Harvard Macy Community Blog

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

September 2020 MedEdPearls: 10 Habits for Career Success in Health Professions Education

The start of the academic year is the perfect time to re-evaluate and re-scope our career goals. Work on one of the following tasks every month throughout the school year, or use them as a guide to engage with a peer mentoring group to push everyone further, faster.

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Using online learning to prepare medical students for USMLE and beyond

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, fourth year medical students were in the process of preparing for their USMLE step 2CK exam. At this stage, usually they would also be in a clinical rotation with required patient experiences, and beginning applications for their residencies. Instead, they were all at home self-isolating while studying and dealing with much uncertainty.

At the University of Central Florida, College of Medicine (UCF COM), we offered an elective for three blocks over the Summer to assist them in prepping them for their exam. This served as an opportunity to encourage self-regulated learning and foster an online environment which nurtures dual communication, support, and encouragement. Below are some techniques which we found to be successful in navigating an online learning environment.

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Defining a Framework for Health Science Education Innovation

Over the past several months, we have seen how innovation in health science education (HSE) plays a critical role in health and science discovery as our community continues to address challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, many of our colleagues have demonstrated the courage to take risks, experiment, fail, and try again—often resulting in an improvement on their original ideas. HSE innovation moves us beyond the common, incremental changes and quality improvement initiatives commonly seen within our organizations. To continue advancing health and science through education innovation, it is important to define a framework that helps us better understand what HSE innovation means. 

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The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast: Social Learning Theory and Continuing Professional Development in Health Professions Education

In this episode Victoria Brazil speaks with Louise Allen about her recent Medical Teacher publication on Applying Social Learning Theory to explain the impacts of Continuing Professional Development. Her paper, with co-authors Marg Hay, Elizabeth Armstrong and Claire Palermo is an exemplar of qualitative research, and involved semi-structured interviews with previous Harvard Macy and Monash Institute for Health and Clinical Education program participants. The team found that scholars broadened their networks, affirmed themselves, applied learning in practice and enjoyed career progression. The impacts of these courses reached beyond themselves to both the people and organizations with which  they are involved.

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So you think you can lead? Leadership in health care is everybody’s business

Over the past three years, I have immersed myself in leadership development literature related to health systems and health professions education. In my pursuit of a comprehensive leadership framework that encompassed leadership demonstrated at several levels and applied to health care, I came across Dickson & Tholl’s  (2014) “LEADS in a Caring Environment” framework. The recently released second edition Bringing Leadership to Life in Health: LEADS in a Caring Environment expands on the original leadership framework and represents the key skills, behaviors, abilities, and knowledge required to lead in all sectors and all levels of the health system. It provides an in-depth perspective on how LEADS is used in different contexts, including how LEADS relates to diversity and Indigenous cultures. This post highlights the five domains of the LEADS Framework. 

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Orienting New Faculty During the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

Fall semester is a time for new starts, new students, and new faculty. As we continue to navigate what we do to help our students learn in a virtual environment, how might you apply some of the same approaches to orient new faculty? Consider incorporating some of these ideas:

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HMI Community Day 2020

We work hard to keep our community connected online, and one of our special initiatives is our annual #HMICommunity Day. This year, we celebrate with sincere gratitude to our worldwide community of healthcare professionals transforming education and healthcare delivery during extremely uncertain times.  

Please join us TODAY, August 11th for #HMICommunity Day - a virtual celebration of our worldwide community of practice! As alumni and friends, join us in showing support for our organization by tagging us in a photo and/or message on one of our three social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn – and letting us know what the Harvard Macy Institute means to you. Please tag all messages with our hashtag #HMICommunity, and the hashtag of courses you have attended - #HMIEducators, #HMIAssessment, #HMILeaders, or #HMIHCE.

Thank you for helping us celebrate our worldwide community!

Did you know that the Harvard Macy Institute has a podcast? Episodes hosted by Victoria Brazil have discussed leadership during COVID-19, systems of assessment, and virtual communities of practice.

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Training with Mental Practice in the COVID-19 Era

How does 23-time gold medalist Michael Phelps prepare for an Olympic race, an event so rare it happens only once every 4 years? According to his long-time coach, “He mentally rehearses for two hours a day... He smells the air, tastes the water, hears the sounds, sees the clock.” Can medical trainees do the same? 

With the overall drop in patients, procedures, and hands-on experience in the COVID-19 era, the foundational experiences that comprise the bulk of medical training are becoming rarer. To help remedy this, we need a simple, effective, high-fidelity training tool that can be accessed from the comfort of one’s own socially-isolated home. I suggest we use the highest-fidelity trainer available - the human brain - to train our learners using structured mental practice.

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Applying the 6 C’s of Motivation to Online Learning for Health Professionals

 With significant advancements in asynchronous and synchronous distance education technologies, such as videoconferencing, online discussion forums, and digital whiteboards, there is an opportunity to facilitate and enhance collaborative learning among interdisciplinary health professionals. If utilized appropriately, these technologies can provide a platform for open, equitable and accessible knowledge-sharing among health professionals. Learner motivation to participate in, and continue with, online learning programs is strongly affected by instructional design, and there are several instructional design strategies related to the 6 C’s of Motivation learning theory which should be considered when developing online education for interdisciplinary health professionals: 

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Mentors without Borders: A Global Community of Mentors, Scholars and Leaders in Health Professions Education

 Fifteen ‘mentors’ participated in this world café workshop: Nearly 35 participants attended and rated the format highly. During the process of debriefing and reflecting on what worked well and how the workshop could be improved, the group members decided to continue the working relationship and transform into a community of mentors and collaborators. We have worked together since September 2019, publishing papers on speed mentoring and career development for educational leaders and scholars and working on 2 more. We learn from each other and mentor each other.

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The “Heron 8” – 3 Things and 5 Communities – Even More Relevant During COVID-19

 One may ask what the “Heron 8” is and why the relevance especially in this time. In simple mathematic terms, the “Heron 8” encompasses what we all need in our life’s journey – 3 things and 5 communities to thrive. The summation of these constructs is 8. The suffering is acutely seen in the patients I care for  in my professional life as an Emergency Physician in a busy inner-city Emergency Department. An Emergency Department that cares for patient’s primarily of lower socioeconomic status who are predominantly people of color. People who look like me.

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July 2020 #MedEdPearls:The HyFlex Option - Designing Course Delivery in a Time of Known Unknowns

In HyFlex courses, students can decide for each and every class meeting, group activity, assignment and assessment whether to sit in the classroom, join via videoconference in real-time, or complete online activities later. The HyFlex model offers institutions and programs the flexibility to deliver educational experiences as safely as possible and enhances their ability to pivot to remote teaching and learning quickly, if needed.  

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Promoting Wellness for Educators During Uncertain Times

Health professions educators are navigating multiple roles in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Many serve in clinical roles involving direct patient contact. Many serve in administrative roles making difficult decisions about how care will be delivered. And all serve as educators responsible for helping our trainees manage this stressful time.

There are many strategies educators can use to increase mental wellness for themselves, their colleagues, their loved ones, their trainees, and their patients. The strategies articulated below can be used by educators and trainees. 

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Building a Culture of Caring in the C-suite

 

As a novice healthcare manager, I recall the shock I felt after my supervisor screamed at me for no apparent reason. She then called another colleague and told him how horrible she felt but she never apologized to me. As I progressed to C-suite leadership, I realized I had the power to model the behaviors I wanted to see. The Joint Commission Sentinel Event on Harassment warned of behaviors that can undermine a “culture of safety.” Disruptive behaviors such as verbal outbursts, uncooperative attitudes, refusing to complete assigned duties, and intimidating behaviors such as physical threats undermine the safety of our team and our patients. Since the #MeToo movement and resulting Time’s Up and Time’s Up Healthcare campaigns, we are beginning to see more research on the types of harassment that create unsafe work environments for our patients and employees. Most recently, Dr. Esther Choo and colleagues published “Sexual Harassment between Health Care Workers and Safety Culture,” identifying cases of sexual harassment and their impact on staff and patient safety. There seems to have been little progress made toward the national high reliability healthcare system we strive to become but we have the power to change this.

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The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast: Silver linings – Leadership and Innovations for Health Professions facing the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for healthcare and for health professions educators. But there are opportunities for innovative approaches to our clinical and educational work, and for reflection on the systems of training and workforce development. The pandemic has brought a sharp focus on leadership and change.

In episode #4 Victoria Brazil speaks with Professor Liz Armstrong, Director of the Harvard Macy Institute, about ‘silver linings’ – the opportunities for innovation and creativity – from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Liz describes the plans for running the June Leaders program online, and how interactivity and small group work are being supported. She tells us about a preliminary exercise the scholars have completed – focused on their own ‘silver linings’ – and how (paradoxically) ‘staying at home’ seems to have fostered more community, collaboration and patient focused care. And finally – Liz and Vic ponder on broader issues of change and innovation in healthcare, and take lessons from Elon Musk and SpaceX !

Watch out for new episodes this year which will be announced on our blog and our Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook social media channels.

Did you know that the Harvard Macy Institute Community Blog has had more than 220 posts? Previous posts have included interviews with Alice Fornari, Louis Pangaro, and Victoria Brazil!

 

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Harnessing the Power of Zoom for Teaching and Learning

 

How do I engage learners in a remote, online, or virtual environment? This is a question rolling around in the minds of many health professions educators who have over the last few months made significant pivots given the COVID-19 pandemic. Zoom, among other web conferencing technologies, has become an essential tool for educators, learners, and peers to connect and facilitate synchronous learning experiences. However, integrating Zoom alone is not enough. To create significant learning experiences, consider the three tips offered below!

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June 2020 #MedEdPearls: Out of Our Comfort Zone and Into the Fire: Ideas for Engaging Students Virtually

Martin & Bolliger describe Moore’s three types of interaction in effective online courses: (1) learner-to-learner interaction, (2) learner-to-instructor interaction, and (3) learner-to-content interaction and provide strategies to increase engagement.

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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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