Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

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2011 Edward D. Harris Professionalism Award winner

The Board of Directors of Alpha Omega Alpha is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Edward D. Harris Professionalism Award. The award emphasizes AΩA's commitment to its belief that professionalism is a crucial facet of being a physician, a quality that can be both taught and learned. Originally named the AΩA Professionalism Fellowship, the award has been renamed to honor Edward D. Harris, the longtime executive director of the society, who died in May 2010. Applications were open to medical schools with active AΩA chapters. Faculty who have demonstrated personal dedication to teaching and research in specific aspects of professionalism that could be transferred directly to medical students or resident physicians were encouraged to apply for these funds.

The winner of the 2011 Edward D. Harris Professionalism Award is:

Paul Haidet, MD, MPH
Director of Medical Education Research, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center College of Medicine

Dr. Haidet (AΩA, Pennsylvania State University, 1991) received $30,000 funding for his project, "Promoting Professionalism Through Reflective Practice and Identity Formation."

A large body of research suggests that medical learners change during their training in response to the organizational culture, or "hidden curriculum," of medical environments. Documented changes include erosion of altruism, humanism, patient-centeredness, and advocacy. Further, evidence suggests that some physicians discard moral values in order to accomplish specific management tasks.

Reflective practice offers a solution to the hidden curriculum's deleterious effects. While trainees may make sound choices when given time and a safe environment to reflect on professional dilemmas, clinical settings, in contrast, are fast paced, hierarchical, and emotionally charged. In order to be reflective practitioners, trainees and physicians need to build capacity to reflect in action, accessing their own values and creativity while at the same time making choices within the constraints of a given clinical environment. While many medical schools and residency programs have built structures to foster reflection, these structures are often aimed at reflecting after the fact, rather than in real time at the point of care. This program aims to address this gap by implementing a curriculum that will build trainees' capacity to reflect in action in real-world clinical environments..

Updated on February 26, 2016.

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