Bright named Distinguished Faculty in Professionalism Education

By Roman Petrowski, Office of Communications

Dr. Asia Bright - Distinguished Faculty Award in Professionalism Education
Asia Bright, PhD

The McGovern Medical School Office of Professionalism has named Asia Bright, PhD, assistant professor in the Louis A. Faillace, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and director of the Office of Professionalism, as the winner of the John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Distinguished Faculty Award in Professionalism Education.

“It is an honor to win this award but also a testament to how McGovern supports innovation and novel tools for medical education,” Bright said. “I feel encouraged in my commitment to the organization and the future of our students and faculty.”

The John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Distinguished Faculty Award in Professionalism Education is awarded to faculty who have established one or more successful programs in promoting education in aspects of professionalism for learners enrolled in McGovern Medical School undergraduate or graduate programs. Recipients of the award receive $2,500 and are honored at an award ceremony where they provide a brief presentation on their contributions.

Examples of professional education programs include, but are not limited to, professional identity formation, faculty development in assessing professionalism, organizational professionalism efforts, resiliency building initiatives, assessing and remedying professional lapses, interprofessional education, and failing successfully.

Working with the Student Committee on Professionalism and Ethics (SCoPE), Bright has developed a hands-on workshop within the Doctoring course to address structural inequities within healthcare. The partnership between SCoPE and Bright allows teaching through real-life examples of systemic disparities.

“By engaging with students in a dialogue that extends beyond theoretical understanding, I am able to provide a platform for students to explore the challenges and potential solutions to these issues in the context of their future professional practices,” Bright said. “Moreover, partnering with students to facilitate this session further demonstrates that professional identity formation starts early in your career.”

Additionally, Bright is a co-principal investigator on a pair of grants on interprofessional education for underrepresented students. Bright received $20,000 alongside Wunmi Aibana, MD, MPH; and Jennifer Swails, MD, from the American Board of Internal Medicine for a project titled “Getting students from underrepresented communities into the GAME (Growth and Mutual Enrichment for communities and universities),” which recruits 15 students annually from underrepresented communities to bridge the gap in healthcare education by providing opportunities for these students to contribute to and benefit from the IPE initiatives at McGovern Medical School.

The second grant, in partnership with Robert Spears, PhD, associate dean for Student and Academic Affairs for the UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry, and Erica Yu, PhD, RN, associate dean and department chair for Undergraduate Studies at Cizik School of Nursing, funds the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP), which allows 80 pre-health undergraduates from around the nation to attend McGovern Medical School for a 6-week, interprofessional experience for enrichment and entrance into the health professions. Funding for the program is provided through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and helps lay the groundwork for PIF, resilience, wellness, and IPE for future healthcare practitioners.

Bright graduated from Rice University in 2014 and received her PhD in experimental social psychology from the University of Vermont in 2018. After stints at the Vermont Department of Health and the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, Bright joined the faculty at McGovern Medical School in January 2020.