Harvard Macy Community Blog

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

My Medical Education Mantra: Small is OK! Imperfect is Better than Nothing!

In June 2019, a postcard came in the mail from my past self. At first, I was confused to receive a photo of Boston, where I live, but I recognized my own handwriting with my favorite blue super-fine pen. It was my 6-month follow-up postcard that I had written at the Harvard Macy Institute Program for Post-Graduate Trainees.

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November #MedEdPearls: Trust Me – I’m a Doctor

Competency based medical education (CBME) is an outcomes-based time-independent concept that is informing curricular innovation across the country and beyond. The roll out of Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) has incited discussion about workplace-based assessment in the context of entrustment.

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Making People Think at Grand Rounds

I recently had the opportunity to present at the Dell Medical School Palliative Care Grand Rounds. I was fresh from attending the Harvard Macy Institute Program for Educators in the Health Professions, and more fully aware of the significant learning benefits of an interactive lecture. I now had evidence that there are better ways to present material that would help people learn. Plus, I had experience as a learner that engaging, interactive lectures were just way more fun. Now I just had to figure out how to create one…

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#HMIchat August 2019: Developing Leaders: Busting Myths and Lifelong Learning

Despite numerous calls for an increase in physician leaders and leadership development in medical education, a 2018 systematic review found significant gaps exist in (1) understanding the best ways to teach leadership, (2) assessing and understanding the value of leadership training, and (3) overall reporting of curricula design. Participants in the August #HMIchat explored myths of leadership and leadership development, shared crucial advice, passed on resources, and discussed innovative ways to teach and develop leadership skills both in and beyond medical education. The chat was rich with ideas and resources to help us become better leaders.

 Here is a recap of some of the common themes and ideas shared by our community.

What are some common myths about leadership?

  • Leaders cannot show vulnerability; they must have all the answers… be the smartest in the room (@joshuadhartzell)
  • Everyone has the same access to leadership opportunities. Reality: There remains incredible bias and sponsorship is one way to work to create equity in leadership (@SusanHingle)
  • You have to be an extrovert to be a leader (@KFabsMD)
  • Leaders can only lead after they have “done their time” (@DrJRMarcelin)

As we discussed these myths, @Javeedsukhera remarked how “many myths related to leadership perpetuate gender and racial biases...make us question our leadership skills and competencies because we don’t ‘look’ like leaders.” In busting these myths, the #HMIchat turned to the critical value of personal mentors, coaches and sponsors in developing leaders, especially for women and minorities.

What are some common myths about teaching leadership:  

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Education as a Catalyst for Health Care Transformation

Improving community and population health is in the core mission statement of many medical schools. However, physician training happens within the same system that has led the United States to disproportionately spend on its healthcare system. While wealthy countries like the U.S., tend to spend more per person on health care and related expenses than lower income countries. However, the U.S. spends more per person on health than comparable countries. Health spending per person in the U.S. was $10,224 in 2017, which was 28% higher than Switzerland, the next highest per capita spender.  The all-encompassing social determinants of health, politics, and vested financial interests heavily influence policies affecting population health. It would be useful for us to take a moment reflect upon the problem.

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