Research Interests and Projects

Longitudinal Performance Assessment

The Longitudinal Performance Assessment Examination is a paper and pencil, multiple choice format examination given to medical students at the beginning of each of their four years of medical school training. The purpose of the examination is to measure students' clinical reasoning skills and the growth of same across the medical school curriculum. This examination has been in use since 2005, and has been adopted by five other medical schools for use in their curricula as well.

Evaluation and Remediation of Failing Students

Dr. Klamen and Dr. Williams published a book with this topic in 2010. Identification and remediation of students with failing abilities in the arena of clinical performance (most notably on standardized patient examinations) is a topic of utmost priority. From this work has come a mandatory four-week remedial course for students failing the senior clinical competency examination at SIU. This course has documented effectiveness in the remediation of students with performance difficulties.

Diagnostic Reasoning Acquisition

The how and where students acquire clinical reasoning skills in medical schools is not well understood. Dr. Klamen has instituted a diagnostic justification exercise/question into clinical competency examinations given in all four years of SIU's medical school, to try to better understand how students think about a differential diagnosis, and the process by which they reason clinically.

Teamwork and Communication in Trauma Settings

A Department of Defense-funded project focused on developing an effective approach to teamwork and communication in the trauma setting.

Teaching in the Operating Room

A qualitative study of teaching behaviors surgeons use in the operating room using the Deixis corpus.

Professionalism as Seen by Surgery Clerks

A qualitative study of essays written by surgery clerks regarding incidents of professionalism or lack thereof.

Residents with Performance Problems

Family Medicine: A qualitative study of resident records to develop categories of the kinds of performance problems that show up in family medicine.

Adapting the Beaufort Scale to Assist in Consequential Decision-Making about Residents

Piloting an assessment tool that adapts a wind scale to describe resident performance level and make recommendations about how to proceed with the resident.

Assessment of Student Knowledge During Small-Group Discussion

Without testing, facilitators of small-group learning have difficulty gauging student mastery of the subject matter. Aiding facilitators' perception of cognitive behavior could enhance their acuity and their reporting. In ongoing collaboration with the Year 2 unit coordinator (Dr. Don Torry), Dr. Cianciolo is exploring the utility of a behavioral checklist for improving facilitator assessment of second-year student knowledge in SIUSOM's hybrid problem-based curriculum. Pilot results have indicated that facilitators were more conservative and accurate in predicting final exam performance when using a brief checklist to assess the quantity and quality of student contributions to small-group discussion. The checklist may enhance facilitators' identification of students at risk of failing high stakes examinations and promote informal remediation. Further research is necessary to validate the checklist in different types of collaborative learning group.

An Integrative, Multi-Disciplinary Review of Small-Group Collaborative Learning

Group-based instructional methods, especially problem-based and team-based learning, are pervasive in medical school. Yet, medical education lacks a theoretical understanding of the cognitive and social processes underlying individual learning in groups and the requirements of fostering collective epistemic activity under different conditions. Findings regarding the effectiveness of collaborative learning are consequently inconsistent. In this ongoing literature review funded by the Society of Directors of Research in Medical Education (SDRME), Dr. Cianciolo and Dr. Roberts seek to answer the questions: What cognitive and social processes occur during individual learning via collaboration? When/how do particular facilitation practices effectively stimulate these processes? The review will synthesize literature addressing collaborative learning from the perspectives of experimental psychology, social learning, management, cognitive science, educational psychology, and medical education.

Socialization in Clerkships

Medical students transition from the classroom to the hospital ward in their third-year clinical clerkship experiences. This is the first immersive and authentic clinical experience in their medical education program. The purpose of this study is to better understand what medical students learn (and unlearn) and how this happens in relation to their socialization in the learning process during their clinical clerkship experiences. Dr. Han leads this project in collaboration with Dr. Roberts and Dr. Korte (UIUC).

EHR Competence

As the health care technology environment changes, medical education pedagogical and technological approaches need to be revisited to meet the new environmental needs. Societies require physicians to be able to read, write, and work efficiently and effectively in EHR systems. EHR competence requires integrated digital writing and reading skills, which also extends to documenting even workflows in distributed information systems. In collaboration with Dr. Lopp in Family Community Medicine and Theresa Waters, RN, BSN, Dr. Han explores effective pedagogy for improving EHR competence.

Language Characteristics in EHR (NIH Grant Project)

The health care system is under innovative reform and significant research efforts have been made to address the changes in meaningful ways. The project entitled 'The Importance of Language Characteristics in Documenting Clinical Encounters' (NIH 1RC1LM010442-01) is one of such research efforts. In collaboration between SIU School of Medicine and University of Memphis, the research team investigates the importance of language features in electronic health records (EHR) to improve the quality of patient chart note information in EHR systems.

Perceptions of Medical Student-Nurse Interaction

Medical students will interact with nurses at all levels of their careers. However, few medical schools have adopted the innovative strategy of incorporating nurse educators in the curriculum. There is sparse research on the value of nurse educators in medical school education. We would like to examine how students perceive nursing's contribution to medical education. Using a questionnaire, we examine the perceptions of medical students from institutions that currently utilize nurse educators as well as institutions that do not utilize nurse educators in medical education delivery. We plan to compare the responses to explore differences in student attitudes based on their exposure to nurse educators. The University of Texas Medical Branch and SIUSOM are currently involved in this study.