PECP celebrates fifth graduation cohort

July 30, 2021

Anesthesiology residents from the cohort of 80 PECP graduates celebrate completion of the program May 19, 2021Anesthesiology residents from the cohort of 80 PECP graduates celebrate completion of the program May 19, 2021. (Photo by Peggy Hsieh, MEd, PhD)

“The fog in her glasses helped in hiding the tears. Thank God for the masks. She knows the answer but confidence seems foreign. Whispering, her voice fainter than air, a folded rounding sheet shields her but not from the arrows of piercing eyes, ‘I don’t know.’ She needs a hug, do i break the mold?” Kevin Honan, DO, resident, Department of Internal Medicine

After the successful graduation of the fourth cohort of the Physician Educators Certificate Program (PECP) in May 2020, the fifth cohort of 80 PECP educators began an eight-month journey in September 2020, this time as a Webex Course.

Personal reflections like the one above are an integral part of the program and reflect teaching and learning during the pandemic.

The PECP is an 8-month program developed in 2016 by Peggy Hsieh, MEd, PhD, associate professor of internal medicine and director of Educational Development, with support from Patricia Butler, MD, vice dean for Educational Programs; Allison Ownby, PhD, MEd, assistant dean for Faculty and Educational Development; and Pamela Promecene, MD, associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and associate dean for Graduate Medical Education.

The program is designed to help future medical educators develop effective teaching skills to potentially prepare them for an academic career, and to fulfill LCME and ACGME accreditation requirements. Since its existence, the program has enrolled residents from more than 20 residency programs and has graduated 256 residents and fellows at McGovern Medical School.

Completion of the 2020-21 PECP required students to attend eight Webex sessions and to complete two peer observations of their own teaching while writing reflection papers after each observation based on received feedback. Upon completion of the program, residents wrote a 55-word reflection on their experiences in teaching during COVID-19.

“These are dedicated educators and learners who chose to sacrifice their weeks, weekends, and downtime to challenge themselves and extend their knowledge to become effecting educators,” Hsieh said. “Teaching required passion and will lead to joy. I hope that PECP graduated will always find joy in teaching.

“PECP graduates wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a certain person or group of people who supported and believed in them. So, thank you, program directors for encouraging them to embark on this journey.”

Many PECP graduates have accepted faculty position at McGovern Medical School and other institutions. Alumni also have been appointed to administrative roles such as program directors.

“We are grateful to Dr. Hsieh for developing and overseeing this important course focused on resident teaching skills,” Butler said. “Participants value the hands-on learning sessions and the opportunity to be mentored and supported by outstanding faculty educators. We are very interested in following up on the careers of the participants; we anticipate that many will pursue careers in academic medicine.”

The sixth PECP cohort will begin in September 2021. Applications for the program are due in August.

Change is ever present in medicine

“Many facets of life changed with the pandemic, especially within the world of medicine. Interactions: Masked, gowned, gloved or maskless but behind a screen. Both options seem so impersonal. Teaching became more difficult too. On the other side of the screen, are you listening? Are you paying attention? Time to learn new ways to teach.” Abigail Kacpura, DO, medical genetics resident, Department of Pediatrics

Shy at first, engaged at end
“Camera off, mute button on, only her name on the screen. Me, enthusiastic, camera on, eager for active participation. Intentional pauses for active discussion, at first accepted by only her co-residents. And then, a pleasant, unexpected connection, a new voice joined the group. A reminder that crafting an “inviting” learning environment can take time.” Eric Singhi MD, hematology/oncology fellow, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Should not take teaching for granted
“Others take teaching for granted, as, on the surface, it can appear easy. But being a great teacher is an art that takes practice and refining for mastery. Whether it is as simple as “how to ask questions?” or something as daunting as making a lesson plan, we all have skills that may be improved.” Roy Lei, MD, resident, Department of Anesthesiology

Education and leadership are Hand in Hand
“A chain is as strong as its weakest link. Without a good foundation, the whole team suffers. The role of an academic institution is to educate the physicians of tomorrow. Medical students will become our colleagues and will provide care to patients. Effective education will create better colleagues and ultimately lead to better patient care.” Shah-Jahan Dodwad, DO, resident, Department of Surgery

Written by: Peggy Hsieh, MEd, PhD, director of Educational Development | July 29, 2021

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