Collaborating to improve the integration of basic science into health professions education and practice

Lecture by: Leslie H. Fall, MD
Presented at the 2017 CLIME Together Symposium for Excellence in Health Professions Education at the Talaris Conference Center (Seattle, WA)

The 2015 Institute of Medicine report on “Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare” notes that diagnosis and diagnostic errors have been largely unappreciated in efforts to improve the quality and safety of healthcare. One of the primary roles of health care training programs is to help learners develop medical decision-making skills, and to do so with graduated levels of independence. Effective cognitive integration of basic and clinical science concepts plays an essential role in enhancing diagnostic accuracy for novice clinicians. Furthermore, the ability to transfer knowledge obtained in one clinical context to solve a new problem, or the same problem in another context, is critical to the development of clinical expertise.

Unfortunately, many students who have demonstrate adequate basic science understanding in the preclinical curriculum are often unable to apply this knowledge to clinical problem-solving. Meanwhile, the relevant scientific knowledge of both basic and clinical instructors is often encapsulated, challenging their ability to help students learn and effectively integrate and use core concepts. In this hour, we will explore the reasons behind expert knowledge encapsulation, and consider collaborative methods for “unpacking” instructors’ knowledge and reinforcing its connections to clinical decisions in order to facilitate student activation of their basic science knowledge, improving both diagnostic accuracy and long-term retention, towards the ultimate end of clinical entrustment. 

Dr. Leslie H. Fall is a nationally recognized expert in faculty development, learning design and use of technology in medical education. She is the former Associate Dean for Faculty Development, and co-led the Pedagogy, Teaching and Mentorship Working Group for the Dartmouth College strategic plan. Following a pediatric residency at the University of California at Irvine, Leslie completed a medical education fellowship at Michigan State University in 1995 and has over 10 years of experience as a clerkship director and five years’ experience as a residency program director. She is a 2013 fellow of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine for women (ELAM).

Leslie is also the co-founder and executive director of MedU, a non-profit social enterprise with a mission to advance medical education through collaborative development, dissemination and research of technology-enabled medical education programs. The majority of US and Canadian medical schools subscribe to at least one of MedU’s virtual patient courses, with over 30,000 registered new users per year and over 800,000 case sessions completed annually. She looks forward to mentoring faculty in curriculum development, learning design, clinical skills coaching, educational leadership and scholarship, entrepreneurship, and career planning.