Richard Davidson, M.D., named associate vice president for health affairs-interprofessional education

Richard Davidson, M.D., a professor of medicine and the director of the Office of Generalist and Interdisciplinary Education of the College of Medicine, has been named associate vice president for health affairs – interprofessional education.

In the Strategic Plan for UF&Shands, interprofessional education was identified as a key focus for the education mission, given the contiguous location and overlapping educational competencies of the six colleges that comprise the University of Florida Health Science Center. In his role as associate vice president for health affairs – interprofessional education, Davidson will lead a committee consisting of the associate deans for education in the six colleges who will develop an interdisciplinary curriculum for students across the Health Science Center.

Specifically, the curriculum will train students to develop interpersonal and communication skills with other health-care providers, practice shared decision-making, manage conflicts and show flexibility when working with others. They will learn to demonstrate professional conduct during interprofessional encounters, gain knowledge of others’ disciplines and, especially, show evidence of interprofessional teamwork skills in clinical and nonclinical settings. Ultimately, joint learning opportunities for students from different health science colleges will result in more collaborative practice skills when these students become health professionals, and this in turn will lead to higher quality, safer clinical care.

Davidson has led the Office of Interdisciplinary Education for seven years and oversaw the creation of the Interdisciplinary Family Health course, then called Keeping Families Healthy, for first-year medical students in 1996. Working with his longtime colleague Rhondda Waddell, M.D., former associate director of the Program for Interdisciplinary Education, he developed two small pilot courses that led to today’s IFH course.

The course now involves more than 600 students and faculty from all six colleges and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The course gives students a robust introduction to interdisciplinary medicine and provides important experiences in community-based family health, health promotion and teamwork through home visits with underinsured families in the community.

Davidson received his medical degree from Vanderbilt University and completed his residency in internal medicine there as well. He went on to a fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also earned a master’s degree of Public Health.

At UF, he has served as the course director for Evidence-Based Medicine for more than 20 years, and has chaired the College of Medicine Curriculum Committee for 10 years. He began the Essentials of Patient Care course within the College of Medicine and also served as the director of the Area Health Education Center’s Community Health Scholars Program for more than 10 years.

He serves as an alumni distinguished teaching professor and a professor of medicine, epidemiology and health policy research, as well as chair of the College of Medicine’s Society of Teaching Scholars.