MGH Institute of Health Professions: Using Team-Based Learning to Deliver Curriculum

MGHIHP PA Class of 2021 Long White Coat Celebration

Unique Characteristics of MGH Institute of Health Professions 

Our program takes an adult learner-centered approach to teaching. We have been delivering our curriculum using 100% team-based learning (TBL) since its inception. Additionally, the curriculum is integrated. Anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, history, and physical exam are taught across the didactic year in the context of system-based courses. In the clinical year, our students are engaged in Balint group discussions at the conclusion of each rotation. Balint groups provide an opportunity for clinicians to discuss the emotional impact of patient encounters in a facilitated, small-group format.

Our Program’s Impact

TBL is a student-centered, flipped-classroom approach that builds interpersonal and communication skills and can address those hard-to-teach “soft” skills that PA students need for effective practice.  Students and faculty report high satisfaction with the process. While successfully adopted in several U.S. medical schools, it has yet to be widely utilized in PA education. Also, the use of Balint groups is proving to be impactful in helping students process difficult and challenging clinical experiences, preparing them to be reflective practitioners. 

Our Surrounding Community

MGH Institute of Health Professions is located on Boston Harbor in the heart of historic Charlestown, Massachusetts. Walking from one campus building to another, you pass the U.S.S. Constitution with the Bunker Hill Monument in the background perched on a nearby hilltop. Our students engage with the neighboring Harvard-Kent Elementary School, which serves the highest percentage of children living in public housing of any Boston school.  

Fun Facts About Massachusetts 

The Bunker Hill Monument is actually located on Breed’s Hill where most of the casualties of the misnamed Battle of Bunker Hill occurred. And, of course, we have the BEST sports fans (Go Pats, Celtics, Bruins, and Red Sox!) and beer (Sam Adams). 

The Team-Based Learning Collaborative 
The American Balint Society  

This article is part of PAEA’s Program Showcases, which also includes webinars. Learn more about the series here.