Medical Education Research

The department conducts educational research projects utilizing simulation, virtual patients, standardized patients, and innovative techniques in medical education.

Communicating Bad News Simulation Training Module
A collaborative effort involving Dr. Jo Marie Janco, a third-year resident; Dr. Hope Ricciotti; and faculty from the Division of Medical Oncology are working to implement and evaluate simulated training modules for delivering bad news to patients to provide residents with training and evaluation in this important communication skill.

Obstetrical Emergencies Simulation Training
Dr. Toni Golen, Director of Quality Assurance; and Dr. Mary Vadnais, a third year Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellow,  are evaluating an obstetrics emergencies simulation training program for faculty, fellows and residents for uncommon but serious clinical events to determine the optimal training frequency and the perceived effect of the program on abilities to perform clinical care.

Obstetrical Virtual Patient Project
Dr. Hope Ricciotti developed a normal pregnancy virtual patient funded by the Macy Foundation, as part of a series produced by the Shapiro Institute for Education and Research. The educational effect of the OB Virtual Patient as a teaching tool was evaluated in a randomized, controlled study of Harvard Medical Students.

Resident as Teacher Program
Drs. Hope Ricciotti and K. Meredith Atkins lead a program using simulated medical student teaching encounters to train residents in teaching skills using a video-taped format with immediate faculty feedback and self-reflection.

Simulated Surgical Skills Training
Dr. Hye-Chun Hur, Director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Program, is evaluating the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) program as a training and assessment tool for surgical competence. The FLS program consists of a cognitive and psycho motor skills component, and is a joint educational effort initiated by SAGES and supported by the American College of Surgeons.

Simulator development
Dr. Chris Awtrey, Interim Division Director of Gynecologic Oncology, developed and evaluated a novel laparoscopic simulator to train residents in pelvic surgery suturing skills. The Pelv-sim is a modified box trainer that can be used by trainees and faculty to hone their suturing skill before going to the operating room with a patient. Currently Dr. Awtrey is developing and testing a laparoscopic sacrocolpopexy box trainer that simulates one of the most technically difficult advanced gynecologic procedures for the treatment of women with pelvic organ prolapse.

Sleep Deprivation and Surgical Skills
Dr. Chris Awtrey and Dr. Anna Lyapis, chief resident, are studying the effect of sleep deprivation on faculty surgical skills using a virtual reality trainer.

Teaching Scripts in OB/GYN
Dr. K .Meredith Atkins is leading a project to investigate the use of teaching scripts in the field of OB/GYN as a way to improve the teaching of medical students.