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Trauma Surgeon Receives Teaching Scholar Award

May 11, 2009 1:00 PM
Arthur Nead anead@tulane.edu

The Third Annual Health Sciences Society of Teaching Scholars Education Day on Thursday (May 7) focused on new concepts for improving medical education, and was highlighted by the naming of Dr. Norman E. McSwain Jr., a renowned trauma surgeon, as recipient of the 2009 Senior Vice President's Teaching Scholar Award.


Dr. Benjamin P. Sachs, right, dean of the School of Medicine and senior vice president of Tulane University, recognizes Dr. Norman E. McSwain Jr., left, professor of surgery, as this year's Teaching Scholar Award recipient. (Photo by Sally Asher)

Dr. Benjamin P. Sachs, dean of the School of Medicine and senior vice president of Tulane University, presented the award to McSwain and honored this year's finalist, Dr. Elma I. LeDoux, associate professor of medicine.

McSwain, a professor of surgery, served as trauma director at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, which, until closed by Hurricane Katrina, was considered one of the top five trauma centers in the United States.

The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and the National Associates of Emergency Medical Technicians recruited McSwain to assist with development of the Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support program. This program has since trained more than half a million people in 45 countries and is considered the world standard for pre-hospital trauma care.

McSwain also has worked with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop the Tactical Combat Casualty Care program for military medics, crucial for the care of wounded servicemen.

Dr. Kevin Krane, vice dean for academic affairs, praised McSwain's “remarkable record of scholarship.”

“Dr. McSwain has, over the span of his career, created major educational materials for trauma life support that are used both nationally and internationally," said Krane, a professor of medicine and recipient of the Teaching Scholar Award in 2000.

The day-long event is hosted annually by the School of Medicine's Office of Medical Education.

“Medical education day is specifically about medical education scholarship at Tulane, about showcasing innovative developments in the classroom that we want to share with everybody,” said Annie J. Daniel, assistant professor of clinical medicine and director of the Office of Medical Education. “The education part is the teaching part — but the scholarship part goes a little bit further, because you are not only teaching, but you are thinking about how you are teaching, about what it takes for students to actually learn the content, what you can do differently to help students retain the information, understand it, or apply it.”

The Office of Medical Education actively encourages such scholarship, offering Tulane faculty the opportunity to submit proposals for “mini-grants” to support their projects. As in previous years, faculty members made presentations on a variety of innovative approaches to teaching and learning in the medical school setting. These included the introduction and use of new educational technologies, how to use existing technologies more effectively, ways to improve patient safety, the benefits of student self-directed learning and the benefits of peer instruction teaching strategies.

The event was marked by poster sessions. Keynote speaker was Patricia O'Sullivan, professor in the Department of Medicine and associate director for educational research at the University of California–San Francisco.

Each winner of the Teaching Scholar Award is inducted into the Tulane School of Medicine's Society of Teaching Scholars.