice Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs at the Penn State College of Medicine. He is also the Garner James Kline Professor of Humanities in Medicine and the Chair of the Department of Humanities.

As Vice Dean at the Penn State College of Medicine, Dan has a long standing interest in values based leadership development and evaluation. He is responsible for disseminating values, department chair searches, department evaluations, and leadership coaching. Outside of Penn State, Dan has a boutique consulting service in which he focuses on physician burnout reduction through assessment and interventions.

Dr. Shapiro earned his Ph.D in Clinical Psychology at the University of Florida and went on to Harvard Medical School where he completed an internship and an endowed post-doctoral fellowship. His writings about the patient experience and physician patient relationships have appeared or been featured in the New York Times, the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Academic Medicine, NPR’s All Things Considered, the Today Show and was a consultant to the ABC hit television shows “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice.” He also co-starred on-camera in three television series on National Geographic, A & E, and the Discovery Channel.

Shapiro has written three books, Moms Marijuana, about his personal cancer experience, (It has now been translated into Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian) and a second memoir, Delivering Doctor Amelia, which focused on his psychological treatment of a physician. His third book, And in Health, focuses on thriving as a couple in the face of cancer was released in May, 2013 and featured in the New York Times soon after. It won a National Book Award from the Independent Book Publishers of America in 2014 (Gold Medal).

He speaks widely to groups of health professionals and patients. His talks are generally described as laugh out loud funny and moving.


Most Popular Topics:

A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to Chemotherapy

Ideal for health professionals or groups of patients, this talk has been described as laugh out loud funny and moving —  Akin to a one act play, the talk emphasizes the importance of connecting to others and hope in the face of challenging regimens — but these messages are imbedded in first person stories that appreciate the complexity of front line medicine. (30 minutes – 1 hour, depending on host preferences), no slides.


And in Health: A Seriously Funny Look at Facing Cancer as a Couple

Using examples from his clinical experience and research from his book, Shapiro describes the traps some couples facing illness fall into, and methods for maintaining a thriving relationship. (45 minutes – 1 hour) talk includes slides.


The Tinman Syndrome: Physician Burnout and Resilience

Ideal for health professionals, this funny, interactive and engaging talk uses case studies, data, and personal planning to address front-line burnout. Burnout rates continue to spike, driven by a tangle of systems issues. Unfortunately, the consequences can be serious and include reductions in safety, patient satisfaction, physician wellness and worsened turnover. Drawing on his experience as a psychologist who treated physicians and as the current Vice Dean at the Penn State College of Medicine, this talk engages participants in a solution-focused approach to recognizing symptoms and constructing resilience improvement plans.

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