Research Literacy: The What and Why

Presented by William Galey on January 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm

The focus of this session will be to: 1) discuss why medical-professionals need to understand research; 2) explore why they need to be competent in this area and 3) begin the discussion of what it is they need to know. Along the way we will spend some time discussing how medical professional trainees might gain the needed research related competencies.

It has become increasingly clear that as medical education in the basic sciences has moved from the use of experiential learning environments such as demonstrations and laboratories the opportunity has waned for students to engage their knowledge to interpret expected and unforeseen results and to puzzle through data cloaked in biological and experimental variability. Furthermore most texts and simulation stimulated learning experiences fail to demonstrate this variability or to emphasize the usefulness and range of statistical evaluations in interpreting data. Further, most modern educational efforts currently require only post hoc hypothesis generation and generally don’t address experimental design or the importance of the full complement of appropriate controls. While “labs” were often laborious, wasteful and inefficient, when they were successful, they provided insights into the nature of biomedical knowledge and how such knowledge is gained. In this session we will consider how the knowledge and skills associated with research can be gained in the emerging educational environment.

Presenter Bios

William GaleyWilliam (Bill) Galey is Director of Graduate and Medical Education Programs at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. As such he is responsible for all of HHMI’s programs to enhance graduate biomedical science education and scientific training of medical trainees. Bill directs efforts to enhance the development of future physician-scientists through the HHMI Research Fellowships for Medical Students Program, and HHMI’s Physician Scientist Early Career Award Program. He was intimately involved in conceiving and developing the HHMI-AAMC partnership known as Scientific Foundations of Future Physicians which focused on defining the scientific competencies needed by graduating physicians. Recently Bill’s group developed a program to support exceptionally talented foreign students pursuing biomedically-related Ph.D. degrees at US institutions through a program known as HHMI International Student Research Fellowships. During his tenure at HHMI the institute has created two programs known as the Interfaces Initiative and the Med into Grad Initiative to enhance the training of Ph.Ds. at the border between biological sciences and physical sciences and biology and medicine respectively.

Dr Galey, holds a PhD from the University of Oregon Medical School, and was a fellow of Harvard University. After a period in the pharmaceutical industry, he joined the University of New Mexico School of Medicine where he conducted research in cellular and gastrointestinal physiology; taught physiology to medical, graduate and allied health students; and held various administrative positions including Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Interim Dean for Research before retiring in 2002 to take his current position.

As an educator Bill has been involved in the development and dissemination of problem-based learning in medical education, the use of inquiry-based learning by primary and secondary school teachers and has directed PhD and MD/PhD programs in the biomedical sciences. He has also been active in professional organizations to improve science education and has been associated with IAMSE activities for many years.