By Christin Senior | June 10, 2016 1:22 pm

College of Medicine faculty members were recently recognized for their innovative teaching methods at the Southern Group on Educational Affairs (SGEA) conference held April 13-16 in Austin, Texas.

The annual conference brings together medical educators from the southern states to share and discuss the latest research, resources and innovations in medical education.

Medical School faculty members were awarded two Medical Educational Scholarship Awards (MESA), one for a workshop and the other for a poster presentation. The awards recognize achievements in educational scholarship demonstrated by active members of the SGEA from SGEA member schools.

The winners were:

  • Outstanding Presentation Award for Undergraduate Medical Education

Workshop: “Using Concept Maps to Teach Clinical Reasoning Skills: A Flipped Workshop”

Authors: Magdalena Pasarica, M.D., Ph.D., Caridad Hernandez, M.D., Christine Bellew, M.D., Analia Castiglioni, M.D. and Denise Kay, Ph.D.

  • Outstanding Poster by a Professional Medical Educator

“Second Year Medical Student Perceptions and Pharmacology Performance in Respiratory Insufficiency High Fidelity Medical Simulations Using Cued or Non-cued Treatment Selection Approaches”

Authors: Adrienne Laurel Gorman, Ph.D., Caridad Hernandez, M.D. and Analia Castiglioni, M.D.

“This award was a good surprise for us!” said Dr. Magdalena Pasarica, an associate professor, who was presenting her work at a medical education conference for the first time thanks to a suggestion from Monica Bailey, assistant director of faculty development. “It means that our workshop was appreciated and considered significant for medical education in this part of the country. “It also goes to show that we are leaders in this field, that what we are doing here at the College of Medicine is innovative and valuable.”

For the workshop, Dr. Pasarica and her team looked at the use of concept maps –graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge — to teach clinical reasoning to first- and second-year students who have little practical clinical experience. The maps, which resemble flowcharts, allow students to organize information by mapping concepts in a way that makes it most meaningful to them.

“We found that it allowed the students to represent their knowledge and better understand what they have already learned in the module,” Dr. Pasarica noted. “The research suggests that concept maps facilitate meaningful learning, which means that they will learn the skills and be able to apply them to patient encounters.”

Dr. Gorman, an associate professor, explained that her poster presentation was based on the college’s methods of teaching pharmacology through simulations, an interactive learning system that has generated a great deal of interest nationally.

Dr. Gorman and her collaborators set up experiments to evaluate different methods of teaching pharmacology and found that students valued learning the science of drugs while simulating the real world of patient care. Students “really value the experience and it helps them to think and apply basic science to clinical therapeutics,” she said.

Dr. Gorman has also presented the research at conferences of the International Association of Medical School Educators and American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

“I am very flattered and excited that other people appreciate our work,” she explained. “It tells me that other people are valuing the research that we’re doing and that it might be useful to other people, because that is what it’s really about — contributing to the whole process of improving medical education.”

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