Melissa Fischer makes her mark in medical education

Melissa Fischer makes her mark in medical education


We’re really to have
a very timely response to the governor’s working group
on medical education and 10 core competencies. I’m Melissa Fischer, and
I’m the associate dean for undergraduate medical
education, curriculum innovation, and the
Interprofessional Center for Experiential
Learning and Simulation at the University of
Massachusetts Medical School. So I think one of the
most exciting things about medical education is
that it’s constantly changing. And for people who really are
interested in problem solving and in challenges and in
working with a wide variety of colleagues, it’s
a tremendous field. What I see coming now
in medical education is a lot of
interprofessional education, really trying to create
authentic learning environments. We have terrific partners
here with our graduate school of nursing and being
able to do that. And we’ve built a number
of different curricula, whether it’s the
community engagement through the two-week experience
where our students go out and do service
learning or whether it’s in the interprofessional center
for experiential learning and simulation. I’d say what we’re doing now is
starting to reach even further outside of our own
walls and working within the community of
Worcester, the Academic Health Collaborative,
and trying to work with other learners
in related fields as well so that our students can
start to get those experiences and think about that
team-based practice earlier on. In addition to
interprofessional education, we’re really working a lot
more on community engagement. So how do we bring patients
and community partners into our learning
experiences, and how do we help to involve them in medical
education and in medicine? Because ultimately everything
that we do is for patient care. I think that UMass is
special in that way. I think we do have
a strong community. The fact that we have
our graduate nursing school and our graduate
biomedical science school here means that we have a
high density of faculty who are really committed to
teaching, learning, innovation, and exploration. And over the years
that I’ve been here, I have had time to
reflect on the fact that I think that most
professional people and most people who are
working work hard. They work long, hard hours. As long as it’s something
that keeps you excited, that keeps you
questioning, that keeps you really moving to
find the next challenge, moving to solve the next
problem, that’s really what keeps me engaged in education. And I think that the combination
of medicine and education really has endless
possibilities and opportunities.

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