Public Release:  David Irby and Richard Reznick are awarded prize in medical education research

Karolinska Institutet

Professors David M. Irby and Richard K. Reznick are awarded the 2010 Karolinska Institutet Prize for Research in Medical Education. They have both paved the way to innovative application of quantitative and qualitative methods within medical education research.

Professor Irby, Vice Dean for Education at UCSF School of Medicine in San Francisco, California, United States, receives the prize for his finding that medical expertise is necessary, yet insufficient, in order to become a great teacher in medicine.

Professor Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, receives the prize for his work in surgical education, including the development of approaches to assessing surgical competence, as well as his role in the development of a surgical safety checklist. This is today used globally and has proved to considerably improve surgical success.

Professors Irby and Reznick will receive the award, and share a prize amount of €50,000, at a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, on 3 November.

"Professors Irby and Reznick have both paved the way to innovative application of quantitative and qualitative methods which led to novel insight within medical education research. Their work has facilitated the development of assessment and evaluation tools that have been of paramount importance in guiding the redesign of clinical instruction and clinical curricula not only in their country of origin but also internationally. Professors Irby and Reznick have inspired colleagues and researchers worldwide and have greatly influenced clinical practice," says Professor Sari Ponzer, Dean of Education at Karolinska Institutet.

Professor Irby's research on clinical education demonstrates that clinical teachers' medical expertise is necessary, yet insufficient, to foster learning. Efficient and inspiring teaching is also about knowing how to teach, understanding the learners and adapting instruction to meet the learner's needs. Enthusiasm, clarity and professionalism are other important factors. His research has spurred faculty development programmes to support effective clinical teaching and learning, including practical teaching tips. Professor Irby's investigations have sought to identify best teaching practices, explain how and why they work, and thereby improve the quality of medical education.

Commenting on his prize win, Professor Irby says: "It's such an honour to be recognised for this prize and to share it with my colleague and friend Professor Reznick. I'm delighted and thrilled beyond measure. This prize affirms my personal mission of transforming medical education into an inspiring process and brings great honour to my colleagues at UCSF and the University of Washington."

Professor Reznick is active in both colorectal surgery and research in medical education. His primary research into surgical education has focused on the assessment and technical skill acquisition and simulation, with the aim of improving practice. He participated in the development of a checklist that today is used globally to reduce surgical complications. This has proved to considerably improve surgical success.

Professor Reznick's work in surgical assessment and simulation has resulted in the development of a competency-based curriculum that has radically reformed the way in which surgeons are trained.

Professor Reznick comments: "It's an enormous honour to be recognised for this prize, especially along with Professor Irby who I know very well. The prize is appreciated with respect to personal recognition, but is more significant as an affirmation that surgical education can be a bona fide academic pathway. Thirty years ago, when I embarked upon a career in surgical education, the idea was novel and considered by some to be a "fringe activity". Now, surgical education is accepted as an important area in which surgeons can make substantial scholarly contributions."

Both prize winners will hold lectures at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm on 2 November. David Irby's speech is titled 'Rethinking Clinical Teaching from the Ground Up'. Richard Reznick's lecture is titled 'It's more than just competency-based education: It's about radical curricular change'.

Background information:

Karolinska Institutet Prize for Research in Medical Education

This international prize is awarded for outstanding research in medical education. The purpose of the prize is to recognise and stimulate high-quality research in the field and to promote long-term improvements of educational practices in medical training. "Medical" includes all education and training for any health science profession. The prize is made possible through financial support from the Gunnar Höglund and Anna-Stina Malmborg Foundation. It is currently awarded every second year.

The 2010 Karolinska Institutet Prize for Research in Medical Education will be awarded to Professors David M. Irby and Richard K. Reznick, in Stockholm, Sweden on 3 November 2010.

Previous winners:
2008 - Professor Geoffrey R. Norman, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
2006 - Professor Ronald M. Harden, Centre for Medical Education, University of Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
2004 - Professor Henk G. Schmidt, Rector Magnificus, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

David M. Irby

Professor David M. Irby, born 1944, is Vice Dean for Education and Professor of Medicine at UCSF School of Medicine in San Francisco, California, United States.

Professor Irby's stringent research on clinical education has had a great impact on the realisation that clinical teachers' medical expertise is necessary, yet insufficient, to foster learning. Efficient and inspiring clinical teaching is also about knowing how to communicate clinical knowledge in instructionally powerful and contextually appropriate ways to meet the learning needs of specific students and residents. His results have spurred faculty development programmes to support effective clinical teaching and learning. Professor Irby's research in both inpatient and ambulatory settings has provided faculties with necessary instruments for assessing clinical teaching.

His work, in conjunction with others, helped move the field of medical education research from the predominant use of behavioural learning theories and quantitative research methods towards greater use of cognitive and social learning theories coupled with qualitative research methods.

The three cornerstones of Professor Irby's work have been to advance understanding of clinical teaching, share best practices through faculty development and publications, and continuously improve medical curricula.

Professor Irby began his research using behavioural learning theories and survey research methods to identify the characteristics of best and worst clinical teachers in medicine. What defines a great teacher and what do they do?, was the question asked. Using factor analysis, multiple dimensions of teaching effectiveness were identified: knowledge, clarity, enthusiasm, skillful interactions, clinical supervision, clinical competence and professionalism. This research led to the development and validation of clinical teacher assessment forms that are now being used by medical schools nationally and internationally.

In 1990, Professor Irby initiated a new line of cognitive research on distinguished clinical teachers in medicine. This research examined the knowledge base of clinical teachers (knowledge of medicine, patients, learners, environment, general teaching methods, and case-based teaching scripts), the instructional reasoning processes surrounding case presentations (diagnosing the patient, diagnosing the learner and teaching to the learner's point of need), and the ways in which excellent teachers organise their teaching rounds to make them exciting learning experiences. This scholarship has been referenced extensively because of its exemplary use of rigorous qualitative research methods and its direct applicability to faculty development.

As principal investigator and director of the Center for Medical Education Research at the University of Washington, Professor Irby and his team initiated a series of studies associated with the cost and quality of ambulatory education, medical student specialty choice, and minority recruitment and retention programmes. Further research on time efficient clinical teaching strategies included studies on the effectiveness of the One Minute Preceptor model of clinical teaching, which he popularised nationally.

Professor Irby has used the results of his research to create clinical teaching assessment instruments, design faculty development workshops and guide curricular reform. At UCSF, he has transformed the curriculum, established an Office of Medical Education and a Teaching Scholars Programme, helped launch the Haile T. Debas Academy of Medical Educators, and stimulated educational innovation and research. This year Professor Irby and his colleagues, Professors Cooke and O'Brien, published the results of their five-year study of medical education in the United States, sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching: Educating Physicians: A Call for Reform of Medical School and Residency.

Richard K. Reznick

Professor Richard K. Reznick, born 1952, is Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He holds an MD (McGill) and an MA (Southern Illinois). He is a Fellow of both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American College of Surgeons.

Professor Reznick has been active in both colorectal surgery and research in medical education since 1987. His research into surgical education has focused on assessment and technical skill acquisition. He was the inaugural director of the University of Toronto Centre for Research in Education at University Health Network, now known as the Wilson Centre.

He was instrumental in developing a performance-based examination that is now used for medical licensure in Canada. This has led to an augmented focus on clinical skills teaching in medical schools worldwide. He also facilitated the development of a checklist that today is used globally to reduce surgical complications. This includes aspects of surgery preparation, including listing details on the patient, surgery equipment, medicines, team communication etc. Experiments have proven that the introduction of the checklist improved surgery success levels considerably.

Professor Reznick's focus on non-technical safety aspects such as team communication and interprofessional collaboration has been highly influential in the promotion of safer surgery practice. His research has been instrumental in the assessment and training of surgical skills and their transfer from simulated to clinical environments.

Until recently, Professor Reznick ran a research programme on assessment of technical competence for surgeons and also supervised a fellowship programme on surgical education. He shared his time between being involved in clinical care of patients, research into medical education, as well as various administrative responsibilities. On 1 July, 2010, he was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Following medical studies, as well as a surgical internship and residency at the University of Toronto, Professor Reznick spent two years in community surgical practice. He then decided to pursue an academic career, and thus developed a pathway to succeed in this goal. This led to the decision to pursue studies in medical education, at the time a relatively novel concept.

To accomplish this, he gave up his community practice to travel to Springfield, Illinois, to pursue studies at Southern Illinois University. There, he received a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology.

"I didn't know what I was getting into but it turned out to be an extraordinary education. As somewhat of an experimental student, I had the good fortune to receive one on one tutorials from ten educationalists, all of whom subsequently became leaders in their fields."

After starting his career in colorectal surgery in 1987, Professor Reznick started to push the field of educational science within medicine. He was one of the first clinicians with special training in the educational area. This coincided with a change in medical education in the late 1980s. Among the changes was a new approach of testing medical trainees and the addition of an element of licensing examination across Canada, the first country to use the examination nationally. The latter is still used globally as a tool of assessing medical students.

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Press images: http://ki.se/pressroom. The press office also has generic video material available of educational and research environments at Karolinska Institutet.

For further information, contact:
Professor Sari Ponzer, Dean of Education
Tel: +46 (0)8 524 865 74 or +46 (0)73 973 26 89
Email: sari.ponzer@ki.se

Professor Peter Aspelin, Chair of the prize committee, Karolinska Institutet Prize for Research in Medical Education
Tel: +46 (0)8 585 862 36 or +46 (0)70 634 06 24
Email: peter.aspelin@ki.se

Press officer Sabina Bossi
Tel: +46 (0)8 524 860 66 or +46 (0)70 614 60 66
Email: sabina.bossi@ki.se

Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. Its mission is to contribute to the improvement of human health through research and education. Karolinska Institutet accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden, and offers the country's broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. Since 1901 the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.

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