Predicting 8 Big Things in Health Professions Education in 2023

By Michael Gisondi (@MikeGisondi)

I’ve moved on.
No ‘Best of 2022’ in this post…
No looking back at last year…
No resolutions. Never.
As a wise woman once said, Onward!

Welcome 2023!

I fully embrace this New Year, with all its mystery, intrigue, and surprises to come. Who knows what exciting things 2023 holds in store for us as clinician educators? Well, dear reader… neither of us do. But here I am, anyway, making some big predictions. Consider this post a little bit of a crystal ball, a little bit of a wish list, and a whole lot of blatantly unfounded speculation. We can check-in next December and see how I did. Until then, enjoy.

1. #MedTwitter Lives

For those of you not on social media, there is much debate about whether medical educators should abandon Twitter given recent events in the company. But where to go? There isn’t a clear alternative at this point. So, I predict that the #MedTwitter community is too robust for clinician educators to abandon the social media platform just yet. 2023 may present a replacement that gets our attention, but a large-scale migration doesn’t happen this calendar year.

2. Glasgow Calling

After 3+ years of a pandemic, I predict that health professions educators from around the world will convene in record numbers in Glasgow for the AMEE annual conference. The theme of AMEE 2023 is Inclusive Learning Environments to Transform the Future. Inclusive learning environments welcome students of all backgrounds and ensure that each of them has an equal opportunity to learn and achieve. Check out this Harvard Macy Institute Blog post that I wrote a few years ago, Inclusive Health Professions Education, for ideas on how to make your classroom more inclusive. AMEE 2023 or bust: Pack your bags!

3. Belongingness Matters

Most institutions are just beginning to actively address JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) issues in their classrooms. Many still do not. But in addition to the importance of JEDI, I predict student belongingness will take center stage in 2023. Belongingness is different from inclusion; belongingness refers to a student’s sense of respect, acceptance, and membership in a classroom community. We can strive for diverse student bodies, we can design inclusive environments, we can acknowledge systemic racism and exclusion… but we must go further, to check that our students actually feel like they belong. Health professions educators will go there in 2023.

4. Coaching Arrives

Coaching in medical education uses appreciative inquiry, a strengths-based approach to working with students that helps them overcome challenges and achieve their goals. In 2017, Deiorio and Hammoud assembled a comprehensive faculty handbook for the American Medical Association titled, Coaching in Medical Education – a must read. However, I predict that 2023 is the year we see coaching really take off in our medical schools, with attention finally paid to training coaches and building the infrastructure necessary to bring this approach to scale.

5. Pass/fail Fails?

We have seen a trend away from traditional letter or numerical grading systems to dichotomous student assessment: pass or fail. More health professions schools and certification examinations are embracing this grading methodology… but will the pendulum swing so far that everyone gets a pass, so to speak, and the grade becomes meaningless? I predict we will start to embrace other grading systems in 2023, such as contract grading. Contract grading is an agreement between instructor and student about the labor and quality of work necessary to earn a grade. Put in the agreed-upon labor necessary, get a B. Exceed that standard, in effort or achievement, and an A is all yours. Don’t feel like working that hard in this particular class? C! Contract grading rubrics make clear the value and meaning of a grade to everyone involved. Wouldn’t that be nice in 2023?

6. Emotions Run Rampant

Much of this post revolves around student well-being, as it should in 2023. This suggests that educators will pay more attention to the emotional responses their students exhibit in the clinical learning environment. What emotions drive you to learn? Do you want to feel accomplished? Do you fear failure? I predict that 2023 will see more research in the health professions that focuses on the interplay of emotions and learning.

7. Advocacy for All

Pack your bags (again) and get ready to join your colleagues at the International Conference on Residency Education (ICRE) 2023 in beautiful Halifax. This year’s conference theme is From Caring for Patients to Protecting Our Planet: Advocacy in Residency Education. Health advocacy encompasses “a wide range of activities” to “address social and structural determinants of health, enabling physicians to be agents of change” (Hubinette et al., 2022). Hat tip to my friend and colleague, Dr. Holly Caretta-Weyer, for her prediction that advocacy in health professions education will be a hot topic in 2023.

8. Precision? Not yet.

Learning analytics is the collection and analysis of learner data for the purposes of understanding and improving learning and the environment in which it occurs. Much has been written about learning analytics in medical education, and big things are to come in this domain… just not in 2023. Look for widespread adoption in several more years.

That’s it for a crystal ball and speculations… I hope that I got some of these right. Feel free to post your predictions in the comments box below.

I wish you all a wonderfully productive and fulfilling New Year!


About the Author: Michael A. Gisondi, MD is an emergency physician, medical educator, and education researcher who lives in Palo Alto, California. Michael serves as the Vice Chair of Education in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University. Twitter: @MikeGisondi

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