Grants

Funded Projects
Faculty Development Fund (FDF)
Project Title Overview of the Project
Undergraduate Public Health Curriculum Assessment and Redesign
Emily Youatt
Public Health

$10000.00

The U-M School of Public Health Office of Undergraduate Education (SPH OUE) requests a Faculty Development Fund award to assess and redesign the undergraduate core curriculum and culminating experience. With an annual enrollment of approximately 90 students per cohort, the core curriculum and culminating experience represent the six required courses all students take during their two years as public health undergraduate students. Delineated during the development of the program, these six courses were structured with input from the full SPH faculty to collectively address the learning domains and competencies defined by SPH’s accrediting body. Taught by faculty members from four SPH departments, these courses are interdisciplinary in nature and address a broad set of learning domains. The intent of these courses is to provide students an integrated introduction to key concepts and knowledge from across the field of public health (core curriculum), and to synthesize experiences in the program and connect them with student’s public health practice and professional goals (culminating experience). Initial feedback from faculty and graduate student instructors (GSIs) teaching required courses and from students enrolled in the courses has been mixed. While instructors and students alike see the benefits of a required, sequential set of courses, concerns remain about the content and structure of the core and culminating experience. We are requesting funding to support an in-depth assessment of strengths and weaknesses of the existing undergraduate required curriculum, and to implement a redesigned curriculum that better meets the learning needs of undergraduate public health students.
Empowering Educators: The MENTOR Series
Daniel Cronin
Medical School
Michelle Daniel
Medical School
Seetha Monrad
Medical School
Gurjit Sandhu
Medical School
Vineet Chopra
Medical School
Robert Dickson
Medical School

Medical School
Amit Gupta
Medical School
Nathan Houchens
Medical School
Sanjay Saint
Medical School
Jakob McSparron
Medical School
Janet Biermann
Medical School

Medical School

Medical School
Patricia Mullan
Medical School
Michael Englesbe
Medical School

$6500.00

Historically, medical students at the U-M Medical School have had limited educator preparedness training. This is unfortunate as once medical students graduate they have significant responsibilities teaching co-residents and the next generation of medical students. Although a teaching elective does exist within the medical school, it is not scalable and not suited to practice clinical teaching. This grant team seeks to create a new “Clinical Teaching Elective” which will be scalable and flexible, allowing senior medical students to learn core teaching principles and skills while simultaneously being immersed in clinical practice. To accomplish this, our grant team is developing a central repository of best teaching practices that can be used as a curricular tool and on-demand teacher’s guide, the Medical Educators Novel Teaching On-demand Resource (MENTOR) Series, which is comprised of primarily concise educational videos supplemented by summary infographics. Importantly, select videos will also be used futuristically to fill gaps in other areas of the medical school curriculum. The creation team is composed of a diverse group of education experts from various departments and divisions, who are involved in content creation, design, evaluation and implementation. To ensure that our resource is optimally created for a variety of learning styles and preferences, we will be obtaining iterative feedback from medical student group interviews. The grant money will be used to fund food for medical student group interviews, as well as costs of video and infographic production including editing videos, script styles, animations and graphics based off medical student feedback.
Holographic Visualization of Magnetization Dynamics for Improved Magnetic Resonance Imaging Education
Nicole Seiberlich
Medical School
Daniel Fessahazion
Libraries (UM)

$6000.00

In this project, flexible augmented reality holographic displays will be created as visual aids for teaching the basic concepts of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). MRI is one of the most important and widely used medical imaging modalities, but also complex and thus challenging for students to understand. Undergraduates and graduate students in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Physics, as well as medical students and residents, often struggle to truly understand the connection between the MRI scanner settings, the nuclear magnetic moment (which is the source of the MRI signal), and image contrast. Educators attempt to depict the complex motion of the magnetic moment using 2D figures or 3D movies, but these conventional approaches are insufficient and often give the impression that MRI is much more complicated than it really is. Novel holographic visualization apps, using hardware such as Microsoft HoloLens, provide a unique opportunity to help students learn this complex material. Interactive holographic visual aids will be developed in-house at the Duderstadt Center specifically for MRI education. These new tools will be accompanied by lecture materials such that the complete package can be disseminated to any faculty member wishing to teach MRI, including specialized holographic visualization modules for undergraduate and graduate students (BME 499.006 and BME/EECS 516) as well as radiology residents. The success of the project will be evaluated via surveys and improvement in student test scores. The team members involved in this project are enthusiastic and have the expertise and access to students to facilitate this work.
Undergraduate Medical Education Introduction to Antimicrobial Decision-Making
Emily Abdoler
Medical School

$2649.00

Research indicates that physicians have difficulty selecting appropriate antimicrobials for treating infections, which can harm patients and lead to increasing antimicrobial resistance. Difficulty with antimicrobial prescribing likely begins early in medical education, and nationally many medical students consider their knowledge of infectious diseases (ID) and microbiology inadequate at the time of graduation. At the University of Michigan Medical School, the first year ID/Microbiology course is the last dedicated opportunity for medical students to gain knowledge regarding optimal antimicrobial selection; during clinical rotations, they learn directly from practicing physicians who may be among those making antimicrobial prescribing errors. This project aims to provide medical students with a framework for antimicrobial selection and schema for organizing their ID knowledge during the first-year ID/Microbiology course, while also introducing the concept of therapeutic reasoning. The framework will be provided on a laminated card and introduced through an interactive, case-based session. The framework will be reiterated through each of the course’s clinical syndrome lectures, thereby providing an organizing structure for students’ burgeoning knowledge. It also will be reinforced and applied through two new interactive sessions – healthcare acquired infections and antimicrobial stewardship – that touch upon themes of empiric antimicrobial selection and de-escalation.

continued in Project Objectives
Lettersmith: Supporting Students in Client and Employer Communication
Julie Hui
Information

$6000.00

Respectful and professional client and employer communication is a critical skill for students’ professional development. The goal of this proposal is to continue the development of Lettersmith, an online tool that scales expert guidance for student email communication with clients and employers. Instructors (e.g. professors, career counselors, lecturers) express that students continue to make various mistakes in their professional communication, including not using appropriate language, not clearly stating their intentions, failing to personalize their message, or lacking the confidence to even send these messages in the first place. In effect, instructors spend a significant portion of their time reviewing individual emails and repeating the same guidance, sometimes even rebuilding student-client relationships due to avoidable communication errors. For the past three years, we developed and tested Lettersmith (https://lettersmith.io/), an online tool that provides an instructor-informed checklist of best practices, tagged examples provided by instructors and peers, and open space for students to write a draft in their own words. While the prior work focused on improving student communication quality and confidence, we aim to better understand and incorporate instructor needs, specifically 1) supporting greater awareness of student-client and -employer communication relationships, and 2) providing the ability to allow for more nuanced and readily-available communication guidance in the tool. In the future, we hope to perform further studies to better understand how tools like Lettersmith could reduce the gap in access to communication guidance across marginalized student populations, such as first-generation college students and non-native English speakers.
Development of an Interactive Textbook Platform for Engineering and Science Education
John Kieffer
Engineering

$5974.00

The primary goal of this project is to create novel electronic textbooks with interactive content. The key innovative aspect are numerical simulation models, or widgets, of processes and phenomena that are conceptually abstract, involve atomistic level mechanisms that are too small to directly observe, or occur within an industrial scale installation. Hence, they are difficult, if not impossible to demonstrate in class or a laboratory. However, using HTML5 and Javascript, simulations can be directly embedded in the text, and allow the reader to interactively explore processes and fundamental concepts that form the theoretical basis for various disciplines. It allows the reader to immediately test their understanding of the imparted information by manipulating the process parameters or phenomenological conditions to probe the effect on outcomes. Learning takes place through instinctual communication with the simulation, by merely swiping a finger across a tablet to control parameter settings. E-textbooks of this caliber do not yet exist, and their interactive functionality represents a pedagogical innovation. Embedded process simulations provide students with a radically new immersive learning experience, in that the content is not preconceived but it is generated on demand, in response to user queries. To realize this technology on a larger scale we propose to develop an easily expandable and user-friendly coding platform, made accessible through an efficient workflow integration and a generally applicable code design, organized into a library structure. We emphasize high quality GUIs with functional layout, instinctive usability, and esthetically appealing graphics.
Compassionate Conversations Curriculum for Michigan Medicine: Building a core communication curriculum for medical students, postgraduates, and faculty
Michael Mendez
Medical School
Nathan Houchens
Medical School
John Osterholzer
Medical School

$10000.00

Ineffective physician communication leads to increased stress for families related to treatment decisions and the condition of patients. Many families do not understand basic information about their loved ones’ illnesses and treatments, and physicians frequently miss opportunities to address family concerns and attend to family emotions. While communication guides and conversation roadmaps have been published, Michigan Medicine lacks a program common to medical students, post-graduate trainees and faculty that provides our trainees the necessary communication skills and practical tools to navigate these conversations. CRLT funding will provide key support to assist the program in its initial phase of growth.

This proposal describes the development of a dynamic family meeting simulation model that engages learners with improvisational actors and highly trained faculty-facilitators in a manner that optimizes achievement of the following goals:

1) To develop a sustainable communication training program that enhances the ability of trainees to compassionately and effectively conduct conversations which identify the values, goals, and life-sustaining treatment decisions of patients with serious illness.
2) To recruit and train communication education champions to create a network of Compassionate Conversation Facilitators at Michigan Medicine
Vocal Health Lab, Somatic Bodywork & Curriculum Development for the Contemporary Musical Theatre Performer
Catherine A. Walker
Music, Theatre & Dance

$10000.00

This 3-tiered initiative will enhance the curriculum and training of the musical theatre majors as well as provide professional development for faculty members in the Musical Theatre, Theatre & Voice Departments. The Musical Theatre department remains committed to providing a comprehensive, cutting-edge, holistic, approach to training today’s performers. Part One: New Vocal Health Lab - Musical Theatre students will have regular access to Voice Specialist, Marci Rosenberg (CCC-SLP). Musical theatre performers are at greater risk for developing voice disorders. Even a minor voice disorder can have a significant impact on the performer. The Vocal Health Lab will offer specialized care and training for the students who regularly sing using a high vocal load and become proactive at detecting emerging problems. Part Two: Alexander Technique Somatic Training - By training both faculty and students to optimize posture and alignment, the functionality of the voice will improve. Additionally, Alexander Technique has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall well-being; essential for Musical Theatre performers.

Continued in Project Objectives
Designing and Implementing a Structured Process and Task Trainer for Teaching Digital Vaginal Examination in Labor
John DeLancey
Medical School
Joanne Bailey
Medical School
Helen Morgan
Medical School

$10000.00

In maternity care, it is essential that nurses, midwives and physicians have the skills needed to evaluate progress during labor. Digital vaginal examination (VE) during labor is an essential skill for students to master, but one that is challenging to teach and practice in the simulated clinical setting. Affordable, realistic simulators are not currently available and standardized patients cannot be utilized to simulate labor and birth. Because VE during labor can be uncomfortable and intrusive, it is imperative that students are prepared prior to clinical so they can perform VE in a way that causes the least discomfort while at the same time correctly assessing for labor progress. In a collaborative effort between midwifery faculty, obstetrics/gynecology, and engineering, we propose to: (a) develop and evaluate a structured step-wise process for teaching VE (b) design, build, and evaluate a realistic vaginal examination task trainer that can be utilized for nursing, midwifery and medical education and (c) evaluate the effectiveness of both the educational approach and the task trainer using a three armed, pretest-posttest design with midwifery and medical students as participants.
Using 3-D printed anatomical models of specimens from the Museum of Zoology Research Collections to transform experiential learning in six vertebrate biodiversity laboratory courses
Priscilla Tucker
LSA - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
LSA - Museum of Zoology
Alison Davis Rabosky
LSA - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

$10000.00

A grant from CRLT will enhance lecture materials and laboratory exercises in six vertebrate biodiversity classes through the use of 3-D printed anatomical models made from images generated with X-ray computed tomography (CT). Recent access to CT is made possible through the acquisition and installation of a Nikon X-ray CT scanner in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. The scanner is located at the Research Museums Center in close proximity to > 4 million specimens of fishes, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals including an extraordinary collection of fluid-preserved specimens, all housed in the Museum of Zoology (UMMZ). The ability to generate CT images and produce models of both hard and soft anatomy from valuable fluid preserved research specimens, using noninvasive techniques, will provide opportunities for students to engage with the great diversity of vertebrate form and function. For example, students will be exposed to the differences in internal anatomy such as the windpipes of cranes that are coiled to amplify sound. Printing models at magnification will provide opportunities to compare small anatomical structures such as the pharyngeal jaws or gill arches of fishes or the bones of a snake skull. Students will use models to articulate entire skeletons or assemble and disassemble bones of the skull and other structures. These self-guided activities of discovery and research will provide a better, more intuitive understanding of species diversity and variation with less memorization.