Harvard Macy Community Blog

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

The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast Season 2 Episode 3: Leading Curricular Change

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.

Season 2, Episode 3 features health professions educators Lisa Jane Jacobsen and Jennifer Meka from the Jacobs School of Medicine and biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo, talking about leading curricular change at their institution.           

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Co-facilitating Small Group Learning Environments: Creating Meaningful Connections at a Virtual Conference

Virtual conferences appear to be the new reality. Although this format offers a number of advantages such as better accessibility for learners and the possibility to have speakers from all over the world without the need to travel, the main difficulty lies in creating “real” connections and networking opportunities. This is paramount for a conference such as the Harvard Macy Institute Program for Educators in the Health Professions, which offers a number of small group activities where interaction and connection amongst scholars is essential to have fruitful discussions. In this blog we offer our tips for co-facilitating in virtual environments.

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Transitioning #HMIChat Leadership After 5 Wonderful Years

In February of 2021, our monthly Harvard Macy Twitter Chat (#HMIChat) celebrated 5 wonderful years of engagement, learning, and building community worldwide. The aim has always been to connect Harvard Macy Institute scholars around the world, to continue the conversations, and learn from and with each other. The result is more than 62 chats and over 40,000 tweets. Since 2016, #HMIChat has been curated by Elissa Hall, EdD, Justin Kreuter, MD, and Teresa Soro, MS and under their leadership our chat has grown into a known and respected learning experience in the health professions education social media space.

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April 2021 #MedEdPearls: Teaching in the aftermath of COVID-19: Applying principles of trauma-informed care to our return to classroom teaching

One year ago, I contributed a MedEdPearl titled "Mastering Adaptive Teaching in the Midst of COVID-19" that offered strategies for maintaining teacher, social and cognitive presence during our rapid transition to remote online learning. And now, I consider our needs as educators as we prepare for the possible transition back to the classroom this fall. Unlike last year, though, this possibility is conflated by more issues than merely the learning environment. As I write this blog, I reflect on a recent opinion article titled "America Isn't Ready for the Coming Wave of Grief." In addition to the direct human cost and long-haul effects of the pandemic, delayed mourning, physical isolation, economic burden, and exaggerated inequalities have compounded the toll on our collective mental health. So once again, I find myself asking how we as medical and health professions educators can prepare, stay resilient and step courageously into this unfamiliar territory?  

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A PEACEful approach to virtual teaching

Have you found yourself wishing your virtual teaching was more PEACEful? In this blog post, we draw on two theoretical frameworks – Cognitive Load Theory and Self Determination Theory – to outline five key steps for improving your virtual teaching. Together with my colleagues Dr. Deepa Rangachari and Dr. Jeremy Cetnar, we generated a useful mnemonic for these key principles of virtual teaching: PEACE.

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Silver Lining of the New Virtual World: Virtual Mentoring

This post was inspired by a recent assignment I completed as part of the Harvard Macy Program for Educators in the Health Professions. We were asked to write about a “silver lining” that transpired from the COVID-19 pandemic. I struggled with thinking of something positive when I was surrounded by so much loss, including parents of my patients struggling with employment and food insecurity, and even death. However, I challenged myself to recognize my privilege and, in my reflection, I was able to consider how my professional life had actually improved in a very noticeable way.

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Zoom, Bloom and the Virtual Room

Amid all of the pandemic’s tragedies, our medical students’ education could not be another sacrifice.  Before COVID-19, our third year medical student clerks spent four days a week seeing patients at their family medicine preceptors’ offices, and then gathered back in the classroom on Fridays for a robust didactic curriculum. It was a day both to review core topics and to get together as a group with breakfast and lunch, the latter a not-so-hidden feature of the program intending to alleviate some of the inherent loneliness of a non-hospital-based rotation comprising one student intensely working with one preceptor.

Alas, COVID-19 hit. After a spring hiatus, masked students returned to their clinical duties, but all in-person classroom programming was suspended. Enter virtual learning!

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Is it better to “Zoom out” than to fade away? Combating burnout created by online teaching

In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all teaching and learning has gone online. The protective benefits of this scenario are that it facilitates in the continuation of education via distance or blended learning in safer, more socially distant environments. However, it has created a stressful situation for some health professions educators, whose personal and work lives are now a blur causing “techno stress” and burnout. Constantly interacting through a box on your screen is not ideal for medical professionals, and we have done much improvisation in our teaching practices. This blog post discusses instructional strategies which would help teachers combat frustrations created by online sessions.

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March 2021 #MedEdPearls: Conducting Faculty Development During the COVID-19 Pandemic using Affective Behavioral Development – A Catalyst for Growth Transformation

Although many of us will reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic as disruptive to our way of life, COVID-19 has radically transformed the process of medical education and has served as a catalyst for incorporation of new technologies, remote learning platforms, and novel methods of instruction. These changes have placed faculty development at the forefront of the medical education response to COVID-19. Faculty developers provided continual and responsible support during this “emergency online education pivot” as institutions minimized the catastrophic spread of disease and by changing the traditional medical education approach. Faculty developers, as experts in online learning pedagogy, educational technology tools, and online student services, designed, produced, and delivered training quickly and effectively to meet the immediate needs of faculty and to save institutions.

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How to Evaluate Teaching Effectiveness

How do I know my teaching is good? As an educator, do you grapple with this question like I do? Following a recent hands-on musculoskeletal point of care ultrasound (POCUS) session I taught to internal medicine residents, a handful of learners approached me to bestow praise. “That was awesome!” I basked in the glow of their comments but found myself reflecting afterward. Was the session (and more specifically my teaching in the session) effective? Did the residents’ abilities to perform a bedside POCUS exam actually improve? Will they retain the new knowledge? Did the teaching affect their practice patterns? Or was the session simply 2 hours away from clinical responsibilities? I knew I needed to learn how to study my own teaching.

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“Unmasking” in the Era of COVID-19

This joint narrative reflection weaves through the experiences of three female physicians, practicing internationally during the COVID-19 pandemic. It uses the metaphor of the ubiquitous masks we now all wear to explore the boundaries between caregivers and patients and the unanticipated “unmasking” that has taken place across technological platforms, in hallways and patient spaces. The focus is on the commonality of experience of clinical caregivers in these extraordinary times, despite the diversity of social and cultural settings. Most importantly we describe what has been uncovered and what other health care providers might take away from this once-in-a-life-time experience.

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The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast Season 2 Episode 2: Online Education in a Hurry

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 #10 features health professions educational leaders Sarah Teele and Traci Wolbrink, discussing their recent article Online education in a hurry: Delivering pediatric graduate medical education during COVID-19.         

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February 2021 #MedEdPearls: Skating to where the HPE puck is going to be

Health Professions Education thought leaders consider reflective practice to be an essential characteristic for professional competence. However, the start of spring semester does not usually elicit reflection about “How am I going to teach next fall?” However, these are unique times and instead of a normal evolution of our curricula, teaching, and assessment strategies, we may find ourselves returning to old strategies or perhaps on new trajectories. Chances are Fall of 2021 will not look like Fall of 2020 or 2019. What are good questions to ask as you reflect on fall of 2020 and begin to plan for fall of 2021? That question was posed to the team of faculty developers from the MedEdPearls team who developed the following list of ideas for health professions educators to consider.

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Social Distance without Social Isolation: Providing Virtual Psychological Support and a Sense of Community

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a parallel pandemic of psychological distress across the world. Health care staff who are at the forefront are also highly vulnerable to psychological distress. There are several pandemic related contributing factors including fear of getting sick and infecting others, increased work demands, disruption of normal routine, uncertainty about the future and social isolation. Quarantine itself is a risk factor and promotes social isolation.

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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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