May 09, 2019
McGovern Medical School is working to promote a culture and environment of professionalism in our educational programs, clinical care, and research activities. The Curriculum Retreat held this past Tuesday underscored the importance of furthering a culture of learning that is respectful of all.
Our school mission is: To educate a diverse body of future physicians and biomedical scientists for a career dedicated to the highest ideals of their profession; to provide outstanding patient-centered care; and to conduct innovative research that benefits the health and well-being of the population of Texas and beyond.
Our core values are to:
- Deliver compassionate patient care focusing on effectiveness, quality, safety, and service
- Provide a competency-based curriculum emphasizing integrity and professionalism
- Embrace a culture of lifelong learning, evidence-based practice, open inquiry, and scholarship
- Cultivate professional and respectful communication
- Foster a diverse and inclusive learning community
- Support the health and well-being of students, faculty, and staff
- Promote interprofessional collaboration
- Support leadership and innovation in teaching, research, and service
- Advocate for excellent care for the underserved and for the reduction of health care disparities
It is up to each of us to uphold these core values. While our steadfast commitment to professionalism is not new, several forward-thinking initiatives at the school and university levels have been established to foster a palpable culture of professionalism:
- McGovern Medical School’s Offices of Educational Programs and Admissions and Student Affairs and the Faculty Senate have created a Taskforce on the Learning Environment and Professionalism, co-chaired by Dr. Allison Ownby, of Educational Programs, and Dr. Renee Flores from Faculty Senate, to address student concerns. In addition, a joint newsletter for students provides updates on these issues.
- A planned compact between teachers and learners, to set expectations and commitments on day one, will be established and is to be signed by both teachers and learners.
- To further encourage and increase our students’ level of comfort in reporting mistreatment, the Anonymous Student Mistreatment Portal is now using a national platform manned by Navex Global, 24/7. All reports collected through the Navex platform are reported directly to the UTHealth Compliance triage team who follow up.
- SCoPE, the Student Committee on Professionalism and Ethics, a student-driven advisory group supported by the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs, has embarked on an initiative to articulate a definition of professionalism that will help guide the school. They are engaged in two IRB-approved research projects aimed at student experiences with mistreatment and the impact of the Student Ethical Pledge on students’ perception of professionalism and ethics while in medical school.
- Directors of the Learning Environment, Dr. Vineeth John at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and Dr. John Riggs at LBJ Hospital, have been appointed to serve as faculty liaisons to students — a continued impetus for a robust dialogue focused on best practices for a positive learning environment. At the retreat this week, Dr. Riggs noted, “The highest quality of patient care occurs when we each place our highest value on preserving the dignity for all patients, their families, all members of the health care team, and all trainees. We want our patients to witness, experience, and expect a pervasive sense of respect, collegiality, kindness, and cooperation among health care team members.”
- Dr. Christine Ford, in the Office of Educational Programs, has created interactive workshops for faculty and residents addressing the learning environment in clinical settings, with sessions held in each department and residency program.
- The UTHealth Office of Faculty Affairs and Development and the Faculty Assistance Program are developing new programs to help faculty overcome challenges of burnout — a contributing factor to unprofessional behavior.
- The Faculty Assistance Program, in partnership with the Department of Psychiatry, has implemented a program to provide faculty means to identify stressors and consequences that surround unprofessional behaviors and offer support to the faculty and department leadership on long-term adaptive changes. Faculty can call the program directly or leadership can refer faculty to the program by contacting Faculty Assistance, 713-500-3880.
As we work to enhance and promote professionalism at the medical school, it is important to highlight some of the BEST professionals we work with. Just recently our students ventured into the community to serve others through acts of volunteerism, and our own Dr. Saleem Khan was highlighted by CNN for his service in Iraq. They make us proud.
P.S. Check out Dr. LaTanya Love, associate dean for Diversity and Inclusion and Admissions and Student Affairs, as she kicks off Saturday’s Dynamo game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnPMYxzMM9c