Grace Huang, MD, Editor-in-Chief of MedEdPORTAL, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, hospitalist at Beth Israel Deaconess, Director of the Rabkin Fellowship in Medical Education, Co-Director of the BIDMC Academy, and Associate Program Director in Internal Medicine
Describe your current activities.
I have a marvelously multifaceted career, and its common threads are mentorship and scholarship. My faculty development roles allow me to cultivate the careers of faculty members seeking to excel as educators and leaders. For our residency program, I am responsible for resident evaluation and remediation, which is hard, meaningful work. I am the new Editor-in-Chief of MedEdPORTAL, which gives me the privilege of witnessing and shaping the innovative teaching efforts of faculty around the world. As an investigator, I am studying critical thinking, cognitive bias, high value care, and most recently, physician wellness. Lastly, but not least, my clinical function as a hospitalist reminds me constantly of our ultimate mission as healers.
What gaps do you see in the current academic medicine scholarship?
I’ve always cherished the function of peer review. But my editorial role has given me an intimate window on its beauty…and where it falls short. I entered the position at MedEdPORTAL hoping to better explore the concept of “scholarship on scholarship” and to understand how we can build on a time-honored establishment and take it to the next level.
Name two to three seminal Academic Medicine articles that everyone in your field should read.
- Carraccio CL, Benson BJ, Nixon LJ, Derstine PL. From the educational bench to the clinical bedside: translating the Dreyfus developmental model to the learning of clinical skills. Acad Med. 2008 Aug;83(8):761-7. I have referred repeatedly to this work in my faculty development role because it casts a light how clinician-educators develop in qualitative terms. I’m also a big believer in Dreyfus’ conception of expertise development.
- Bland CJ, Starnaman S, Wersal L, Moorehead-Rosenberg L, Zonia S, Henry R. Curricular change in medical schools: how to succeed. Acad Med. 2000 Jun;75(6):575-94. This article sits right in the wheelhouse of Academic Medicine, the journal, because it targets a universal problem in academic medicine the sector. Organizational buy-in is challenging as a science, and frameworks like this provide a roadmap for leaders wanting to institute change.
- Ericsson KA. Deliberate practice and the acquisition and maintenance of expert performance in medicine and related domains. Acad Med. 2004 Oct;79(10 Suppl):S70-81. Professor Ericsson recently came to speak with us at Harvard Medical School, and it gave me a new perspective on the critical value of practice and feedback. No serious athlete or musician would get away with not practicing. And all other professionals get feedback on their performance. Yet the nature of our craft is such we only practice <5% of the time and our clinical performance is not commonly scrutinized. That what we do is arguably the most important work in the world makes this wholeheartedly distressing, and deliberate practice is a viewfinder through which we should be examining our own growth (or stagnancy) as clinicians.
What issues will we be reading about in Academic Medicine in five years?
As the interface between teacher and learner continues to blur, we will be reading more about peer learning and student-as-teacher programs.
We will fully recognize the power of simulation and will use it routinely for high stakes assessment.
Lastly, I pray in 5 years we will be reading about what we learned in conquering physician burnout.
What book(s) are you reading right now?
I really ought to read more of the kind of books that would inform my work but I tend toward escapist literature instead. I just finished Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. This book spans millennia, beginning with the premise that the fragmentation of the moon into 7 parts will lead eventually to a meteoric shower that destroys the earth. How the world grapples with this inevitability is only the first half of the book…