Published June 22, 2011
Kilian May, MD ’01, jumped at the chance to enroll in a medical educator training program offered jointly by the University at Buffalo and London’s Royal College of Physicians (RCP).
“I first heard about this program as a resident, and it was a big advantage to staying on as a faculty member here,” says May, assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology.
“It’s a unique training program that many places don’t offer.”
Organized through the Office of Continuing Medical Education, the program helps faculty hone their clinical teaching skills. It consists of two three-day workshops, one in the fall and one in the spring, and peer support group meetings held during the year.
"The ultimate goal is to produce better doctors."
Most medical faculty receive little or no formal education in teaching. And yet, in GME surveys, medical students and residents consistently rank the caliber of teaching as one of their top factors when considering residency programs, says Berger.
“We know that medical students and residents have a choice of where they train, and that quality teaching influences that choice.”
During the RCP’s visit to UB this spring, May was among 14 faculty members who attended a workshop that addressed lesson planning, strategies to assess residents’ performance, working with challenging learners and related topics.
“Teaching is something we do every day—and we’re expected to do it well—but learning how to teach isn’t in the curriculum of our medical training,” May says.
“This program offers us an opportunity to have more structure when we teach, with proven ways of engaging the learner.”
Since UB introduced the workshops in 2006, more than 70 faculty and staff have participated and 45 have received the UB/RCP educator accreditation, which requires a final report on two educational initiatives they introduced in their teaching.
Jason Adsit, director of UB’s Teaching and Learning Center, says the workshops spark “substantive and riveting conversations about real world challenges faced by people engaged in teaching residents and medical students.”
Berger would like to use the program as the foundation for a master’s degree program in medical education at UB.
“We have an excellent school of education that offers master’s level training, but courses primarily target more traditional teaching,” she says.
“Clinical teaching is unique. The master's of medical education would build on what we’re doing with RCP and would include a required research component.”