BU Instructional Innovation Conference 2012

I was surrounded by inspiring and creative faculty from across the BU campuses on March 2. We were attending the Fourth Annual Instructional Innovation Conference, sponsored by the Center for Excellence & Innovation in Teaching (CEIT) and the Office of the Provost.

I presented the curriculum development work I’ve undertaken in my Health Policy and Management class, PM755 The Shape of Health Care Delivery, over the last 3 years. Together with Rob Schadt, my dedicated colleague and Director of the Office of Teaching, Learning and Technology in the School of Public Health, we’ve created a curriculum that is student-centered, and which requires students to take responsibility for their own learning.

In PM755, Master of Public Health students identify a health care delivery problem of their own choosing to research, talk to experts in the fields about, develop a policy innovation for, create sound implementation steps to get this policy into practice, present these ideas to a real-world health care executive, and write a persuasive policy brief, to make their case.

I’ve challenged my students to find a health care delivery problem that *doesn’t* have communication problems as its root cause–whether at the health care executive level, or between health care organizations and insurance companies, or at the micro level between doctors, clinicians and patients. No one has yet been able to prove me wrong.

Although I was saddened when Don Berwick had to step down as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid administrator, I was not at all surprised to hear him tell Tom Ashbrook, host of NPR’s “On Point” that the real reason why his tenure at CMS did not last was because there “was a lack of authentic dialogue” about what is really wrong with the US health care system.

Can you think of a problem you’ve encountered with the delivery of any type of health care that didn’t involve problems with communication? If so, I’d like to hear about it!