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    The “Shoestring” Award - Bronze

    Grateful Patient Giving - Medical Philanthropy Academy’s Guidebook for Providers

    Medical Philanthropy Academy, 2020 Cohort
    Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

    The Medical Philanthropy Academy (MPA) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) exists to support and train members of our clinical team in a shared effort to tell grateful patient stories that train philanthropic partners and increase overall giving at VCU. The MPA was launched at VCU in March 2019 using content developed by Frank Interlichia at Marts and Lundy, a paid consultant with experience in developing similar educational philanthropy programs at other institutions. For subsequent cohorts, we were required to phase out the use of the consultant to reduce the program budget to zero.

    Due to the challenge presented by COVID-19, we had to quickly pivot to a digital format which required the program to be adjusted under a complete budget reduction. In light of the challenges, we completely overhauled the content taking it online through a series of Blackboard courses, discussion board posts, and two live Zoom sessions. Surprisingly, this increased attendance and the post program surveys indicated a higher level of engagement. Considering the success of the new format, we have chosen to continue virtually, even after social distancing and event restrictions are lifted.

    Carrie Mills and Molly Oudekerk
    Carrie Mills and Molly Oudekerk

    What was the most impactful part of your award-winning entry?
    The most impactful part of the program was the increased participation and post-session survey results that indicated increased engagement. The program had a 30% increase in the number of physician graduates. Another improvement in the program was that post-session surveys showed a 15% increase in the engagement measurement scale.

    What is one thing you learned from this experience?
    Digital format trainings (including breakout rooms) are something that should be considered, even if the catalyst isn't a global pandemic. The digital format gives greater flexibility to participants with dynamic clinic responsibilities to their patients. This format also puts the focus on the session content as opposed to the meeting place, time, food, etc.

    What challenge did you overcome?
    A lack of experience in online teaching platforms and session design.


    Carrie Mills, Carrie.R.Mills@vcuhealth.org