James R. Duncan, MD, PhD, professor of radiology, and Erin Hickey, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, have been named Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb Teaching Fellows from 2022-24 at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
The fellowship program was established in 2004 with a gift from Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb to advance medical education. The program is also supported by The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital. The two-year fellowship provides recipients with additional time to focus on implementing innovative ideas to improve the education of medical students and residents.
“The Loebs continue to leave an indelible mark on medical education at Washington University,” said Eva Aagaard, MD, vice chancellor of medical education, senior associate dean of education and the Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb Professor of Medical Education at the Faculty of Medicine. “The grants represent their commitment to student and resident education and the professional development of the faculty. drs. Duncan and Hickey are outstanding educators whose innovative proposals will improve medical education at Wash U.”
Duncan, also chief of interventional radiology at the School of Medicine’s Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology (MIR), will focus on equipping medical interns with strategies to avoid mistakes and respond to obstacles they may encounter while performing ordinary routines. , image-guided procedures. These procedures often involve placing the catheters needed for intravenous medication, or small flexible tubes needed to drain deep-seated foci of infection. Such procedures are often minimally invasive alternatives to surgery.
“I often advise interns that any procedure is like walking through a minefield,” says Duncan, who treats patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital. “Fortunately, our previous experience has provided us with a good map of where the mines are buried. When navigating the minefield, the first key is knowing about the different mines and remembering where they are buried. Still, trainees may encounter one of the many mines for a variety of reasons. In those cases, the second key for trainees is to recognize when they have stepped on a mine. The third key is knowing how to avoid injuries from the exploding mine.”
With her fellowship, Hickey aims to close a curriculum gap by educating pediatric medical interns about bereavement, including simulating difficult conversations they can have with patients and their families. The project will also encourage residents to hone productive strategies for coping with the personal grief that inevitably arises while caring for children who are critically ill, which can ultimately increase professional satisfaction and prevent burnout.
“Grief is ubiquitous,” says Hickey, who is part of the Pediatric Palliative Care Team in the Division of Newborn Medicine at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and is the educational lead for medical students and pediatric residents who rotate with her team. “Residents will care for grieving patients and caregivers no matter what career path they choose. In my coaching role at the medical school, I immediately noticed that addressing grief encourages vulnerability and improves perspectives, which can positively impact both personal and professional growth. In addition, preparing residents to have difficult conversations with patients and caregivers helps build their confidence, increasing the likelihood that they will use those skills. Ultimately, I hope to foster a culture within the pediatric residency that normalizes and validates grief in medical education.”