Harvard Macy Community Blog

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

Finding and Defining Your Legacy

As an undergraduate student at Louisiana State University, I was acknowledged for outstanding humanitarian services in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which encouraged me to continue to work towards supporting, motivating and encouraging others to pursue their dreams and careers.  

As a graduate student, I enrolled in a required course entitled, “Time Management.” I was a little disturbed at having to take such a course with all of the more important courses I felt I should spend my time completing. However, this course turned out to me the most impactful courses I have ever taken. I thought the course would teach me how to manage my time to be a more effective student and future professional. Additionally, I devoted the semester to reading and applying information about the type of legacy I would leave and how I would impact the people in my life and the world around me. I would spend hours thinking about the different roles I possess, such as a sister, a daughter, a mother, and an aunt.

Our assignments and class discussions were always so rich and reflective. We had to ponder what we want our legacy to be and think strategically how we could accomplish these goals. For many years I grappled with my legacy, until 2014 when I made a career change in order to move back to Louisiana from Iowa where I was employed at the university level as the Director for the Center for Improving Teaching and Learning at Des Moines University. My new position in at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine opened up new opportunities for me to work with diversity and inclusion efforts for the School of Veterinary Medicine and the profession as a whole.

I realized that the work I was about to embark upon would be the legacy I had been grappling to find. I created a nonprofit institute, the Institute for Healthcare Education Leadership and Professionals (iHELP) to work with supporting diversity and inclusion efforts in healthcare. The first iHELP initiative is the creation of the National Association for Black Veterinarians (NABV). The purpose of the organization is to work collaboratively with other organizations to support and ensure research-based methods are implemented to increase diversity and inclusion in the veterinary medical profession and in colleges of veterinary medicine. The charter president (Dr. Renita Marshall) and Vice President (Dr. Tyra Brown) were featured in an article that discusses the lack of diversity in the profession which speaks volumes about the need to increase the number of Black people in veterinary medicine. 

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What my former career as a pipefitter has taught me about medicine so far

“That’s just a little blue-collar ingenuity, my friend” said “Junior” as we all sat there dumbfounded. I was the foreman of a pipefitting crew at a large semiconductor plant in Oregon. Junior was a traveling pipefitter from Florida and a veteran of the trade. For the past two days, we had been racking our brains attempting to rig a difficultly large spool of pipe so that we could make a weld. Our attempts had all failed. But how? We were all certified in rigging and had done this thousands of times. Junior joined our crew earlier that day. When he saw that we were struggling, he walked over, nonchalantly, and changed our approach in a way that none of us had seen before. It worked. We had been too focused on approaching the problem from a single perspective – we were unable to take a step back and reassess our methods.

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Students as Partners: Working with students to co-create medical school curricula

As they listen to lectures, work through group learning activities, and study, students may recognize discrepancies in content, flow of material, repetitions, and more. Obtaining student feedback can be very helpful in guiding curriculum design. Students can provide formative feedback to faculty – for example, if a student did not feel that they learned from a particular lecture, they can offers suggestions for how to improve. In turn, faculty can acknowledge student feedback and respond to it, thus closing the feedback loop (as we see in Kern’s 6 Steps to Curriculum Development). If changes were suggested, the faculty member can respond to the class to explain why they could or could not make that change – which students will appreciate!

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Natasha Louise Yates

Students are just the start...

Well done on a great blog and conversation starter. I agree that it is helpful for students to be engaged with their curriculum d... Read More
Monday, 18 May 2020 6:06 AM
Senthil Kumar Rajasekaran, MD


Hi Natasha, Thank you for your comments and it was a delight to work with Sarina. Below are my thoughts: 1. It is a great idea to ... Read More
Tuesday, 19 May 2020 4:04 PM
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May 2020 #MedEdPearls: Back to Basics with the Plus/Delta During COVID-19

As educators, we must remember to go “back to basics,” in times of uncertainty or when we experience new teaching and learning challenges. Adult learners desire to give and receive feedback about their learning experiences. Educators navigating the transition to online teaching and learning can utilize this in their favor. Although varied methods can be utilized, one simple, efficient, translatable, and free way to do so is to implement the “Plus/Delta Debriefing Model” (Plus/Delta) as part of routine educational quality improvement.

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Empowering Residents How to Teach: One Minute Preceptor on the Wards

Not that long ago, I remember being thrust into the role of a senior resident on wards and being responsible for the educational experience of medical students. I was still trying to figure out how to manage patients - how was I going teach the medical students? How could I be supportive of their learning? It was overwhelming and I remember wishing someone would provide me with additional guidance.

Years later, after finishing a Masters in Medical Education, I gained some tools that allowed me to understand how being a good teacher was an art and a learned skill – not something that comes innately. I wanted to impart some of the skills I had learned to the senior residents in our program so they did not feel as lost as I did all those years ago. Furthermore, residents at our program had expressed a need for guidance in teaching medical students. Thus, I challenged myself to start a curriculum for internal medicine residents focusing on the “One Minute Preceptor” – an educational technique that could be useful for them when teaching on the words.

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Guest — Mohan Puri

Efficiency via innovative teac...

Improving efficiency using innovative teaching techniques for busy health professionals.
Tuesday, 28 April 2020 4:04 PM
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