Integrative Pharmacotherapeutics Learning Communities


Accepted Poster Presentation for the Learning Communities Institute Conference at the National Conference for American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC)

Title  Integrative Pharmacotherapeutics Learning Communities

Primary Presenter  Julie Bridges

Authors and affiliations  Elza Mylona, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development  Thomas Lynch, Course Director Integrative Pharmacotherapeutics,  Ed Davidson, Adjunct Faculty Integrative Pharmacotherapeutics.


Revision of pharmacology curriculum to include integrative pharmacotherapeutics cases in learning communities.

 Program Description

The second year medical school curriculum for the pharmacology curriculum was substantially revised to include integrative pharmacotherapeutics cases.  The course revision included 9 cases to be presented to the learning communities formed in the second year courses.  These learning communities are also used in another integrative course Introduction to the Patient so the students spend some time working together in the second year in multiple scenarios.  As part of the regular integrative pharmacotherapeutics course, the 139 second year medical students were placed in groups of 6 or 7.  The cases were written by subject matter experts Tom Lynch, PharmD and Ed Davidson, PharmD, MPH on a variety of common multi-dimensional problems such as hypertension, AFib, antithrombotic therapy, Peptic ulcer disease, COPD, and Diabetes among others.  Students were presented with cases as a mechanism of review before exams.  The students used electronic resources as well as a panel of faculty experts to answer questions posed in the cases.  Groups were chosen at random to present their answers to the case questions.

 Program Evaluation

A mid-course evaluation was used to formatively evaluate the yearlong course at mid-term.  A final course evaluation was used at the end as well as a specific evaluation of the case usage.


The course evaluations were well received and immediately brought improvement in the course evaluations at mid-course that remained throughout the year.  Initially, attendance was required, but not taken at all sessions.  The students remained committed to attending the sessions even when the attendance was not taken.  Student comments reflected their appreciation of the interactivity of the sessions.

 Lessons Learned

Of the 22 groups in the learning community, 2 were dysfunctional and probably needed intervention early in the course.  The body language displayed, lack of communication in class between group members and comments on evaluations showed a distinct lack of functionality within the group.  Next year, an earlier group functionality assessment and intervention will hopefully help dysfunctional groups.  We are planning to work with our Director of Academic Development to help us do earlier interventions to improve communication and functionality in groups.


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Why is everyone flipping over education?

and what is flipped learning? Take a look at this short and very useful video about flipped learning. You will find out that flipped learning is not new, is based on research (if done correctly), and can be easy and fun. The chunking and questioning strategy outlined in the presentation will work ONLY if you write your questions at the application level or higher on blooms taxonomy. For example, instead of asking students to define terms just to make sure they watched the videos, ask students to use the information in a new way or make an argument why a statement is correct. For example, when teaching about the parts of the ankle in an anatomy class, ask the students multiple choice questions that include a scenario.

A fifteen year old female soccer player experiences an eversion sprain of her right (dominant) ankle during a game….

The choices should include some common misconceptions for distractors. In class, the discussion of why the distractors are incorrect can be pure gold and can be a good way to review the material instead of passive lecture.

View the Recording: Select the “Playback” Option once you click on the link:

Dr. Julie Schell from the University of Texas at Austin does a great job of debunking the some flipping myths…
flipping myths

MOOCS may be slipping away…

Bad news for MOOCs (massive open online courses)

This enlightening article highlights the difficulties with MOOCS and in my opinion, highlights the reason why online courses struggle. The reason? Lack of systematic instructional design. The ADDIE process is just an acronym for steps taken in a process. Real instructional design must follow a robust model that includes analysis and evaluation, the beginning and end steps that most people miss as well as inclusion of instructional strategies. Choice of strategies need to be based in research literature as well as appropriate for the learner. Find more information about the Morrison, Ross & Kemp model of instructional design here:

Tips for Lecture Capture

Campus technology AV Specialist Michael David Leiboff shares information about successfuly lecture capture and design of spaces utilizing the technology.  Of particular interest is his suggestion to follow the Khan Academy model of short videos produced by faculty members using small spaces set up for accoustically acceptable recordings.  Ideas for spaces such as faculty offices and conference rooms are suggested.  I would go one step further in recommending faculty have access to portable equipment to take home.  A surface pro or tablet PC equipped with Camtasia would work well for faculty willing to learn the moderately easy to use software for creating annotated recordings like these: 

Top 20 iPad Apps

Take a look at what is coming for 2013. I already recommend penultimate for writing notes, drawings, media etc. on an iPad. Voicethread is very cool for creating interactive presentations and Blackboard Mobile is pretty easy to use. I am going to try Socrative Dragon Dictation and Learnist next year. Stay tuned for a full report!