Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How do we educate physicians?

I want to point you to a brilliantly written post by Carl Wieman

While there is still much to be learned, there is enormously more known now than existed when the teaching methods in use in most college classrooms today were introduced and standardized. Briefly summarizing a large field, research has established that people do not develop true understanding of a complex subject like science by listening passively to explanations.

True understanding only comes through the student actively constructing their own understanding through a process of mentally building on their prior thinking and knowledge through “effortful study”.(2) This construction of learning is dependent on the epistemologies and beliefs they bring to the subject and these are readily affected (positively or negatively) by instructional practices.(3,4) Furthermore, we know that expert competence is made up of several features. (1,2)

Why do I mention this now. Because I was asked by a very learned student.....How do we teach doctors about genomic medicine? How do we get it out into practice?

I told him......"Look around. Do you see this wonderful institution with new buildings coming up? Those buildings are dedicated to molecular medicine. You would think some of the dollars spent on building....would be spent on building knowledge and understanding of the practitioners of today AND tomorrow"

The sad isn't, and Dr Wieman has some wonderful reasons why....

Faculty members’ responsibilities are far different from what they were several decades ago. This is particularly true at the large research universities that stand at the top of the higher education pyramid and train nearly all the higher education faculty.

The modern research university now plays a major role in knowledge acquisition and application in science and engineering, through the efforts of the faculty. Running a research program has become a necessary part of nearly every science and engineering faculty member’s activities, and it is often the most well recognized and rewarded part.

This is so true....when an institution becomes known for how many Howard Hughes Investigators they have rather than how many X award Teachers there are. Are there any comporable awards in teaching? This is a very telling sign..... I mean each institution has its own....but are there any great national awards???? That pay for that person's teaching efforts each year?

He concludes that effective teaching is:

The most effective teaching of science is based upon having the student fully mentally engaged with suitably challenging intellectual tasks, determining their thinking, and providing specific targeted and timely feedback on all these relevant facets of their thinking to support the student's ongoing mental construction process.


The Sherpa Says:

The rate limiting step in genomic medicine is education. Yet why are our major universities failing to teach? Because that's not where the money is at......Sad how we reward knowledge acquisition but not applicability. That'll catch up with us. especially as we have new knowledge but no one to use it..........not exactly a good business model....or a way to run the healthcare system.

No comments: