Howard Barrows, M.D., professor emeritus in medical education, died Friday, March 25, 2011. Dr. Barrows was internationally renowned as a pioneer in educational tools and learning methods that have defined modern medical training, most notably problem solving skills of physicians, the development of simulated/standardized patients, and problem-based learning (PBL) as a structured teaching/learning method.
His innovative ideas over a career that spanned almost 50 years are internationally respected and continue to inform the education and training of students and health care practitioners around the world.
PBL and standardized patients made SIU School of Medicine world-renowned in the 1980s. At least 90 percent of U.S. and Canadian medical schools use some form of PBL’s small group teaching. All medical schools now use standardized patients and/or simulations for teaching and assessment.
Dr. Barrows joined the SIU faculty in 1980 as associate dean for educational affairs and a professor of neurology and medical education. He built the first Professional Development Laboratory in the world at SIU. He retired in 1999 and continued to hold an appointment here as professor emeritus in medical education.
Dr. Barrows was the first recipient of the J.C Hubbard award from the National Board of Medical Examiners in recognition of his contributions to evaluation in medical education. He received the Abraham Flexner award from the Association of American Medical Colleges for outstanding contributions to medical education. He authored several books and journal articles on PBL, simulated/standardized patients and the clinical reasoning process of physicians. He was associate editor and founding editor of Teaching and Learning in Medicine for 18 years. This spring, he worked with the SIU Dept. of Medical Education to publish a revised edition of Principles & Practice of aPBL (Authentic Problem-Based Learning).
He is survived by his wife, Phyllis Barrows, and four daughters. The Barrows family requests donations be made to the Terrill Fund, 7410 New La Grange Rd. Suite 100, Louisville, Ky 40221. This fund was established in honor of the late Terrill A. Mast, Ph.D., a former professor of medical education at SIU. (www.biak.us/terrill)