Harvard Macy Community Blog

Fostering the ongoing connectedness of health professions educators committed to transforming health care delivery and education.

Community Building in the Classroom by Design

The qualitative methods for global health research course at Harvard Medical School is a core course for two masters programs. This year the course welcomed students from seventeen different countries around the globe. For fourteen weeks, students gathered weekly to learn about qualitative research methods. For many of these students the opportunity to learn with and from new people, to network, and to experience different perspectives is a crucial part of their learning journey. Due to the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid transition to online learning, our teaching team made a conscious decision to make community building in the classroom a priority. Careful and thoughtful planning and a real commitment to creating a sense of community between our students became a part of each lesson plan every week.

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The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast Season 2 Episode 1: Cost and Value in Health Professions Education

The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast aims to connect our Harvard Macy Institute community and to develop our interest in health professions education topics and literature. Our podcast is hosted by our Program for Educators in the Health Professions course faculty Victoria Brazil, and will feature interviews with health professions education authors and their research papers.

Podcast S2E1 features Kieran Walsh, Clinical Director at the British Medical Journal (BMJ), discussing cost and value in health professions education.

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Using Rapid Prototyping to Establish Virtual Interprofessional Communities of Practice

How are you teaching? The question, and aptly titled teaching initiative, posed by The Michael V. Drake Institute of Teaching and Learning asks us to reflect on what discoveries about remote learning have surfaced and consider artifacts to curate and share with colleagues. What instructional strategies worked? What do you need to be successful in the virtual environment? Furthermore, what are the ways in which we are staying connected with peers and student learners? Quickly establishing communities of practice during the COVID-19 Pandemic is important. This #MedEdPearls highlights a teaching initiative leveraging an iterative rapid prototyping strategy for professional development.

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Harvard Macy: A Learning Feast, But no Picnic

The Harvard Macy Institute “Health Care Education 2.0 – Transforming Your Teaching for the Digital Age” course which I attended in October of 2019, is the most unusual continuing medical education courses I have ever taken. It was simultaneously one of the great learning experiences of my life while at the same time being just plain intense. Being of the baby boom generation, I have found myself neither knowledgeable of nor comfortable with tools now readily available for education in the digital age. I specifically chose this course to close this knowledge gap and increase my comfort level.

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Using Learning Sciences to Enhance Student Learning and Success this Year

The science of learning is an expanding field that provides direction for educators and students alike. As research in this area begins to have a greater role in health professions education, it is easy to be overwhelmed with where and how to best utilize the findings to enhance student learning. Planning for the new year, it can help us to pause and ask:

How can we as educators help students shine as learners by incorporating evidence-based strategies in our curriculum and instruction?

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Micro-teaching at the Harvard Macy Institute

As I skimmed through the Harvard Macy Program for Post-Graduate Trainees: Future Academic Clinician-Educators course materials, I became even more excited for the three-day deep dive into medical education – a rare opportunity to take a break from patient care and focus completely on developing as a clinician-educator. As I read the session titles, I eagerly downloaded the pre-reading for “Effective Feedback and a Feedback Alliance” and “Drawing Parallels: Education and Leadership.” Reflecting on my most recent rotation as Ward Senior and preparing for a year as Chief Resident, I was ready to learn new skills and refine my practices in these areas. However, not every session inspired such enthusiasm. In fact, as I looked at the afternoon of the second day, a pit formed in my stomach. “Micro-teaching? Oh no. What have I signed up for,” I feared.

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#MedEdPearls December 2020: Who Am I? The Professional Identity Formation of Physicians Under-represented in Medicine

This #MedEdPearls highlights the importance of and need to understand the Professional Identify Formation (PIF) of physicians considered to be under-represented in medicine (URM) as supported by in the article Whispers and Shadows: A critical review of the professional identity literature with respect to minority physicians by Tasha Wyatt and colleagues. Dr. Wyatt first presented on this topic at the 2019 Generalists in Medical Education conference via an Ignite session which exposed the gap in the current PIF literature and the need to illuminate race and ethnicity as it relates to PIF.

 

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The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast #8: Leadership and Change – Reflections on the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast aims to connect our Harvard Macy Institute community and to develop our interest in health professions education topics and literature. Our podcast is hosted by our Program for Educators in the Health Professions course faculty Victoria Brazil, and will feature interviews with health professions education authors and their research papers.

Podcast #8 was recorded live at the October 2020 Program for Educators in the Health Professions. It features Peter Waters (Chief of Orthopedic Surgery) and Peter Weinstock (Director, SIMPeds) discussing their approach to leading change in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic at Boston Children’s Hospital.

 

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Debt of Gratitude

As we usher in our season of Thanksgiving and prepare for the upcoming holidays in New England we give special thanks to our global community of healthcare providers and educators who have overcome extraordinary challenges while implementing innovations to care for societies worldwide and to educate the next generation of professionals in healthcare during the pandemic.
We owe you all a very special debt of gratitude.


Please enjoy the much deserved time with your families.

 

From the HMI team

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#MedEdPearl November 2020; Coaching in Graduate Medical Education

Mentoring, coaching, and sponsoring are terms sometimes used interchangeably and often performed fluidly without role identification. This blogpost focuses specifically on the role of coaching in medical education.

The business leadership world has inspired medical educators to introduce coaching into the academic arena. Coaching best practices have been developed and disseminated for undergraduate and graduate medical trainees. Coaching has also been described as an important need for faculty in continuing professional development.

 

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Personal Protective Equipment vs Empathy: How to Defeat the Barriers

For those of us working in healthcare, we know that empathy is a fundamental part of our everyday labor. Being able to read and even feel patients’ emotions, and adequately respond to them, is sometimes as important as being able to give patients a correct diagnosis. We also know that being empathetic sometimes entails major challenges, since it can be difficult to relate and understand someone culturally, physically, or generationally different from us. Furthermore, living in the current COVID-19 era we all share an added challenge that threatens empathy and rapport: personal protective equipment (PPE). Health care providers are now wearing a large number of PPE, which clearly obstructs our human relations. How can we respond to our patients’ emotions in an empathic way if we are covered in PPE? How can we show them our empathy? The E.M.P.A.T.H.Y.® acronym and effective verbal communication may be of help. 

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Together, When Apart

On March 6th 2020, I wished our first year medical students good luck on their Physiology exam, and told them I hoped I would see them on Monday. Alas, on March 8th, the dreaded (but expected) email arrived. Due to COVID19, all in person classes were suspended immediately. With one day's notice, and with no preparation, we all moved to a world of Zoom. 

As course director, I quickly learned the basic features of Zoom, created meeting links, and began to lecture and facilitate small groups from my apartment. That, it turned out, was the easy part.  It soon became clear that there was a much bigger need to address: the mental health and well-being of our students. For many, class time is an integral part of their social life and gives their day purpose and structure. Now, as they were sheltering in place, with many returning to homes across the country, they were far removed from their study buddies and the camaraderie that infuses a medical school class. Moving lectures online is a matter of technology. How do we replace the “we’re all in this together” spirit of the lecture hall and small group room?

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October 2020 #MedEdPearls: Embracing the Power of Mentored Peer Review

Peer review of articles submitted to journals is the standard for determining the value of scientific scholarship for publication. As trained faculty and educators, it is part of our professional development and contribution to our scientific community to engage in peer review. However, the experience can be intimidating, isolating, and time consuming, especially when completed by an individual reviewer. Moreover, trainees or junior faculty may eschew peer review opportunities for lack of prior experience or feelings that they do not have the skills or preparation to complete a peer review independently.

 

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The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast #7: Systems of Assessment in Educational Settings

The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast aims to connect our Harvard Macy Institute community and to develop our interest in health professions education topics and literature. Our podcast is hosted by our Program for Educators in the Health Professions course faculty Victoria Brazil, and will feature interviews with health professions education authors and their research papers.

Podcast #7 explores systems of assessment. John Norcini joins host Victoria Brazil to discuss his article - What’s Next? Developing Systems of Assessment for Educational Settings. John is a senior faculty for the Harvard Macy Institute program A Systems Approach to Assessment in Health Professions Education, and this podcast is a complement to the upcoming virtual program in October.

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The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast: Learning Strategies for Health Professions – Is There a Gap from Evidence to Practice?

The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast aims to connect our Harvard Macy Institute community and to develop our interest in health professions education topics and literature. Our podcast is hosted by our Program for Educators in the Health Professions course faculty Victoria Brazil, and will feature interviews with health professions education authors and their research papers.

Podcast #6 explores evidenced based learning strategies – and whether learners and teachers practice them. Felipe Piza is first author of an article in Medical Teacher looking at this issue. He joins host Victoria Brazil and his research mentor and Harvard Macy Institute Program for Educators in Health Professions co-director Holly Gooding to discuss. 

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Designing Programmatic Assessment Structures to Support Learning

Among the myriad disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, medical educators are thinking about how they can ensure students moving through adapted curricula are progressing appropriately, and are motivated as they learn in this new environment. We recently published a 12-tips article: Twelve tips for embedding assessment for and as learning practices in a programmatic assessment system. This paper provides practical advice for schools to consider to help students learn from assessments and to learn with the goal of becoming excellent physicians. We encourage educational leaders and students to utilize evidence-based assessment practices to support these learning goals.

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Hematology Oncology Collaborative Videoconferencing (Heme/Onc COVID) Learning Initiative: Unleashing the Potential of Trainees as Leaders in Medical Education

Arriving on the US west coast in January of 2020, the SARS-CoV2 pandemic impacted all aspects of life, including medical practice and education. Medical trainees were among the first to assume roles of direct and consultative care providers for patients suffering from SARS-CoV2. At the same time, structured in-person didactics - a cornerstone of medical education and trainee development - were placed on hold. Standard educational models struggled to overcome the challenges imposed by Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations on social distancing. This was compounded by frequently changing provider schedules due to continually evolving patient, hospital, and community needs. This new environment fostered feelings of isolation and fear of the unknown among trainees who were on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19. In this setting, a clear need arose for a novel shared medical education platform capable of rapidly disseminating SARS-CoV2 content rooted in cross-disciplinary medical expertise.

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September 2020 MedEdPearls: 10 Habits for Career Success in Health Professions Education

The start of the academic year is the perfect time to re-evaluate and re-scope our career goals. Work on one of the following tasks every month throughout the school year, or use them as a guide to engage with a peer mentoring group to push everyone further, faster.

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Using online learning to prepare medical students for USMLE and beyond

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, fourth year medical students were in the process of preparing for their USMLE step 2CK exam. At this stage, usually they would also be in a clinical rotation with required patient experiences, and beginning applications for their residencies. Instead, they were all at home self-isolating while studying and dealing with much uncertainty.

At the University of Central Florida, College of Medicine (UCF COM), we offered an elective for three blocks over the Summer to assist them in prepping them for their exam. This served as an opportunity to encourage self-regulated learning and foster an online environment which nurtures dual communication, support, and encouragement. Below are some techniques which we found to be successful in navigating an online learning environment.

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Defining a Framework for Health Science Education Innovation

Over the past several months, we have seen how innovation in health science education (HSE) plays a critical role in health and science discovery as our community continues to address challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, many of our colleagues have demonstrated the courage to take risks, experiment, fail, and try again—often resulting in an improvement on their original ideas. HSE innovation moves us beyond the common, incremental changes and quality improvement initiatives commonly seen within our organizations. To continue advancing health and science through education innovation, it is important to define a framework that helps us better understand what HSE innovation means. 

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