Since Fall 2011, entering students of UTHealth have learned about ethics and professionalism through the experiences of the Brewsters. The Brewsters are a fictional family featured in the book The Brewsters: An Active Learning Experience in Health Professional Ethics authored by Drs. Jeffrey Spike and Thomas Cole, and Mr. Richard Buday. So far, the activity has reached more than 3,800 students.
Students follow the family’s interactions with healthcare students and physicians, dentists, nurses, researchers, and other professionals in this innovative, choose-your-own adventure novel. The novel unfolds in three acts: 1) Professionalism, 2) Clinical Ethics, and 3) Research Ethics. Students choose a character for each act and make decisions along the way. At the conclusion of each act, instructional materials are provided.
At UTHealth, The Brewsters is part of the curriculum at all six schools. Students at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Medical School, and the Schools of Biomedical Informatics, Dentistry, and Public Health complete the activity through linked courses, and students at the School of Nursing participate through Orientation.
Students are also assessed through a pre- and post-examination to evaluate students’ knowledge of ethics and professionalism. Research has been conducted, presented at conferences, and published. In February 2012, Dr. Jeffrey Spike also earned first place in “Innovations in Health Science Education”, an honor awarded by The University of Texas System.
News & Reviews
- Cole, T. R. (2014, February). Ethics education in the health professions. Inside Higher Ed.
- Raine, M. (2013, September). Back to school means back to The Brewsters. McGovern Medical School News.
- Buday, R. (2012, September). New health ethics textbook written liken like a video game. PRWeb.
- Jeschke, E. A. (2012, July). Book review: The Brewsters. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics Forum.
Papers & Presentations
- Rozmus, C., Carlin, N., Polczynski, A., Spike, J., & Buday, R. (2015). The Brewsters: A new resource for interprofessional education. Nursing Ethics, 22(7), 815-826. doi:10.1177/0969733014547974
- Lunstroth, R. B., Satin, D., Tunzi, M. (2013, May). Come experience (and steal) four best practices in family medicine ethics education! Presented at the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Annual Spring Conference, Baltimore, MD.
- Lunstroth, R. B. (2013, March). The Brewsters: An interdisciplinary, interactive ethics resource for the health professions. Paper presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, San Antonio, TX.
- Carlin, N., Flaitz, C., & Polczynski, A. (2013, March). Interprofessional ethics: An innovative active-learning experience for health professional students. Poster presented at the annual meeting and exhibition of the American Dental Education Association, Seattle, WA.
- Spike, J. (2012, October). The Brewsters: Assessing ‘a novel approach’ to interprofessional healthcare ethics education. Poster presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges, MedEdPortal Poster Session, San Francisco, CA.
- Carlin, N., Seifert, W., Polczynski, A., Spike, J., & Cole, T. (2012, June). The Brewsters: A new resource for interprofessional ethics education for health professional schools. Paper presented at the 16th annual meeting of the International Association of Medical Science Educators, Portland, OR.
- Spike, J., & Cole, T. R. (2012, February). The Brewsters: An interactive adventure in ethics for the health professions. Presentation at the 8th Annual Innovations in Health Science Education Conference, Austin, TX.