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Dr. Walter Bland
September 2009

 

In the College of Medicine, how well students learn can easily become a matter of life and death.  No one understands the consequences better than Dr. Walter Bland, Director of the College’s Office of Medical Education (OME).   That is why he brings such energy and passion to his job, as he strives “to train persons from underrepresented groups in medicine to become doctors.”  That is why he believes “it is a privilege to educate.”

As Director of the OME, Dr. Bland seeks to ensure that medical education meets the highest standards.  According to the OME website, his office “offers a broad range of services to students and faculty, including academic development for students, instructional support for courses and clerkships, faculty development programs, curriculum evaluation and individual consultation.”  Above all, the OME seeks to develop life-long learners.  Educators, Dr. Bland observes, need to identify areas where they “move students from being passive recipients of knowledge to active seekers.”  In other words, medical education is not simply a matter of performing procedures and acquiring skills.   Students also need to ask the right questions and to know “where to go and what to look for.”  It is up to educators, Dr. Bland says, “to give them enough information to stimulate their interest” in finding more.

Dr. Bland demonstrates this ability in his own teaching.  As a clinical professor of psychology, he specializes in what he calls “bedside teaching”—teaching medical students while they work with patients.  “With bedside teaching,” he explains, you get a chance to see a student “mastering the art of interview of patients” and “to see how they develop.”  As his students rotate through clinical clerkships, Dr. Bland listens to them interview patients, gives them feedback, critiques their diagnoses, and encourages them to search for answers. 

For his contributions to medical education, Dr. Bland has won the College of Medicine’s Kaiser Permanente Award and the American Psychological Association’s Nancy C.A. Rosky Teaching Award.  Award committees have cited his course design, curriculum supervision, accessibility, and overall excellence in teaching.  Dr. Bland, however, remains modest about his accomplishments.  “A lot of what I’ve been able to do,” he insists, “is because of my own teachers.”

landscape_bland

Dr. Bland demonstrates this ability in his own teaching.  As a clinical professor of psychology, he specializes in what he calls “bedside teaching”—teaching medical students while they work with patients.  “With bedside teaching,” he explains, you get a chance to see a student “mastering the art of interview of patients” and “to see how they develop.”  As his students rotate through clinical clerkships, Dr. Bland listens to them interview patients, gives them feedback, critiques their diagnoses, and encourages them to search for answers. 

For his contributions to medical education, Dr. Bland has won the College of Medicine’s Kaiser Permanente Award and the American Psychological Association’s Nancy C.A. Rosky Teaching Award.  Award committees have cited his course design, curriculum supervision, accessibility, and overall excellence in teaching.  Dr. Bland, however, remains modest about his accomplishments.  “A lot of what I’ve been able to do,” he insists, “is because of my own teachers.”

 

 

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