Thinking Critically: How to Teach Translational Medicine

Richard G Foty, Elizabeth M Gibbs, Esther H Lips, Madhvi Menon, Janet P Hafler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Translational Medicine (TM) is a comparatively new field of study that focusses on the continuum of activities from the conception of an idea, to advanced clinical testing and the development of a new medical technology or drug. In recent years, graduate education programs have been established internationally to train a new generation of professionals with specific skills necessary to navigate the translational landscape. Literature in the area highlights the importance of integrating specific competencies relevant to translational medicine as part of curriculum development. In addition to developing a working understanding of core knowledge (e.g., ethics, funding, regulation, policy, etc.), skills including effective communication, reflection, interdisciplinary, and interprofessional collaboration are critical components of a skilled TM professional. Curriculum development must focus on content, while carefully selecting the teaching strategies that are most effective to achieve the desired outcomes, which is for learners to comprehend the complex material. The following publication presents a series of vignettes that describe the experiences of an associate professor of molecular biology, who is looking to explore her role in translational medicine and develop skills for an innovative approach to problem-solving. The vignettes are focused on a variety of teaching and learning strategies that can be used to teach translational medicine. Each vignette includes a description of the experience from the perspective of the learner and the faculty as it pertains to the teaching strategy, method of delivery, and learning outcomes. TM is as complex to teach as it is to learn. The specialized skills and knowledges that are part of the TM toolbox cannot all be taught in a lecture format. Educators must consider multiple strategies and select those which are most effective for achieving the learning outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Early online date14 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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