March 23, 2023 — The history of medical education can be traced back thousands of years, and while the practices, technologies, science and modes of learning have transformed dramatically, what has remained constant is the value of a good teacher.
“Humanism, compassion and scientific rigor — for generations, teachers have been the standard bearers of these great traditions, and this includes all our faculty here tonight,” said University of Florida College of Medicine Dean Colleen Koch, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., to a room full of dedicated educators from UF’s medical campuses in Gainesville and Jacksonville at the 23rd annual Celebration of Excellence in Medical Education Reception on March 14. “All of you have poured your hearts and souls into training our students to be the best health care leaders of tomorrow.”
The heartwarming ceremony highlighted UF’s Medical Education Week, a yearly event series hosted by the college’s Society of Teaching Scholars and Office of Educational Affairs to recognize and nurture the breadth of educational programming and wealth of passionate teachers at UF.
“Medical education is the unique purpose of a medical school,” said Heather Harrell, M.D., a professor in the department of medicine and associate dean of medical education. “Those who choose a career path in education do it because they love education and they love students. They are what make our medical education program so exceptionally strong.”
In addition to the award ceremony, Medical Education Week included presentations by faculty and guest speakers. Associate professor Ryan Nall, M.D., and guest speakers Sherilyn Smith, M.D., a professor emerita of pediatrics at the University of Washington, and Victoria Sweet, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of California, taught junior faculty, staff, students and trainees how to better support and prepare learners and evaluate teaching and practice methods.
Nall shared advice from two decades’ worth of reflective writing sessions from students during the internal medicine clerkship in his presentation, “Reflections on the Learning Environment,” on March 15 to College of Medicine listeners in Gainesville in Jacksonville.
“Reflective writing reminds us of our purpose and why what we do is so important in medical education and caring for patients,” he said.
Smith led faulty workshops on coaching skills and premiered a coaching workshop designed for medical students that included opportunities for student leaders to propose innovative coaching applications to the curriculum March 14-15 at the Harrell Medical Education Building.
Closing out the seminars on March 16, Sweet discussed slow medicine, an approach that emphasizes clinicians taking time to build connections with patients, in her talk, “Slow Medicine: Time and the Art of Healing.” Sweet shared the idea that the body is like a plant, with doctors akin to gardeners.
“When medicine is face to face and it’s personal, it works,” she said.