Case Studies in the Learning Environment

Des Moines, IA US
February 7, 2019


Open to DMU faculty and staff only. There is no cost to attend and registration is not required.

Series Description

The 2019 winter series of the IAMSE webinar program will focus on the role of the learning environment in health science education. The significance and importance of the learning environment is based on the assumption that a poor environment is associated with poor student performance, burn-out and stress. Numerous reports of students experiencing increased levels of unprofessional behavior and mistreatment on the part of faculty, residents, staff and other students have raised concerns about student well being, professional development, and accreditation requirements. As a result, a major emphasis on the part of health science educators today is to evaluate the learning environment, identify areas of concern, and take measures to address these issues.

The goal of this series is to raise awareness of the importance of ensuring a positive learning environment across health sciences education and to provide examples of systems and programs that have addressed this issue in an impactful manner. The introductory session will discuss the challenges in developing a conceptual framework for the learning environment, current limitations in measuring the learning environment, and initiatives designed to improve the learning environment. The remainder of the sessions will examine the current state of affairs in a variety of different health science settings. A panel will discuss these issues from the perspective of osteopathic, nursing and physician assistant educational programs.

We will gain insight into the issues and research being conducted on the global learning environment from some selected schools outside of the United States. We will explore the learning environment in graduate medical education (ACGME) and will conclude with an in-depth practical approach of how one medical school created a robust system to monitor the learning environment which will include case studies. It is anticipated that at the end of the series the audience will be more in-tuned with the importance of maintaining a healthy learning environment and be better equipped with practical applications for their educational programs.

Webinar Description

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education has recognized the importance of a healthy learning environment for students to optimally learn, to promote well-being, and to develop professionalism. Since 1990 the LCME has used the Graduation Questionnaire (GQ) to survey graduating medical students about their experiences and perceptions of their school’s leaning environment. Many schools’ GQ survey results have shown that students were less likely to report unprofessionalism and mistreatment while in school suggesting students are fearful of reporting while they are students. As a result, the LCME focuses on the learning environment in the accreditation surveys of medical schools. 
Following Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine’s (VTCSOM) 2013 LCME accreditation visit, the school established the Learning Environment Advocacy Committee (LEAC), a multidisciplinary committee that serves as the clearing house for learning environment concerns from students. The learning environment concerns are reviewed by the committee, recommendations are made to investigate the concerns, and the concerns are addressed in the departments where the unprofessionalism or mistreatment occurred. The LEAC raises awareness of the importance of a healthy learning environment for students, faculty, residents, nurses and staff at VTCSOM and its clinical affiliate.
This seminar will review the process of developing the LEAC, the activity of the LEAC since the committee was established, and the results of an organizational wide learning environment survey.


Daniel Harrington, MD
Professor, Psychiatry, Vice Dean, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

In 2007, Dr. Harrington was named Vice President for Academic Affairs for Carilion Clinic where he supervised the expansion of graduate medical education resulting in the establishment of numerous new residencies and fellowships, and the development of the research, simulation, and professional development departments at Carilion Medical Center. As part of the transformation of the Carilion Clinic, Dr. Harrington was instrumental in the early development of the Virginia Teach Carilion School of Medicine. At the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Dr. Harrington is a tenured professor of Psychiatry and is the Vice Dean for the medical school. In 2014, Dr. Harrington was the recipient of Carilion Clinic's Robert L. Keeley, MD, Healing Hands Award for physician leadership and exemplary service to patients.


Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 CE Contact Hour(s)
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
02/07/2019 - 11:00am CST
Event ends: 
02/07/2019 - 12:00pm CST
Des Moines University
3200 Grand Avenue
Ryan Hall 181
Des Moines, IA 50312
United States
+1 (515) 271-1596

Des Moines University is located on a 22-acre campus in the heart of Des Moines, Iowa. Just west of downtown on Grand Avenue, the University is located in one of Des Moines' most prestigious neighborhoods. The campus is in a historic neighborhood filled with tree-lined streets and gracious older homes and businesses. Its central location makes it easy to access the rest of the city and outlying communities. The campus is close to the Des Moines International Airport, located on the bus line and just blocks from local shopping and downtown Des Moines.


Available Credit

  • 1.00 CE Contact Hour(s)


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