“Strategies for Humanism: Applying Humanism in Practice”

Tuesday, Oct. 29 | 9:45-10:30 a.m. | General Session

Alice Fornari, EdD, RDN, Vice President for Faculty Development, Northwell Health

Taranjeet Kalra Ahuja, DO, Director, Initial Clinical Experience (ICE), Advanced Clinical Experience (ACE) Continuity Clinic & Co-Leader, Communications Curricular Thread, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

Dr. Fornari is the Associate Dean of Educational Skills Development Zucker SOM at Hofstra/Northwell and Vice President of Faculty Development for Northwell Health. Her faculty development role at both institutions is designed to align the UME, GME and CME continuum. Serving in these roles for the past 10 years allows her to bring UME curricular innovations to the GME programs and recruit educators from GME to participate in faculty development and teaching at the School of Medicine. This model is very successful for co-curricular efforts in Health/Medical Humanities across all health professions. She is core faculty in the SOM communication and professionalism curriculum sessions.

An interest in health humanities and reflective practice as a core competency has supported successful implementation of health humanities curriculum across UME, GME, and CME at the SOM and Northwell Health Organization. She has developed a Community of Practice (CoP) of faculty who share a common passion in health/medical humanities to work collaboratively on multiple curriculum strategies and share the joy of this teaching and learning. This includes Healer’s Art for MS1s and a MS4s longitudinal elective (July-March) entitled: Narrative Perspective and Reflective Writing: An Elective in Health Humanities. We have run this elective for 3 years and each year the cohort of students has doubled. For internal use we are assessing impact of this elective on our students with exit interviews and pre/post assessment of burnout and resilience in their MS4 year. The collected data from her co-curricular efforts includes positive outcomes that have been reported at the regional and national level to medical education professional organizations. In addition, she is a strong partner of the Zucker SOM Osler Society medical humanities events and promotes the extensive learning opportunities offered across the continuum.

Dr. Fornari is the Director of Mentoring and Professionalism in Training (MAP-IT), a Northwell Health system-wide interprofessional development program highlighting humanism as a core skill for health care professionals. Over a 10 month period interprofessional clinicians explore the importance of their teaching and mentoring roles with all levels of students, trainees and early-career colleagues. Appreciative Inquiry frames the sessions to create a positive humanistic culture for small group discussions that include critical reflection and sharing of individual experiences.

In addition, she has successfully launched, implemented and evaluated Tell Me More, a Arnold P Gold Foundation registered program, with medical students in year 2 and 4. This educational experience is during the summer between MS1 and 2 year as a research project focused on clinician and patient/family communication or as a 4th year 2 or 4 week elective for students who desire a return to our patients’ bedside to engage in conversations that foster connection through the patient’s story. This has led to numerous professional presentations and a published paper in the Patient Experience Journal of the Beryl Institute. The home for TMM at Northwell is the Patient Experience Office.

Dr. Fornari is actively engaged in obtaining external funding and implementing novel programs to transform medical education across the continuum of UME, GME and CPD. She has a track record of securing grant funds and completing grants successfully with positive outcomes reported to funding agencies.

Dr. Fornari is co-editor of a manual published by the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE), entitled Active Learning Strategies for Large Group Teaching. This is a web-based manual available to the medical education community that has been very well received nationally and internationally.

Dr. Taranjeet Ahuja received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency at Stony Brook University Hospital located in Stony Brook, NY. While there, she was selected to be chief resident and became highly recognized for her skills not only as a clinician, but also as a medical educator.

Following time in private practice, Dr. Ahuja assumed a position in academics as an Assistant Professor of Science Education & Pediatrics at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. In this role, she is currently the Director of the Initial Clinical Experience (ICE). ICE is an integral part of the pre-clerkship, first 100 weeks, curriculum that affords students direct, meaningful patient responsibilities while learning to apply scientific, social, and behavioral patient care principles. She is also the Director of the continuity clinic component of the Advanced Clinical Experience, which provides the outpatient longitudinal experience in the MS3 year.

Dr. Ahuja is also the Co-Leader of the 4- year longitudinal Communications Curriculum and is responsible for designing, implementing and assessing the communication skills aspect of medical student training.  She also serves as a facilitator for small-group sessions for the non-biological sciences as well as PEARLS, a course designed to help students learn the key concepts of biomedical science embedded in real patient cases.

Dr. Ahuja has given numerous presentations on topics in pediatric medicine and undergraduate medical education. She is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Association of American Medical Colleges, as well as the International Association of Medical Science Educators.

Drs. Ahuja and Fornari have collaborated to launch, implement and evaluate Tell Me More, a Arnold P Gold Foundation registered program, with medical students.  This program is offered in the summer between the MS1 and MS2 years as well as an elective in the MS4 year.  It provides the opportunity for students to engage in conversation with hospitalized patients and nurture a connection via the patient’s story.  This program has been presented and published in the Patient Experience Journal of the Beryl Institute.