Dr. Matthews practices general internal medicine in McLean, Virginia and is a staff physician in the Primary Care Division of the Virginia Hospital Center Physician Group (Arlington, VA). He conducts research and lectures nationally and internationally on the doctor-patient relationship and the psychological and spiritual dimensions of medicine, including the role of faith, religion, and prayer in clinical care and healing. He has served on the general internal medicine faculty at three medical schools: Yale University, University of Connecticut and Georgetown University. He also teaches continuing medical education courses for the Continuing Medical Education, Inc. University at Sea program. He is the author of The Faith Factor: Proof of the Healing Power of Prayer (Viking, 1998).
Dr. Matthews is a cum laude graduate of Princeton University (AB, 1976), at which he majored in Romance Languages and Literatures with a special concentration in European Civilization. He was graduated from Duke University School of Medicine in 1980, and completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Connecticut in Farmington in 1983. In the same year, he was named as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at Yale University School of Medicine. At Yale, he studied clinical epidemiology and began his research career by examining patients' perceptions of physician performance in the hospital and outpatient setting.
He joined the faculty of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington in 1985 as an Assistant Professor of Medicine. He was a co-founder of the Connecticut Chronic Fatigue Study, one of the first major longitudinal studies of this perplexing condition. In 1989, he was named the George Morris Piersol Teaching and Research Scholar of the American College of Physicians.
In 1991, he accepted a position as Chief of Internal Medicine at the Minirth-Meier and Byrd Clinic in Arlington, VA. This position offered him an opportunity to integrate his religious faith with his skills in internal medicine and psychiatry and to develop his research interest in the spiritual aspects of medicine.
In 1993, he joined the faculty of Georgetown University School of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine, where he continued to expand his clinical, teaching, and research interests. In the same year, he was named as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. In 1997, he received an Exemplary Paper in Humility Theology Award from the John Templeton Foundation.
From 1999 to 2012, he practiced general internal medicine in Washington, DC, and in 2012, he moved his practice to McLean, Virginia and joined the Primary Care Division of Virginia Hospital Center. He has received the Vitals Patients’ Choice Awards yearly from 2008-13 and Most Compassionate Doctor recognition in 2012. He has been named a Washington, DC-Baltimore-Northern Virginia Super Doctor yearly from 2011-13.
Dr. Matthews is also the author of a four-volume research work (The Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects), three documentaries (Body, Mind, and Spirit, Shall We Pray?, and Healing Hands), a annotated, videotaped lecture on religion and medicine (The FaithFactor: Is Religion Good for Your Health?), a teaching videotape on the doctor-patient relationship (Bedside Manners), and over 65 peer-reviewed scientific articles, book chapters, and other publications.
He is a member of numerous national organizations including the Christian Medical and Dental Society and the American College of Physicians. He has served on review boards for over a dozen professional journals and was the founding editor of Faith and Medicine Connection. He has been a member of several national advisory boards and committees, including the National Board of Medical Examiners, the Humility Theology Information Center of the John Templeton Foundation, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-Primary Care Version of the American Psychiatric Association, and the Bayer Institute on Health Care Communication. He was the director of the Physical Health Panel for the Scientific Progress in Spiritual Research project of the National Institute for Healthcare Research.
Dr. Matthews has lectured at over 30 medical schools across the United States and has been featured in numerous national newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Washington Post Magazine, USA Today Weekend, Hartford Courant Sunday Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, Reader's Digest, Prevention, Guideposts, Good Housekeeping, McCall’s, and Christianity Today. He has appeared on many national television and radio programs, including the Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Fox Evening News, CNN Early Prime Time, 700 Club, One-on-One with John MacLaughlin, and National Public Radio (The Diane Rehm Show and All Things Considered).
He lives in McLean, Virginia with his wife, Demetra, a certified public accountant. He has two adult children: Karen Matthews Goodman (married to Robert Goodman), and Louis Matthews (married to Michelle Matthews). He enjoys family and church activities, Bible study, golf, baseball, piano, singing, ballroom dancing, travel, and photography.
1. Matthews DA, Sledge WH, Lieberman PB. Evaluation of intern performance by medical inpatients. Am J Med. 1987;83:938-944.
2. Suchman AL, Matthews DA. What makes the doctor-patient relationship therapeutic: exploring the connexional dimension of patient care. Ann Intern Med 1988;108:25-30.
3. Matthews DA, Feinstein AR. A 'review of systems' for the personal aspects of medical care. Am J Med Sci. 1988;295:159-171.
4. Matthews DA, Classen DC, Willms JL, Cotton JD. A program to help interns cope with stresses in an internal medicine residency. J Med Educ. 1988;63:539-547.
5. Manu P, Matthews DA, Lane TJ. The mental health of patients with a chief complaint of chronic fatigue. Arch Intern Med. 1988;148:2213-2217.
6. Matthews DA, Feinstein AR. A new instrument for patients' ratings of physician performance in the hospital setting. J Gen Intern Med. 1989; 4:14-22.
7. Matthews DA. I wish I'd known she loved Chopin. Senior Patient. 1989;1:73-74.
8. Matthews DA. The secret of patient care. Society of General Internal Medicine News. 1989;12(6):1-6.
9. Matthews DA, Lane TJ, Manu P. Antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus among patients with chronic fatigue. South Med J. 1991;84:832-840.
10. Matthews DA, Manu P, Lane TJ. Evaluation and management of patients with chronic fatigue. Am J Med Sci. 1991;302:269-277.
11. Matthews DA, Suchman AL, Branch WT. Making connexions: enhancing the therapeutic potential of patient-clinician relationships. Ann Intern Med. 1993; 18:973-977.
12. Matthews DA, Larson DB, Barry CM. The Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects. Arlington, VA: National Institute for Health Care Research; 1993.
13. Matthews DA, Larson DB. The Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects, Volume Three: Enhancing Life Satisfaction. Rockville, Md: National Institute for Health Care Research; 1995.
14. Matthews DA. On being a Christian physician. Christian Med Den Soc J. 1995;26(2):14-15.
15. Matthews DA. Body, Mind, and Spirit (videotape). Nashville: Earnhardt and Co.; 1995.
16. Matthews DA. The Faith Factor (videotape). Nashville: Earnhardt and Co.; 1995.
17. Matthews DA. Shall We Pray? Examining the Medical Effects of Prayer on Rheumatoid Arthritis(videotape). Nashville: Earnhardt and Co.; 1997.
18. Matthews DA, Larson DB. Faith and medicine: reconciling the twin traditions of healing. Mind Body Med .1997; 2(3):3-6.
19. Matthews DA. Religion and spirituality in primary care. Mind Body Med. 1997; 2(3):9-19.
20. Matthews DA, Saunders DM. The Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects, Volume Four: Prevention and Treatment of Illness, Addictions, and Delinquency. Rockville, Md: National Institute for Healthcare Research; 1997.
21. Matthews DA, McCullough ME, Larson DB, Koenig HG, Swyers JP, Milano MG. Religious commitment and health: a review of the research and implications for family medicine. Arch Fam Med. 1998;7:118-124.
22. Matthews DA. Religion and spirituality in the care of patients with chronic renal failure. Dialysis and Transplantation. 1998;27(3):136-140.
23. Matthews DA, Koenig HG, Thoresen C. Friedman R. Physical Health. In: Larson DB, Swyers JP, McCullough ME, eds. Scientific Research on Spirituality and Health. Rockville, MD: National Institute for Healthcare Research; 1998.
24. Matthews DA, Clark C. The Faith Factor: Proof of the Healing Power of Prayer. New York: Viking; 1998.
25. Manu P, Matthews DA. Chronic fatigue syndrome. In: Manu P, ed. Functional Somatic Syndromes: Etiology, Diagnosis and Treatment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; 1998:8-31.
26. Matthews DA. Healing Hands: Effects of Prayer on Rheumatoid Arthritis (videotape). Nashville, TN: Earnhardt and Co.; 1999.
27. Matthews DA. Is religion good for your health? In: Stannard R, ed. God for the 21st Century. Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press; 2000:103-106.
28. Matthews, D. Prayer and spirituality. In: Panush R, ed. Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Rheumatic Diseases. Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America. 2000;26(1):177-187.
29. Matthews DA. Somatoform disorders. In Rakel RE, ed. Saunders Manual of Medical Practice. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 2000:1442-1444.
30. King DE, May HJ, McCullough ME, Matthews DA. Integrating religion and spirituality into the biopsychosocial model. In: King DE, ed. Faith, Spirituality, and Medicine: Toward the Making of the Healing Practitioner. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Pastoral Press; 2000:1-11.
31. Matthews DA, Marlowe SM, MacNutt FS. Effects of intercessory prayer on patients with rheumatoid arthritis. South Med J. 2000;93:1177-1186.
Dr. Matthews speaks on the following topics:
- The Faith Factor: Is Religion Good for Your Health?
- Shall We Pray? Proof of the Healing Power of Prayer
- Eternal Medicine: God’s Prescription for Healthy, Faithful Living
- Becoming a Peacemaker: Spiritual Treatment of Anxiety
- Prayer and Prozac: Practicing Spiritually-Sensitive Medicine
- Becoming a Healer: Enhancing Clinician-Patient Communication
Travels from District of Columbia
Contact Dr. Matthews by email
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Strengthening the Doctor-Patient-God Relationship
The physician-patient relationship is the cornerstone of medical practice, an essential ingredient in the restoration and maintenance of health. As a researcher, clinician and teacher, I have spent much of my career studying, implementing and modeling the healing effects of the physician-patient relationship, seeking to maximize its benefits in the care of patients. My first research studies at Yale University addressed patients’ perceptions of physician performance, in which I documented that patients ultimately cherish “TLC”—time, listening and caring.1-3 Patients desire and welcome treatment by doctors who show the willingness to listen to their concerns and the heart to care for them as individuals.