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Medical Education
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New course offers medical educators the latest insights into teaching and educational program design

March 5, 2018

“The future of the medical profession is in good hands. Our job as educators is to unleash the power of our learners,” said Catherine Lucey, MD, Vice Dean for Education and Executive Vice Dean for the School of Medicine, speaking at the Developing Medical Educators of the 21st Century course last week in San Francisco.   “So how do we support the faculty who will do this work? Twenty-first century faculty need new skills to teach, assess, mentor and guide learners, thus co-producing learning in a dynamic environment.”

To help develop these skills among medical educators from across the continuum of education, UCSF collaborated with the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW)’s Kern Institute for the Transformation of Medical Education to launch the course as a new initiative. Held over three days last week, the inaugural course presented new opportunities for educators across the continuum to convene and learn about new developments in medical education.

Over 130 faculty from diverse educational backgrounds and settings participated, including faculty from leading academic centers and community-based teaching hospitals. The course included 58 unique sessions (seven plenaries, 13 workshops, 26 working lunch sessions, and 12 unique mini-sessions) involving over 60 faculty.

A team of faculty from UCSF and the Kern Institute designed the course for medical educators seeking to grow their skills in curricular innovation design and implementation and learn new approaches to clinical teaching to address contemporary issues in healthcare.

“This course showcased some of the exciting curricular innovations that have arisen from national initiatives to transform medical education, and gave participants the opportunity to directly learn from innovators in the field and brainstorm on ways to bring these ideas to their own institution,” said Sandrijn van Schaik, MD, PhD, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics Baum Family Presidential Chair in Experiential Learning.  

Dr. van Schaik designed the course, along with Patricia O’Sullivan, EdD, Director of Research and Development in Medical Education, UCSF Center for Faculty Educators, and Jose Franco, MD, Cross-Pillar Director, Kern Institute, MCW.    

“The course offered participants the flexibility to customize their own learning experience and reflect on their experiences. We anticipate that participants attending next year will also be inspired to engage in the educational mission of their institution in new ways,” said Dr. O’Sullivan.

“MCW’s Kern Institute is deeply committed to the transformation of medical education and fostering the qualities of future physicians with an emphasis on character, competence and caring,” said Cheryl Maurana, PhD, Senior Vice President, Professor and Founding Director, Kern Institute, MCW. “This course will advance innovative medical education models to better prepare medical students to face the challenges of our rapidly evolving 21st century health care environment.”  

Presenting faculty at the course comprised leaders in medical education at UCSF, MCW and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, who addressed contemporary issues in medical education that affect learners from undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical education. The course directors aimed for a high level of participant engagement though small-group offerings in addition to plenary sessions, workshops, 'hot-topic' discussion tables and brief 'show-and-tell' sessions.

Sessions offered at the course spanned topics including teaching clinical reasoning, creating equitable and inclusive learning environments, designing workplace learning experiences that add value to the health system, creating new models of faculty development, partnering with health systems to advance quality and safety, choosing and using educational technology, coaching for professional identify formation, optimizing assessment, and studying curricular innovations.  Several sessions highlighted research approaches, to facilitate faculty interest in studying innovations such as those featured in this course.

The enthusiasm and engagement among participants was palpable at this year’s course, and has inspired the course directors to start planning next year’s sessions. “We will continue focusing on innovation, so while some of the content may be repeated we plan to design the course with recurrent visitors in mind. Considering the enormous impetus for change and innovation in medical education at our institutions, we will have fresh ideas and insights to share at next year’s course,” said Dr. van Schaik.

A snapshot of the course keynote presentations:

  • Educating physicians of the 21st century
  • Integrating learners into complex delivery systems
  • Promoting diversity in academic medicine
  • Competencies, milestones, and assessment
  • Educational scholarship: where we need to go and how to start

Brainstorming in the breakout sessions and workshops:

  • Leading change in medical education: the concepts of change leadership and why a deliberate approach to change is worth the effort
  • Program evaluation: how to develop a comprehensive evaluation plan
  • Innovative health professions curriculum design: how the principles of adult learning, consideration of professionalism, and managing potential ‘hidden curricula’ can help medical educators design new curricula
  • Entrustable professional activities across the medical education continuum
  • Coaching for competency: using positive psychology coaching to guide learners in reviewing performance information 

Review the full course syllabus for reference.