Harvard Macy Community Blog

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

The Ultimate Goal of Medical Education

Medical education is, broadly, how we educate physicians to care for patients. Sometimes it can be difficult to see this ultimate goal in our very busy everyday life. As I tend to my busy clinical and educational activities, I find myself stopping and reflecting upon my educational tasks. Am I truly working in the best interest of my faculty, learners and ultimately the patients we serve?

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Gregg Wells

Helping learners receive feedb...

As this post well describes, we medical educators need to provide our learners with helpful feedback. We can improve our performa... Read More
Friday, 24 November 2017 7:07 PM
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Next-Levelling Your Conference: Attendees as Co-Producers of Knowledge

What was your role during the last academic conference you attended? One common answer is “an attendee,” which means that you were there but doesn’t provide details regarding what you actually did. Another common answer is “a participant,” which is only a bit more telling because now it suggests that you were taking part in something. These common answers are widely used, but somehow they only convey that someone goes somewhere and does something. From these terms, we simply cannot deduce exactly what roles the conference organizers, speakers, facilitators, and attendees fulfill.

Higher education has been facing the same problem - the terms “teacher” and “student” imply that one teaches and the other studies. But this leaves the details of roles and expectations to each person’s interpretation. For this reason, there have been attempts to employ terms that are better at defining the nature of the relationship. Metaphors such as “client,” “customer,” “partner,” and “consumer” have been used. These metaphors imply different roles and expectations for every party in the educational system and also how they relate to each other.

These terms are equally applicable to academic conferences. A client means you pay the organizers for a professional service. A customer means the organizers have to please you to get your money. A partner means you partially bear the same set of responsibilities as the organizers. With these definitions in mind, think back again to your role at the last conference you were in: Were you a client? A customer? A partner? Or a consumer?

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#MedEdPearls November 2017: Converting Teaching into Scholarship

Ten Steps to Convert Basic Teaching into Publishable Scholarship

The purpose of scholarly teaching is to move beyond basic teaching, which is routine and non-changing.  Scholarly teaching is informed by pedagogical literature as well as student evaluations, peer evaluation, and self-reflection.  The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) goes beyond scholarly teaching by  disseminating  research findings to impact educational practice beyond one’s classroom walls and serves to bridge the gap between teaching and research roles of the academic. 

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#HMIchat October 2017: “Learners-as-Educators


The Caffe Nero on Longwood Avenue couldn’t have been a more perfect place to reflect with Teresa Soro and Elissa Hall on the October #HMIChat I moderated, and not just because of the great lattes. October’s chat on “Learners-as-Educators” discussed how to develop health professions learners at every level into teachers themselves. I love the pay-it-forward nature of this idea, that everyone has something to contribute to and to inspire the next generation of learners. It had been at Caffe Nero that I decided--as a trainee--to dedicate my career to medical education, so returning there to talk about this topic resonated deeply.

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Holistic Review: Fad or Future of Medical School Admissions?

Holistic admission policies have been utilized for decades by undergraduate institutions. Instead of solely relying on test scores and a grade point average to select students, holistic admission policies provide admission committees the latitude to admit students who can meet the academic rigors of the institution while embodying the school’s mission through personal characteristics and experiences. This type of admission policy has moved into the graduate and professional school arena. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the “Advancing the Holistic Review Initiative” was established in 2007 and promotes the review of the medical school application through the evaluation of metrics, attributes, and experiences. A 2014 report, “Holistic Admissions in the Health Professions,” found an increase in the number of professional schools, specifically those offering health-related programs, that subscribe to a holistic admission policy (para. 8). It is widely believed that holistic admission practices diversify the institution’s student body. 

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Michelle L Schmude


Thanks for your comments Terry.
Monday, 30 October 2017 2:02 PM
Guest — Terry Hill, PHD

Vetting to the extreme?

I question whether dumping more screening criteria at applicants is efficacious. Basic aptitudes and motivation trumps most measur... Read More
Sunday, 29 October 2017 12:12 PM
Guest — Terry Hill, PhD

Vetting to the extreme?

Too much does not standardize towards the mean. The emphasis has to be relocated onto basic aptitudes and motivation measures.
Sunday, 29 October 2017 12:12 PM
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