Core Learning Principles

The Harvard Macy Institute’s programs are designed to encourage a collegial atmosphere conducive to the exchange of ideas and the development of new knowledge, with a major focus on experiential learning and action planning. Each attendee becomes part of an interprofessional project team that collaborates on its members’ institutional projects. The programs include interactive exercises, case-based learning, reflective use of journals, expert panel discussions, and discussion in large and small groups. This core program structure, which benefits from the experience of returning scholars, is a major reason for Institute’s enduring success. For most, this is a rare opportunity to focus completely on what it means to be an educator in the healthcare professions.

A few core principles are common to each of the Institute’s programs:

  • The Institute’s emphasis on deep study, active engagement, group learning, and ample opportunity for feedback, reflection, and knowledge exchange enables program participants to make real progress on institutional change initiatives.
  • The Institute is committed to the cross-fertilization of ideas among all faculty involved in health science education. Scholars frequently cite the importance of being introduced to the diversity of perspectives on health care, education, and institutions represened by the diverse backgrounds of fellow scholars.
  • Continuing education programs should reflect the environments in which their participants live and work. Therefore the Institute encourages interprofessional collaboration between physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals.
  • Scholars are inspired to examine their own assumptions and behaviors in a new light, leading to fresh approaches to their career and their capacity as a leader of organizational change.

Each participant comes with a project and leaves with an action plan that has been guided by the course faculty and other participants, to maximize the potential for organizational change.
 
Testimonials

On the Leading Innovations Program, "I attended the meeting after having already been involved in several innovations around the development of new medical schools in 4 countries, sometimes at leadership level, and so was more experienced than some other attendees. However, I still found the meeting to be very useful. I was able to immerse myself for a week in other kinds of thinking and encouraged to consider how to translate concepts into medical education. The small group exercises allowed us to discuss the meaning of other models and theories and to merge, translate and develop potentially new ways of approaching familiar tasks. Group membership was deliberately diverse, so I was constantly having to think about things from the perspectives of different levels of experience and different health and education systems. For me the main benefit came in the weeks after the meeting, as I returned to my usual job but continued to reflect on the discussions during the meeting and thought throughways of applying what I had learned. I have since changed the way I work by increasing my focus on leading, rather than implementing, change."

Richard Hays, M.D., Dean, School of Medicine, Keele University, UK

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