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Faculty speaks at WISER event


The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) faculty showed their commitment to “Getting WISER on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in Health Care Education: The Role of Simulation” thanks to a special interdisciplinary series. 

The Winter Institute for Simulation, Education and Research (WISER), in partnership with UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy, hosted the unique DEI event this April. This series of workshops highlighted the benefits of representation, justice and humility in health care educational settings and how it affects real-world practice. The panels and discussions aimed to teach health practitioners to consider the diverse backgrounds of clients and look past one’s personal bias to help provide the best possible care to patients. WISER made it possible to join the discussion whether participants were near or far. The morning sessions, panels and discussions could all be joined virtually. 

Kathryn Reed, PA Studies assistant professor and vice chair for Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, attended the morning sessions. 

“I was hoping to expand my knowledge of health care simulation and hear about the innovative ways the principles of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion were being woven into their creation and implementation,” says Reed. 

“The presenters and panelists were engaging and very knowledgeable. There were so many key takeaways that naming just one seems impossible! The demonstration showing real time interactions between a UPMC physician and a simulation patient was incredibly impactful and helped me understand the benefits of health care simulation. The VR headset video that can be used to encourage racial empathy was also new to me.” 

Reed recommends that her colleagues and fellow faculty members take part in future DEI events such as this. 

Occupational Therapy Associate Professor Joanne Baird attended the afternoon sessions in-person and found them to be extremely beneficial.  

“This event combined two teaching areas that I have been deeply immersed in: simulation and DEI.” says Baird. 

“I designed a simulation curriculum for the Department of Occupational Therapy and have been addressing how to manage microaggressions in my course content and through learning activities. The symposium offered excellent suggestions, resources and reinforcement that our program has the right approach: learning related to DEI and management of microaggressions must be ongoing!” 

The afternoon sessions included a variety of workshops from debriefing to simulation scenario development. Baird mentions, “the debriefing session emphasized active learning and I had the luxury of being grouped with clinical experts in nursing, medicine and pharmacy. The occupational therapy perspective I offered related to client-centered care and helped us frame our responses.” 

SHRS faculty and staff are consistently looking for ways to further DEI efforts in their teachings and through departmental activities. The WISER event did just that by offering common ground for various professions to see how they can work together to provide well-rounded patient care.