MEHP Graduate Uses Simulation to Teach Medical Skills

By Karen Blum

Johns Hopkins emergency medicine physician Julianna Jung MEd ’17 didn’t set out to become a teacher. But when there was an unexpected vacancy in the clerkship director position in her department in 2004, she was asked to temporarily fill in.

“I ended up absolutely loving it,” says Jung, who has been the Department of Emergency Medicine’s director of medical student education since 2006. “I love working with medical students because they’re at a point in their career where any little bit of knowledge or skill you give them is transformative. It takes them from feeling like a layperson to starting to feel like a doctor.”

When she took on the role, however, there wasn’t much by way of formal education training, so Jung learned whatever she could about medical education by going to conferences or talking to other people. When she heard the Johns Hopkins schools of Education, Business, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health were launching a Master of Education in the Health Professions (MEHP) degree program, she was intrigued, and became part of the inaugural class.

Jung says she valued getting to know educators from other disciplines and learning about their challenges and successes. For her capstone project, she used an international scholars grant through the Johns Hopkins Institute for Excellence in Education to develop a simulation-based pediatrics resuscitation curriculum in Uganda, in partnership with Makerere University College of Health Sciences. During the project, she and her colleagues not only taught resuscitation techniques to postgraduate trainees in pediatrics using mannequins and some role-playing, but they taught the learners to be educators as well, enabling them to teach the same skills to more junior trainees to develop an ongoing cycle of education.

In the United States, says Jung, also associate director of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Simulation Center, most medical students can learn what they need and be able to apply it pretty safely. But that may not be true in developing countries, where students learn medicine mostly in large lecture halls without hands-on experiential teaching or mentorship. “Graduates go off and practice in remote areas with no additional postgraduate training or supervision, where they’re often responsible for very sick patients and having to diagnose diseases or perform procedures they’re not familiar with,” she says. “Simulation is a really important adjunct to helping people get up to speed in those settings.”

Jung says the MEHP program strengthened her research skills and made her more competitive for leadership positions at work. She has since won several teaching awards, including the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching, and twice received the George Stuart Award for outstanding contributions to the clinical education of Johns Hopkins medical students.

Jung says her teaching philosophies embrace positive regard for learners. “In the simulation setting, we’re making people vulnerable, putting learners into a situation where they don’t know what to do and they’re going to make mistakes, and we’re expecting them to analyze and learn from those mistakes,” she says. “It’s important to always remember that they’re coming to you with their best game face—they’re intelligent, capable, motivated people…. We want our learners to feel safe and supported so they can really grow as clinicians.”