Understanding the Challenges of Integrating Scientists and Clinical Teachers in Psychiatry Education: Findings from an Innovative Faculty Development Program


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Abstract

ObjectiveMedical schools and departments of psychiatry around the world face challenges in integrating science with clinical teaching. This project was designed to identify attitudes toward the integration of science in clinical teaching and address barriers to collaboration between scientists and clinical teachers.MethodsThe authors explored the interactions of 20 faculty members (10 scientists and 10 clinical teachers) taking part in a 1-year structured faculty development program, based on a partnership model, designed to encourage collaborative interaction between scientists and clinical teachers. Data were collected before, during, and after the program using participant observations, surveys, participant diaries, and focus groups. Qualitative data were analyzed iteratively using the method of meaning condensation, and further informed with descriptive statistics generated from the pre- and postsurveys.ResultsScientists and clinicians were strikingly unfamiliar with each other's worldviews, work experiences, professional expectations, and approaches to teaching. The partnership model appeared to influence integration at a social level, and led to the identification of departmental structural barriers that aggravate the divide between scientists and clinical teachers. Issues related to the integration of social scientists in particular emerged.ConclusionCreating a formal program to encourage interaction of scientists and clinical teachers provided a forum for identifying some of the barriers associated with the collaboration of scientists and clinical teachers. Our data point to directions for organizational structures and faculty development that support the integration of scientists from a wide range of disciplines with their clinical faculty colleagues.

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