What is valued in health professions teaching and learning

Joan Ann Engelhardt, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background: For the past decade, a series of reports from the Institute of Medicine have focused on the call for reforming health professions (HPs) education to meet the desirable goal of producing the humanistic practitioners of the future. The training of HP students is a critical component in the ultimate role performance and identity espoused by future health care practitioners. The objective of this study is twofold: to discover professors' cognitive descriptions of teaching excellence; and to discover what HP students value in their educational experience. This may provide insight into how students will choose to perform their roles and interact with patients and community groups. Methods: A qualitative approach was employed to discover faculty or student perceptions of teaching and learning excellence within two curricular settings: one uni-professional public health school (SPH); and the other within an interprofessional (medicine, public health, and physician assistant) HPs elective. The SPH study employed Appreciative Inquiry as the methodological foundation. Results: The themes identified from these interviews at a SPH were (1) prerequisites to learning, (2) how students best learn, (3) teachers' roles and responsibilities, and (4) actualizing professional development. Three themes were identified from the student self-reflection papers of students who attended the interprofessional STEER program elective from 1996-2009: (1) Increased awareness of the environmental conditions in the community, (2) developing understanding of the relevance of relationships with communities, and (3) recognition of the need and a desire to expand personally and professionally. Conclusion: The SPH study portrayed a baseline portrait of the components of teaching and learning excellence, suggested additions to addressing the problem areas noted by the calls for reform, and prompted ideas for further investigation. Analysis from the STEER community-based program revealed that authentic community-based encounters may elevate students' understanding of the relevance of the determinants of health and the complexities inherent in the pursuit of health at this border region. Knowing what patients and communities face may help offset the dehumanization so often seen in the prevailing practice of health care. Overall conclusion: these studies suggested examples for re-conceptualizations of teaching and learning.^

Subject Area

Educational evaluation|Public health education|Health sciences

Recommended Citation

Engelhardt, Joan Ann, "What is valued in health professions teaching and learning" (2015). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3720079.