Putting Learning into Practice – Lillie Hudson

Name: Lillie Hudson, MSPA, MPH, PA-C

Title:  Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine

Program: University of Southern California

Program URL: https://keck.usc.edu/physician-assistant-program/

What PAEA learning activity did you attend and when? Equity by Design Workshop (June 2022)

Would you recommend this learning activity to other members and, if so, why? Yes, I believe that this workshop should be included in the annual PAEA Education Forum. There are so many PA program teams that need to hear this transformational information and put it into practice. PA program team (staff and faculty) members, and especially educators, are often guilty of creating the “perfect” educational experience without considering how the student will receive the “perfect” curriculum that has been produced. Then, they are stunned when the outcomes do not match their expectations. In essence, the workshop taught that the universal design for learning (UDL) is the crucial missing piece in PA education.

What was your biggest takeaway/”aha” moment? That is a tough question to answer— if I may briefly share two. First, the learning and discussion of “inclusion versus inclusive practice.” It elevates the definition of equity to a new level. For example, PA programs can welcome students from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds that may include educationally disadvantaged students (inclusion) but do not have the measures to support their journey of success through the program (inclusive practice). Intentionality is the motivation to think beyond mere acceptance (inclusion); how can the program prepare for additional support mechanisms to ensure that the students are successful in the program (inclusive practice) and be equipped to become competent and inclusive PA clinicians? Second, I was formally introduced to the psychological phenomenon of the Pygmalion effect. It gave an official name to the negative experiences that were a part of my testimony as a college student. The power of words is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the words should speak life to all students and particularly those who are from marginalized communities, Black, Indigenous, and people of color, and who have suffered from years of educational trauma. PA program teams must remove explicit and implicit harmful biased language from their vernacular when selecting, admitting, advising, and teaching the next generation of PA clinicians.

Tell us about what you have put into practice because of this learning activity. 

  1. Expect and accept non-closure – It is now a part of the “agreements of courageous conversation” that I use in team member meetings and in the classroom with my students. It is particularly beneficial when discussing brave topics such as racism, implicit bias, and health inequities. It is essential to manage expectations and acknowledge that a 2-hour class will not erase centuries of ills plaguing marginalized communities.
  2. Inclusion and inclusive practice – I have shared this knowledge with my team members, and we continue to work toward creating inclusive classrooms.
  3. Pygmalion effect – I have shared the psychological phenomenon of the Pygmalion effect with peers and colleagues to promote positive change in academia.

Note: Our Equity by Design workshop facilitator, Mirko Chardin, also conducted a coffee chat session in June 2022. A recording of this coffee chat is available to PAEA members in the Digital Learning Hub.

This article is part of the Putting Learning into Practice article series. We love to feature how our members are taking what they have learned through the professional development opportunities offered by PAEA and applying it to practice. Interested in being featured? Submit your Member Story on the PAEA website.