Behind the White Coat: Lyuba Konopasek, MD

July 17, 2019

Developing robust faculty development programs is integral to enabling teaching hospitals to meet their missions. Physician educators need the tools to provide an optimal learning environment to best train future physicians to meet the needs of patients. GNYHA is committed to helping members develop resources to continuously improve faculty teaching skills and meet accreditation requirements through the Faculty Development Workshop Series.

In this issue of Behind the White Coat, Lyuba Konopasek, MD, a national leader in faculty development and invaluable contributor to the Workshop series, speaks with Anu Ashok, GNYHA Associate Vice President, Graduate Medical Education and Physician Workforce Policy, on the importance of faculty development.

Dr. Konopasek is Senior Associate Dean for Education at the Frank H. Netter School of Medicine, Quinnipiac University. She held prior roles as Designated Institutional Official and Director of Physician Engagement and Well-Being Programs at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Anu Ashok: What are some notable faculty development trends you have seen throughout your career?

Dr. Konopasek: Faculty development has always been an essential part of any medical education program, but now there are more specific requirements around what needs to be done. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education is now specifying that in every residency program, the faculty engage in faculty development annually. Faculty need to have sessions as educators, around quality and patient safety, around physician well-being, as well as their specific area of medical practice.

AA: In your role as a faculty development educator, what topic have you been asked most often to teach?

LK: I’m most asked to give workshops on giving feedback. I’ve done it all over the world.

AA: Why do you think faculty find it so challenging to provide effective feedback?

LK: In the absence of faculty development, faculty physicians teach the way they were taught. If they themselves had bad experiences with receiving feedback, and the only feedback they got was negative feedback, they’re not going to feel very much like they want to give it or receive it. Now we have techniques for giving feedback, based on the communications skills literature, on sharing information with patients that make giving feedback so much easier. The format that we use is “Ask Tell Ask.” We ask the learner to assess their performance first, then we listen to what it is they have stated, build on it with our own information, and ask to check in for understanding. It’s a very simple technique that’s easily taught and faculty have found tremendously helpful in their own teaching practice.

AA: What advice would you give to GME leaders who want to invest in their institution’s faculty development?

LK: The idea of making it institution-wide is a wonderful idea. Program directors in 2019 are so stretched and stressed with so many requirements already, so it would be helpful to facilitate the process for them as much as possible. Really thinking about a blueprint—what are the topics that are important to address—and some of that has to do with your local context. What have you found in terms of your program evaluations across the programs? What do you need to focus on? I imagine that everyone is struggling with how best to engage in faculty development around feedback, for instance. That would be a part of everyone’s educator blueprint. Consider whether your program directors are actually able to deliver this within their programs. Do they have people who are champions within their departments who might be interested in developing their skills in faculty development? Or do you need to have a speaker’s bureau where folks from different departments visit and deliver this type of content?

AA: What challenges do faculty members face most often when pursuing faculty development?

LK: There’s the issue of time. Everyone is stretched and stressed just doing their clinical work. Do they also feel a part of their job description is being a faculty member and teaching others? If they feel that it is part of their job description, do they feel like they have the skills to do it well?

AA: As a faculty development educator, how would you ultimately define “faculty development?”

LK: What I’m talking about is educator development. Developing your skills as a teacher, as a person assessing performance, as a mentor. Even developing your educational skills as a leader. For me, all those pieces come together for faculty development.

The next workshop in the GNYHA Faculty Development Series, Providing Effective Feedback, will take place on September 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon in our offices at 555 West 57th Street, 15th Floor Conference Center, New York, NY 10019. More information and registration is forthcoming.