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FRAHME Grants Program Awardees

January 29, 2021

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The AAMC awarded eight $25,000 grants for a period of 18 months to U.S.-based member medical schools and teaching hospitals.

Grantees will design new methodology, or enhance existing methodology, to evaluate the impact of existing integrative arts and humanities programs or curricula across the developmental spectrum (undergraduate, graduate, continuing medical education, and interprofessional settings). Priority was given to programs that serve veterans and underrepresented minorities. This work is partially funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The AAMC appreciates the NEH’s continued support of this initiative.

Below find a complete list of the awardees and more information about their projects.

Baylor College of Medicine

Title: Tinctures of the Arts: Measuring the Effect of Medical Humanities Activities on Empathy, Burnout, and Communication in Students and Other Learners

Principal Investigator: Ricardo Nuila, MD

Team: Andrew Childress, PhD; Larry Laufman, EdD

The Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Narrative Medicine Program will sponsor and facilitate a range of interactive and educational activities, including creative writing and narrative medicine workshops, storytelling events, and a speaker series.

As part of these activities, medical students, residents, and other healthcare professionals will learn to elicit and write patients’ stories, as well as their own stories of caring for the ill. Learners will be introduced to historically marginalized and vulnerable patient populations, including veterans and patients from underprivileged backgrounds who have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learners will also have opportunities to reflect on how to incorporate the humanities into their clinical practice.

Using a variety of quantitative and qualitative research methods, BCM will study how increased exposure to medical humanities activities correlates with learners’ attitudes toward empathy, burnout, emotional intelligence, and communication with patients. We will share our approach to these structured humanities-based educational activities and the aggregate results of these resources with regional and national audiences. 

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Title: Learning to Care for Dying Patients: A Multi-Outcome Study of Humanities Interventions

Principal Investigators: Erin Gentry Lamb, PhD; Ryan Jenkins, MD

Recognizing the need for physicians to be comfortable and competent when working with dying patients, the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine seeks to measure effectiveness of both the existing medical curriculum and a humanities intervention on student preparedness for death and dying.

Drawing on guidance from both students and palliative care specialists, researchers will develop and implement an elective humanities course for a portion of M2 students consisting of four weekly one-hour discussion sessions. Co-taught by a physician and a humanities scholar, the course’s literary and artistic works (stories, poems, plays, memoirs, visual art, etc.) and discussions will invite students to explore emotional reactions to death and dying, critique medical responses to dying patients, inhabit diverse patient and family perspectives, and consider health equity in relation to death and dying.  All M2 students will then take a new objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) designed by the investigators to simulate an in-depth interaction with a dying patient, as well as retake the death anxiety measure, providing a robust qualitative assessment of the effectiveness of existing curriculum and the impact of the humanities intervention.

CUNY School of Medicine

Title: The Role of Narrative Medicine in the Development of Equity-Focused and Culturally Humble Professionalism

Principal Investigator: Lynn Hernández, PhD

Team: Erica Friedman, MD; Samantha Barrick, MS

Professionalism is a lifelong, developmental, context-specific process which can be fostered and shaped over the course of a medical students’ training and career. Reflection, both self and group, is one of the most valuable tools in medical education for teaching professionalism. However, for reflections to be effective, students must feel safe and opportunities must be developmentally appropriate. The objective of this project, The Role of Narrative Medicine in the Development of Equity-Focused and Culturally Humble Professionalism, is to examine whether a Narrative Medicine (NM) curriculum at the CUNY School of Medicine (CSOM) has the potential to create these safe spaces for students by creating multiple opportunities for students to engage in both self and group reflections through guided activities. Specifically, using a mixed-methods, experimental design, this project will evaluate the effects of a NM curriculum in fostering the development of professionalism among a diverse sample of students enrolled in our BS/MD program. Given that cultural humility is an important component of professionalism, we will also examine whether our NM curriculum leads to a greater willingness and ability for engaging in cultural humility.

Georgetown University School of Medicine

Title: Evaluating an Integrated Cross-Campus Medical Humanities Initiative

Principal Investigators: Lakshmi Krishnan, MD, PhD; Daniel Marchalik, MD, MA; Nicoletta Pireddu, PhD, MA

The Georgetown Medical Humanities Initiative, a cross-campus collaboration among Georgetown University Medical Center, College, School of Medicine Literature and Medicine Track, and Humanities Initiative, arose in response to the multifaceted challenges facing these fields, including disciplinary siloes in undergraduate, pre-health, and medical school education and a burnout epidemic amongst health professionals. Drawing on faculty and community expertise across the main and medical campuses, it has piloted integrated and team taught undergraduate, nursing, and medical student classrooms, supported opportunities for cross-campus research and mentorship, and developed a Medical Humanities speaker series. 

This grant will support a multidisciplinary team including clinicians, faculty, medical and graduate students, statisticians, and web developers to evaluate program outcomes and impact. The program will be assessed quantitatively and qualitatively, including thematic content analysis of student research, evaluation of faculty and student satisfaction, well-being, and longitudinal reflections. These outcomes, as well as educational materials, will be made available via an open-resource platform.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Title: Simulation to Assess Impact of a Health Equity-Focused Health Humanities Track in GME

Principal Investigator: Kamna S. Balhara, MD, MA

Team: Margaret S. Chisolm, MD, FAMEE; Richard Greene, MD, MHPE; Nathan Alex Irvin, MD, MSHPR, FACEP; Amanda J. Kirkpatrick, PhD, RN; Nicole L. Mollenkopf, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, BCPPS; Philip M. Reeves, PhD; Rachel Marie E. Salas, MD, MEd, FAAN; Antoinette (Toni) S. Ungaretti, PhD

An interdisciplinary team of clinicians and educators at Johns Hopkins University will develop and implement simulation-based scenarios to evaluate the impact of a health equity-focused health humanities track in graduate medical education (GME). Efforts to advance health equity require physicians to identify and navigate bias, practice cultural humility, work with interprofessional teams, and engage in continuous self-reflection. 
There is increasing evidence that integrating arts and humanities curricula into health professions education may be effective in helping learners develop these key relational and reflective skills. The project team will apply its synergistic expertise in GME, curricular evaluation, humanities, simulation, and health equity to implement and evaluate a year-long longitudinal health humanities GME track grounded in narrative medicine, visual thinking strategies, and social medicine. Curriculum effectiveness will be evaluated using simulation scenarios as surrogates for clinical environments, permitting preliminary evaluation of skill translation to clinical encounters.

The grant will support the development and implementation of two novel simulation scenarios to evaluate the impact of participation in the track on learners’ ability to 1) navigate sources of biases; 2) demonstrate cultural humility; 3) engage in collaborative practice; and 4) develop avenues for self-reflection on their role in advancing equitable healthcare. These outcomes will be evaluated by triangulating input from multiple evaluators (faculty, interprofessional colleagues, standardized patients, and self-evaluations) via a combination of validated scale-based measures and qualitative analysis of written reflections. 

Ohio State University College of Medicine

Title: Traveling on Time, the Next Horizon for Health: Journeys to Equity, Inclusiveness, and Transformation of Racism to Humanism

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Garvin, PhD, MBA

Team: Jeff Barbee DMA, MA; Leslie Burrs; Linda Stone MD, MA

The Ohio State University College of Medicine Traveling on Time: Transformation of Racism to Humanism project, as part of the Humanism in Medicine program, will implement a series of virtual presentations to juxtapose systemic racism with concepts of humanism.  The process for this series will be to integrate arts and humanities, using segments from the opera VANQUI, with reflection questions, humanistic concepts and possible solutions based on the dynamics of systemic racism illustrated in the opera. Each module will serve as a springboard to address specific areas of concern. The project team will provide commentary and pose questions to contrast threats to health from racism, with humanistic concepts and values. The team and invited speakers will also provide didactic lectures about humanism, systematic racism, anti-racism action plans and training in expressive arts, communication, and advocacy to accompany the opera pieces. Anticipated participants include; faculty, students, clinicians, patients, and the Columbus community. The series will use VANQUI as a focal point for participants to develop a digital portfolio of expressive arts renderings and journal entries, culminating in a personal and professional action plan to build equity.  

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

Title: Applied Improv to Impact Homelessness

Principal Investigators: Elizabeth Byland; Alan Dow, MD, MHSA

Team: Cherie Edwards, PhD

The Applied Improv to Impact Homelessness program seeks to use techniques of improvisational theater to decrease homelessness. The program has two intertwined goals: 1) strengthening skills of self-advocacy and problem-solving among individuals impacted by homelessness, and 2) reducing the stigma of and engender advocacy about homelessness among healthcare practitioners. During community-based sessions in transitional housing settings, individuals impacted by homelessness and medical students, residents, and faculty will collaborate in exercises that explore the challenges facing individuals impacted by homelessness. Individuals impacted by homelessness will develop strategies for negotiating the barriers to housing while healthcare practitioners and students will realize their role in supporting people to overcome challenges to stable housing. As these groups collectively learn together, they will develop insights into each other and themselves as they work toward eliminating housing instability and its impact on health and wellbeing.

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Title: Using Visual Thinking Strategies to Enhance Observation Skills Through Art and Imaging

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Mendez, PhD

Team: David Amponsah, MD; Holly Feen-Calligan, PhD; Grace Serra, CFPCA

The Wayne State University School of Medicine will establish a cross-disciplinary study with the university’s Art Therapy and Arts Administration programs on the use of formal art observation, using the university art collection to learn and practice Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) to enrich medical students’ and art therapy students’ visual literacy, with the ability to translate and interpret imaging important in the understanding of the patient perspective in relationship to their health. While medical students readily master the technical skills required for reviewing patient ultrasound images, interpretation of the images is a challenge and an unmet curriculum need. Through this interprofessional collaboration, medical students will overcome difficulty in translating two-dimensional ultrasound monitor images to three-dimensional anatomical structures in patients. The pilot study will involve 30 medical students, 30 art therapy students and 10 arts administration students. Data on the frequency of accurate reading and observations on ultrasound visual skills examination pre- versus post-training will be collected and evaluated.

The Fundamental Role of the Humanities and Arts in Medical Education has been made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (Federal Award ID Number: AH-268665-19).

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