BUSM+ Digital Badge Program Offers One-Click Medical Education

By Gail March, Ph.D.

BUSM BadgesMicro-credentialing with digital badges is a quickly growing and innovative area of training. This form of online education is very successful in corporate training to keep employees  updated on all new concepts, products, and processes and to recognize their time and effort in learning. Thinking that the technique could be applied to medical education, I started the Boston University School of Medicine Medical Education Digital Badge Program (BUSM+), an online, digital badge program for health care professionals who want to enhance their understanding of the fundamentals of teaching and learning. The idea program combines the openness of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) with the popularity of scout achievement badges.

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A Conversation with Clay Johnston, Inaugural Dean of Dell Medical School

By Jennifer J. Salopek

Johnston, Clay 2014 (Photo by Marsha Miller)

S. Claiborne “Clay” Johnston, MD, was named inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin in January 2014. A practicing neurologist, he was formerly associate vice chancellor of research at the University of California, San Francisco. He spoke with Wing of Zock Editor Jennifer Salopek by telephone on May 13, 2015.

Salopek: What opportunities for innovation does being the dean of a new medical school bring?

Johnston: It’s a huge opportunity. If you’re ready to take on the challenge, you can take a look at all aspects of academic medicine—the way we train medical students, the way we train residents, the way we provide clinical care, the way we interact with the community. We really have an opportunity to rethink the whole academic enterprise.

Salopek: You’ve published an article called “10 Backward Things About Our Health Care System.” Which of those problems can a new kind of medical school address? For example, many that you cite are payment issues. Continue reading A Conversation with Clay Johnston, Inaugural Dean of Dell Medical School

To the #MedSchool Class of 2015: Your Future in Medicine and the Triple Aim

By Susan Dentzer

I recently had the honor of offering the address at the hooding ceremony at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. In attempting to craft a memorable message, I reflected on the journeys that these students had completed as well as those that they were undertaking, and how their futures were directly linked to our continuing pursuit of the Triple Aim. Here’s an abridged version of what I told them:

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Using Apple Research Kit for Asthma Mobile Health Study

By Jennifer Salopek

Apple launched its Research Kit on March 9, “giving medical researchers the tools to revolutionize medical studies,” according to a press release. The kit comprised five iPhone apps to gather data from participants with asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. The Asthma Health app was developed by a team at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, led by Yvonne Chan, MD, PhD, FACEP. At a presentation at the AAMC Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems meeting in Austin last month, Chan detailed the preliminary results generated by the app.

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Agents of Change

By Ulfat Shaikh, MD, MPH, MS

We held our 5th Annual UC Davis Quality Forum last month. In true pediatrician-style, as the Quality Forum turns five this year, let me reflect on some of our developmental milestones.

The Forum was conceived as a germ of an idea back in 2010 with the goal of enhancing the visibility of our local clinical quality improvement (QI) efforts. At that time, we thought it was a brilliant idea, of course. As 2011 grew closer, our nervousness as new parents grew and we realized that the risk of us falling flat on our faces was very real. I am glad to report that 25 whole abstracts were submitted that first year. About 60 committed people showed up. That was the year of many firsts. We started walking and talking, spreading the word to anyone who cared to listen. Learnt to follow directions from people across the health system, and understood the concept of “no”.

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Thoughts from a #MedSchool Professor on the End of the Academic Year


We have made it through another academic year. We will welcome the Class of 2015 into the fold of graduates (from undergraduate programs, medical school and other graduate programs). I always try to reflect on what has been surprising for me during this past academic year and what goals I will set for myself (as a professor and as a physician) for the upcoming year. I am reminded of my own graduation from medical school with my hopes and fears of the unknown aspects of starting the next chapter in my career/life. Now, many years out, I am very happy that I see that I have challenges ahead, goals ahead and things to reflect upon. Continue reading Thoughts from a #MedSchool Professor on the End of the Academic Year

Health Wearables and the Yeshwant Table

By Benjamin Robbins

Hundreds of people gathered in an event space in Google’s Cambridge, MA, office last month to demo the latest in health wearables and watch the final round of a health tech competition co-sponsored by Google, Anthem, MedTech Boston, and Medstro.com. The event suggests  that we may be seeing a striking evolution of fitness-oriented health wearables to devices with the potential to improve patient care.

I’ll admit that I had relatively low expectations – imagining walking into a room full of devices designed to keep already-healthy people marginally more healthy. However, when I arrived I was struck by the number of knowledgeable medical experts who had built devices that seemed like they could truly help alleviate or prevent suffering caused by disease.

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Making Research Careers Sound Cool, Jimmy Kimmel-Style

By Samantha Ngooi, MPP, and Vineet Arora, MD, MAPP

When we got an NIH grant last year to ascertain how teens could get their peers interested in research careers, we did not anticipate turning to Jimmy Kimmel for inspiration.

Kimmel’s “Lie Witness News” segment is notorious for asking unsuspecting pedestrians to share their opinions about ridiculous topics from a new “scented” iPhone to the “appointment” of Judge Judy to the U.S. Supreme Court. While the interviews are purely for amusement, at times they reveal an embarrassing lack of knowledge among members of the public, adding weight to the saying, “Don’t ask questions you don’t really want the answer to.” Continue reading Making Research Careers Sound Cool, Jimmy Kimmel-Style