Harvard Macy Community Blog

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

The Role of Emotionality in Teaching and Learning

Emotion and learning have been viewed largely as separate entities, often with the role of emotions in learning (e.g. anxiety) as hindering. However, recent research has pointed to the interdependence between emotions and learning, suggesting that emotions are important, and perhaps even central to the cognitive learning process. Biologically, emotions are powerful motivators of learning because they activate brain mechanisms (e.g amygdala) that originally evolved to manage our basic survival. When reflecting on past educational experiences, the best teacher most quickly recalled is usually one with whom an emotional bond existed. To maximize student understanding and transfer of educational experiences into real-world skills and careers, medical educators must find ways to leverage the emotional aspects of learning by:

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Can we be Consciously Unbiased?

Implicit biases are associations between different concepts that develop over time, and influence us outside of our conscious awareness. The topic of implicit bias has entered mainstream conversation, and is the subject of discourse and debate. Some believe that implicit biases can be eliminated, and individuals can become consciously unbiased. Others suggest that implicit biases are impossible to change, and that attempting to recognize or manage biases is an exercise in futility.

Can we break our biased habits?

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A Millennial Learner’s Journey to Becoming a Physician Assistant

Growing up, I was often surrounded by health professionals as I accompanied my mother and brother to numerous medical appointments. I was immersed in the healthcare field starting at a very young age and that inspired me to work as a healthcare professional. The physician assistant profession was created in the mid-1960’s to ultimately expand the primary care workforce and address the shift of physicians training to provide specialty care. Over the last forty years, physician assistants have demonstrated that they are effective partners in a changing health care environment and have the ability to fill provider gaps and new roles in interprofessional team-based delivery systems. As a cohort, millennials aspire to have a career that allow us to be mission-driven, have good work-life integration, and experience personal happiness as well as professional success. These are just some of the reasons I - in addition to many other millennials - am drawn to pursuing a career as a physician assistant. In this blog post, I articulate the goals I have developed for my upcoming physician assistant training.

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Behind the Curtain with Senthil Rajasekaran: Developing a Global Competency Framework for Universal Health Care

Recently, Senthil Kumar Rajasekaran was invited by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a part of a small working group of health professions education experts to develop a global competency framework for universal health coverage. As an alumnus of the 2013 “Leading Innovations in Healthcare and Education” course – who has also served as course faculty - we thought we would sit down with Senthil and ask him some questions about this meeting, his participation, the team’s recommendations and to learn about the global competency framework as it applies to health professions education 

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The Role of "Instructor Talk" in the Classroom

You can impact student success simply by the way you speak in the classroom! Instructor Talk is a term coined by researchers who looked at the impact non-content related language had on student success. Non-content language is the little things we say to students during a class session that foster a positive learning environment. Just by switching up how we talk to students can impact their perceptions. For example, switching from, “I have extended the deadline for the project” to “I have extended the deadline for the project to give you additional timeor from “We will begin today discussing . . .” to “To get you prepared, we will begin today discussing . . .” can help.

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Digital Storytelling: Bringing the Power of Narratives to Life

Digital storytelling refers to the use of real-life experiences, stories and adventures combining narrative with digital content. This can include images, sounds, and videos to create a short movie, typically with a strong emotional component to help engage learners in learning. Digital storytelling is a powerful medium for teaching because it can increase engagement and retention of learning, and has been used in medical education.

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The Power of Interprofessional Education

The pager on my hip beeped at 1:22 am with a call from the ICU. The nurse on the other end asked if I would please come down and pronounce a patient who had passed away. “I’ll be right there,” I responded, put down the admission note I was writing, and set off toward the ICU. This was my first inpatient medicine rotation as an intern, so I was embracing this task with a mix of overconfidence and not knowing what I didn’t know. I was also trying not to disturb my senior resident who was either addressing some important tasks or sleeping. Hitting the wall plate to open the double doors to the ICU, a nurse behind a desk pointed in the direction of one of the patient rooms. As I approached the room, I realized that I didn’t actually know how to pronounce a patient and had never been taught how to do so in medical school.

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A New Year, A New You: What's Your Intention?

The rollout of a new year results once again in countless goals established that over time are soon forgotten. While goal setting is key, taking a step back first and reflecting upon “who do I want to become (e.g., intention)” is essential to achieve your goals. Goals are specific, external achievements that can be easily presented on a checklist versus intentions which are the inner relationship with yourself and others. It’s greater than any goal; it’s about who you are at the moment.

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Connecting our Community - A Social Media Update from the Harvard Macy Institute

In 2015, the Harvard Macy Institute made the decision to ‘go social’ to connect our worldwide community via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, under the leadership of inaugural social media strategist Holly Gooding. We started our community blog, with the mission to “foster the ongoing connectedness of health professions educators committed to transforming health care delivery and education.” Our efforts were intended to bring our alumni up to date news in health professions education, to promote the inquiry and scholarship that the Harvard Macy Institute values, and to celebrate the global and diverse Harvard Macy Institute community of practice.

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Reflecting Upon My Harvard Macy Journey

In this post, I will share a brief story of my journey since I first joined the Harvard Macy Institute community in 2015. I have heard from other faculty that it can take a few years after attending a Harvard Macy Institute course to establish real change at our local institutions. Certainly, this was true for me, as I embarked upon the challenge to develop a new nursing department at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia. There is no doubt that this was not for the faint hearted, as starting a new department in nursing education at a University with no history of healthcare professions education was a real challenge! We are now at the end of our first year of our undergraduate nursing program with plans to move into the postgraduate space within the next three years! So far, all signs indicate that this has been a very successful process as our students and industry partners have provided us with really positive evaluations. I believe there have been a number of ‘secrets to our successes’, and I will spotlight three significant ones in this post:

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Interactive Video Blog Series: Worldwide Innovations in Healthcare Delivery

Interactive Video Blog Series: Worldwide Innovations
in Healthcare Delivery

​ In this video, Drs. Tom Aretz and Michael Wilkes discuss worldwide innovations in healthcare delivery, including an increased emphasis on quality management and continuous professional development. They discuss such vexing questions as: How can we combat the human resource challenges in healthcare worldwide for both systems-based and community care? What are some opportunities for and barriers to offering integrated interprofessional care? How can we work together to ensure that trainees who will be taking care of patients in community and outpatient settings have the skills needed when they train at tertiary care institutions? And perhaps most importantly, what leadership will be required to ensure these efforts are impactful on a global scale?

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Question Bursts: An Innovative Strategy to Address the Wicked Problem of Gender Inequity within Academic Medicine

This #MedEdPearls highlights the problem solving workshop facilitated by Linda Love, Gary Beck Dallaghan, Carrie Bowler, Shanu Gupta, Larry Hurtubise, Kari Simonsen, Jessica Snowden, and David Way at The Generalists in Medical Education - #TGME18.

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Interactive Video Blog Series: Support Students and Faculty through Application of Learning Sciences

How can we apply the wealth of research from the cognitive sciences to improve teaching and learning? In these 3 short videos, Dr. Holly Gooding interviews Dr. Jennifer Meka, Director of the Woodward Center for Excellence in Health Sciences Education and Cognitive Skills Programs at Penn State College of Medicine Director, to find answers to this key question. They review spaced education, retrieval practice, time management skills, metacognition, and more in this series of video blogs.

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Building the Emergency Department...from scratch!

The project I brought to the Harvard Macy Institute Leading Innovations in Healthcare and Education course was to create a model emergency service in Kuwait from what had historically been a clinic run by internists. This emergency service will include an “ideal” emergency department (ED). I had to take a step back and analyze what that means to me - and more importantly - my patients.

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Blockchain Mania

Have you recently found yourself wondering “What is Blockchain? And why do I keep hearing about it?” If you answered yes, then this blog is for you! To begin, Blockchain is not the answer to everything. It also isn’t miraculously a savior for the problems we have in healthcare. Also, there is no universal definition for it. What it is though, in relation to health, would primarily be in advancing securityand trust in data.

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Assessing Clinical Reasoning: Identifying the GAP

At the end of a case presentation, you ask your learner “what’s the patient diagnosis?”, and you think to yourself “what’s the learner diagnosis?” 

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Once a scholar, forever a scholar

Blog authors: Aida Darweish and Nouf (Nova) Al-Rumaihi

Attending Harvard Macy Institute courses brings a unique kind of excitement to those who attend, and this is a sentiment expressed by many faculty and scholars. As a scholar, the most striking part of Harvard Macy courses is creating a psychologically safe, positive learning environment. This optimizes learners’ interactions and has a tremendous effect on immediate and later outcomes of the learning process. In a safe learning environment, all learners can share their experiences and express their opinions without embarrassment at any point. The other thing that is unique about HMI courses is creating a community of practice where we are connected forever, where we receive advice and share thoughts from long life colleagues and friends from all over the world. They are always ready to help and collaborate on medical education projects.

Last summer, we attended the Harvard Macy Institute Leading Innovations in Health Care and Education course in Boston. As a result, we were asked by Margaret Hay (Educators ‘10, Assessment ‘10, Leaders ‘11) to serve as course faculty for the “Leadership and Innovation in Healthcare” course at the Monash Institute for Health and Clinical Education (MIHCE, Monash University, Australia). This course is a unique collaboration between the MICHE and the Harvard Macy Institute (Boston, USA), and was held in the United Arab Emirates in November 2017. We were amazed to meet so many dedicated educators and innovators from around the world including Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and United Arab Emirates. Indeed, we were no longer scholars, but now valuable members of the core faculty team!

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Is What You Know Wrong? The Cost of Knowledge Growth and Decay

“But what do I really need to know!?” asks the concerned student. Being the sage health professions educator you are, you respond with a turning of the table. “What would your patient would want you to know?”

Although seemingly glib, this axiom has helped guide the depth and breadth of curricula for decades. Health professions education has traditionally been defined largely by a student’s ability to compile and recall the voluminous amounts of knowledge necessary for the safe and effective practice of their discipline. What does this mean in the context of competency-based education? What happens when what was once true is now false?

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#MedEdPearls October 2018 - Microaggressions

Microaggressions are “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative . . . slights and insults” (Sue et al., 2007).

Microaggressions can have a macro affect, particularly when considering the cumulative burden for individuals and organizations over time. Microaggressions show up everywhere in society including in our classrooms, clinics, hallways, on social media, in our neighborhood watch app, and at the grocery store!

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Embracing Technology to Maximize Your Academic Productivity

As clinician educators, our time is increasingly limited. Often, we must balance competing roles as clinicians, teachers, and program administrators. On top of that, we are expected to produce scholarship as part of our institution’s academic mission and for career advancement. However, the increasing availability of technology provides new opportunities for scholarly output and dissemination. This post will highlight three strategies for using technology to maximize your scholarly output.

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