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A Teaching Scholars Program to Develop Leaders in Medical Education Steinert et al Aca Med 78(2) Feb 2003 Reviewed by: Angela M Sharkey, Washington University, St.Louis


A Teaching Scholars Program to Develop Leaders in Medical Education
Steinert et al Aca Med 78(2) Feb 2003

Reviewed by: Angela M Sharkey, Washington University, St.Louis

This article is a review of the Teaching Scholars Program for Educators in the Health Sciences at McGill University. The goal of this program, which began in 1997, as stated in the paper is to develop leaders in medical education. The aims are to promote increasing expertise in developing educational programs and assuming leadership roles in education. The program emphasizes four major themes: curriculum design and innovation, effective teaching methods and evaluation strategies, program evaluation, and research in medical education. The program is year long. The curriculum includes two university courses in the Departments of Education, Epidemiology or Management, independent study in the four major theme areas, participation in faculty-wide development workshops, a monthly seminar and attendance at a national or international conference.

Participants were expected to spend a minimum of two half days per week to meet these requirements. Funding from a private foundation covers the cost of the university course hours, travel to a meeting, and support for a research project. There is NO salary support provided. The faculty consist of three physicians and a clinical psychologist. To date, there have been 22 participants. This report covers the immediate and one year follow up feedback from the 15 course participants who had completed the program by September 2000.Scholars were from Departments of Medicine (3), Surgery (4), Family Medicine (2), Pediatrics (4), Anesthesia (1), and Otolaryngology (1).

There are no statistics or Likert rating information provided from the faculty feedback. Comments noted in the Evaluation and Discussion sections are overall quite positive. Faculty participants felt they were able to achieve their goals for the program. They felt they had a more structured approach to their teaching and learning and a better context for information presentation. Strengths of the program included advancing knowledge of curriculum design and adult learning theory, better small group facilitation, improvement of administrative skills, and networking (SOUNDS AN AWFUL LOT LIKE HOW I FEEL AFTER A COMSEP MEETING). The primary limitation observed by program participants was lack of time!

Eight scholars developed additional courses at their institutions based on their initiatives gained at the program. Eight presented the results of their projects at a national or international meeting. Two have published aspects of their independent study. Four designed research grant proposals that were funded. Six of the scholars developed faculty development workshops at their home institution, four conducted educational workshops at scientific meetings within their medical specialty.

Comment: This program offers an opportunity to participate in a structured Educational program with the goal of furthering careers of the participants and offering an enhanced construct for educational opportunities within the Department/Division of the participants. The program was perceived as a positive experience as best we can tell from the information provided. Certainly the achievement of funding for research initiatives and publications speak well for the program. It would be helpful to have rated feed-back for analysis rather than only written comment. There will be a need to evaluate participants on an ongoing basis to see if the changes/perceived value of the program is durable. Have any COMSEP members participated in the program ??

(So - it seems that more programs are popping up to provide formal faculty development to nurture a core group of faculty that would be leaders in medical education. There are 3 types.

1. Formal outside programs with degrees attached - like USC, Southern Illinois, Michigan State, Stanford and Harvard MACY;

2. Internal Academies - UCSF, Harvard, Baylor; and

3. Informal - in house - programs - for everyone else.

Are you considering - or have you already partaken in formal training outside of you institution - like a formal education degree - or a certificate from an outside program - like the Harvard Macy program? Do you have access to a faculty development program at your institution, which provides support to become a bonafide medical educator? Do you think you would participate in a program like this, if you did not receive any salary support? Do you think that all schools should be developing an academy for teachers, in the model of UCSF, Harvard, Baylor etc.? Steve Miller)

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