2022 Fall: The Struggle is Real: Breaking Barriers that Limit Student Success

Medical educators are often called upon to help identify, support, and remediate struggling students. The root causes of student performance deficits are multifaceted and may be due to academic and non-academic factors. Deficiencies are rarely correctable through a simple solution. The Fall 2022 IAMSE Webinar Series will address strategies for identifying and supporting at-risk students and recognizing and breaking down barriers that may limit student success. The series will begin with an overview of methods to identify, intervene with, and remediate struggling students. Follow-up speakers will delve into specific mechanisms that have been employed to support students, including decelerated curriculums and Learning Communities. Additionally, speakers will provide information on the impact of mental health issues on medical school performance and the unique barriers and challenges faced by members of underrepresented communities. Webinars will provide specific strategies for mitigating the effects these factors may play in student success. By the end of this series, participants will be better prepared to recognize causes of academic difficulties, know better when to recommend students for more intensive interventions and implement strategies for identifying and breaking down barriers that limit student success.

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September 1, 2022 at 12:00 pm

“This Learner Is Terrible”: Remediation In Medical Education

Presenter: Calvin Chou, MD, PhD

Calvin Chou, MD, PhD is Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, and staff physician at the Veterans Affairs Health Care System in San Francisco. After undergraduate work at Yale, he received his PhD in microbiology and his MD at Columbia University, and subsequently completed residency training in internal medicine at UCSF. As Senior Faculty Advisor for External Education with the Academy of Communication in Healthcare (ACH), he is recognized internationally for leading workshops in relationship-centered communication, feedback, conflict, and remediation in health professions education. Currently he is director of VALOR, a longitudinal program based at the VA that emphasizes humanistic clinical skill development for medical students. He also held the first endowed Academy Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at UCSF. He has delivered communication skills curricula for providers at health systems across the country, including Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Stanford Health, New York Presbyterian, AdventHealth System, Wake Forest, and Texas Children’s Hospital, and internationally as well. His research interests include assessment of curricular developments in clinical skills and clinical skills remediation, forces influencing feedback in health sciences education, and enhancing humanistic communication for interprofessional trainees. A member of the UCSF Academy of Medical Educators since 2002, he has received numerous teaching awards at UCSF, including the Henry J. Kaiser Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Inpatient Setting, and two of ACH’s national awards, the 2019 Healthcare Communication Teaching Excellence Award, and the 2018 Lynn Payer Award for outstanding contributions to the literature on the theory, practice, and teaching of effective healthcare communication and related skills. He is co-editor of the books Remediation in Medical Education: A Midcourse Correction, and Communication Rx: Transforming Healthcare Through Relationship-Centered Communication.

As health professions educators, we feel responsibility to provide support to learners who struggle, and at the same time, we have responsibility to society to graduate learners who are fully competent for the profession. After defining remediation and the trajectories of learners who struggle, we will move through a framework to identify, intervene with, and assess our learners, and evaluate our programs of remediation, to help learners and ensure their success.

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September 8, 2022 at 12:00 pm

The Off-Cycle Curriculum: Intention vs. Impact

Presenter: Robert Walker, PhD

Jason Walker, PhD is an associate professor of physiology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine South Georgia campus. In addition to teaching physiology lectures, he serves on the Medical Education Center of Osteopathic Excellence as the Director for Student Progression and Off-cycle Curriculum where he works with students across all three PCOM campuses who are struggling with the adjustment to the course load of medical school. In addition to working with students toward academic success, he also conducts research on heart rate variability and burnout in medical students and investigates the role of imposter syndrome in underrepresented minority medical students.

The current landscape of undergraduate medical education provides foundations at varying depths of knowledge that will not only be needed for board examinations but also progressively needed for the clinical years as well. The ongoing challenge of undergraduate medical education is displayed by curriculum calendars and the volumes of content consumed by students and produced by schools. These challenges manifest themselves in a small percentage of students failing to meet the minimal competency and then being asked to repeat a year or a course. Awareness of the many influencing factors on the curriculum illustrates the need for a bridge to help the struggling student but also provides the tools, time, and resources to ensure the student is able to be successful moving forward.

The offering of the off-cycle curriculum is a mechanism for allowing students in the DO program an opportunity to complete the pre-clinical portion of the DO curriculum in 3 years instead of the traditional 2 years. The offering of this program is strictly voluntary and cannot be required for student participation. The off-cycle curriculum offers the student an opportunity to significantly improve course performance outcomes by decelerating a required portion of the curriculum. The decelerated pace of progressing through the curriculum allows the student to learn the material and create new habits to become a lifelong learner. Although this differs from the traditional Flexner model, it takes into consideration the type of students who are matriculating into our medical school program. These students range from the students newly progressing from their undergraduate studies to the student who is progressing from the workforce. This curriculum is a chance to establish the foundation needed to not only matriculate through medical school but also become a successful physician. Any student who is enrolled in the off-cycle curriculum must successfully complete all required courses of the first and second preclinical curriculum. Upon decelerating, students in the off-cycle curriculum will delay their graduation by one year, and are subject to revisions in curriculum requirements and changes in tuition and fees of their new graduating class.

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September 15, 2022 at 12:00 pm

Mental Health and the Struggling Learner

Presenter: Michael Redinger, MD, MA

Dr. Michael Redinger is an Assistant Professor at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed). He is dually appointed in the Program in Medical Ethics, Humanities, and Law, for which he serves as Co-Chief, and the Department of Psychiatry. The Program in Medical Ethics, Humanities, and Law directs the WMed undergraduate and graduate medical education curricula in the topics of medical ethics, medical humanities, health law, and health policy, provides clinical ethics support to the two partner health systems of WMed, and advances bioethics, medical humanities, and medical jurisprudence research. He is the medical director for the WMed outpatient psychiatry clinic. He also serves as the current Young Physician Section representative on the Michigan State Medical Society Board of Directors and as the Inaugural Unit Head of the WMed Unit of the International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics.

His myriad research interests include clinical ethics, psychiatric ethics, religion and medicine, Catholic health care ethics, and medical professionalism. He has been published in CHEST, The American Journal of Psychiatry, The American Journal of Bioethics, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, and the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, as well as popular media. He also has given a number of international and national presentations.

Prior to joining the faculty, Dr. Redinger served as the Chief Resident in the Department of Psychiatry at WMed. Prior to arriving at WMed, he completed a dual MD/MA in Bioethics and Health Policy with a Concentration in Catholic Health Care Ethics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics. He is a proud alumnus of the University of Notre Dame and a native Idahoan.

This session will assist educators in understanding how mental health difficulties can interfere with student success, both academically and professionally, and provide strategies for preventing and remediating failures attributed to mental illness.

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September 22, 2022 at 12:00 pm

Learning Communities: Creating Structures for Peer Support

Presenter: Caroline Harada, MD and Lauden Parker, MA

Dr. Harada graduated from Brown University in 1996, and, after a year of living in Bolivia teaching in an orphanage, began her medical education at the Yale School of Medicine, graduating in 2001. She completed an internal medicine residency and two-year geriatrics fellowship at the University of Chicago. She currently works as a geriatrician at University of Alabama at Birmingham Heersink School of Medicine, providing care to older adults with complex syndromes such as falls, polypharmacy, and dementia. She is also Assistant Dean for Community-Engaged Scholarship and in this role, she oversees the medical school’s health equity curricula, service learning, and Learning Communities program. She has a husband and two children, and her pronouns are she/her/hers.

Lauren Parker is a Student Affairs Professional at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, specializing in academic coaching, faculty development, and learner professional development for a longitudinal, tri-campus learning community program. With 10+ years of student affairs experience in the medical education setting, Lauren is academically focused on student success best practices in the areas of academic progression, learner well-being, and professional identity formation.

In this webinar, we will describe how Learning Communities can be used to support struggling students. Learning Communities are intentionally formed groups of students and faculty who actively learn from each other while building relationships that enhance support networks. LC programs can assist struggling students in a multitude of ways and can be easily integrated with other student support structures in a medical school. We will describe how this is done at a variety of institutions across the country.

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September 29, 2022 at 12:00 pm

Breaking Barriers for Racial/Ethnic Groups Underrepresented in the Health Professions

Presenter: Janet Coffman, PhD

Janet Coffman is a Professor of Health Policy at Healthforce Center, the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. She is also Co-Associate Director for Policy Programs at the Institute for Health Policy Studies. Over the past 25 years, she has authored numerous publications on the health care workforce in California and the United States, including multiple analyses of strategies for increasing racial/ethnic diversity in the health professions. She has also conducted evaluations of multiple health workforce initiatives aimed at increasing racial/ethnic diversity and geographic distribution of health professionals. Professor Coffman received a Master’s in Public Policy and a PhD in Health Services and Policy Analysis from the University of California, Berkeley.

Underrepresentation of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in the health professions limits the U.S. health care system’s ability to meet the needs of people in these racial/ethnic groups. A growing body of research shows that patient-physician concordance of race, language, and social characteristics strengthen the patient-physician relationship through higher levels of trust and satisfaction. This webinar will describe the barriers that BIPOC persons face in pursuing health professions education, present a framework for conceptualizing strategies for improving recruitment, retention, and academic success among BIPOC health professions trainees, and describe examples of these strategies. The presentation will focus primarily on examples from medicine and the basic sciences.

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