Geisinger Commonwealth faculty invited to help lead upcoming Harvard Macy Institute Program for Educators in Health Professions

The program enhances professional development of physicians, basic scientists and other healthcare professionals as educators

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SCRANTON, PA (12/06/2017) Two members of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine's leadership team, alumni of the Harvard Macy Institute's Program for Educators in Health Professions, have been invited to return to Harvard as faculty for the next offering of the educational program. Harvard Macy's Program for Educators in Health Professions is designed to enhance the professional development of physicians, basic scientists and other healthcare professionals as educators.

Tanja Adonizio, M.D., associate dean for student affairs, of Clarks Summit, will serve as a faculty facilitator of a portion of the program called Journal Club. Michelle Schmude, Ed.D., associate dean for admissions, enrollment management and financial aid & assistant professor in the School of Graduate Studies, of Mountain Top, will also facilitate a Journal Club group, in addition to facilitating a project group. Finally, both Drs. Adonizio and Schmude will each "micro teach" a group of five to six attendees to help them hone their teaching skills.

"Being invited to return to Harvard Macy as faculty is a distinct honor for me and for Dr. Adonizio," Dr. Schmude said. "It is the direct result of our participation in the program last year, when we presented our e-Portfolio project."

Dr. Schmude explained that learners' acceptance to the program is highly competitive and dependent, in part, upon the quality of the project proposal potential students are required to submit with their application. The ePortfolio project was developed as a means to create a baseline and then promote and assess medical students' progress in the crucial area of professionalism.

Considered one of the six "core competencies required of all residents by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), professionalism refers to the ability of the clinician to stay connected to the altruism and idealism that initially motivates students to choose medicine as a career. A well-developed professional identity is believed to not only result in excellent patient care, but also helps physicians avoid emotional exhaustion and loss of personal fulfillment.

The ePortfolio project, introduced to the Class of 2021, will digitally collect Geisinger Commonwealth students' reflections and provide tools to develop self-directed learning. It will also log periodic assessments of each student from faculty, peers and advisors. "This will give us a 360-degree view of the student and get a sense of his or her progress from a variety of perspectives," Dr. Adonizio said.

"For Harvard Macy, the project was very timely," Dr. Schmude said. "There is a great focus on professionalism and it's something that is very difficult to assess, so having such a tool is invaluable. Also, ePortfolio can be used to track and assess core competencies and entrustable professional activities for medical students. It also has applications for developing competencies in other members of an interprofessional healthcare team. We see a wide range of ways it can be deployed."

In addition to being accepted as faculty in 2018, Dr. Schmude was also asked to write for Harvard Macy's community blog. Her first entry, Holistic Review: Fad or Future of Medical School Admissions? can be viewed at

The power of the e-Portfolio story won't end with Harvard Macy. Dr. Schmude said she and Dr. Adonizio will lead a session with Dr. Jennifer Joyce on e-Portfolio at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) annual conference in January. Entitled, Can Higher Education Recapture the Elusive American Dream, the meeting will take place in Washington, D.C. Based upon their acceptance as conference presenters, the Geisinger Commonwealth colleagues are also at work on an article that will be submitted to AAC&U's journal, International Journal of ePortfolios.