Tag Archives: mcmaster

Transfusion Medicine Online Learning

The object of this educational research project was to determine if a case-based, self-directed e-learning module could effectively supplement core learning objectives in the health sciences program. Our partner was the Faculty of Health Sciences of the McMaster University.

The VDI team worked with Doctors Anthony Levinson, Sarah Garside, and Kathryn Webert from McMaster to create a web-based e-learning course to teach principles of transfusion medicine. This is an interdisciplinary topic that frequently “slips through the cracks” of the curriculum.

The project integrated elements of learning theory and instructional design that were consistent with new MD curriculum goals. These included:

  • Literature search and expert consensus to identify content objectives and core concepts.
  • An e-tutor to promote guided discovery within a tutorial mode.
  • An interactive interface to promote active learning.
  • Pre-tests to orient learners and measure their prior learning as well as measures of their confidence.
  • A problem-based/case-based approach.
  • Interactive elements such as clinical pearls and key facts.
  • Animations of key concepts and mechanisms.
  • Mini-cases to buttress learning through elements of deliberate and mixed practice.
  • Practical clinical issues to aid integration into practice (e.g. Writing orders, obtaining informed consent).
  • Post-tests for self-evaluation of the learner’s new knowledge and level of confidence in that knowledge.
  • Funding for this research project was partly supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Bayer Healthcare.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Visualization

FAS was a project I worked on at VDI. We collaborated with McMaster University on a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome visualization, which demonstrated the subtle changes in an embryo affected by FAS

What is FAS

Prenatal exposure to alcohol can cause a range of disorders, known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). One of the most severe effects of drinking during pregnancy is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FAS is one of the leading known preventable causes of mental retardation and birth defects. If a woman drinks alcohol during her pregnancy, her baby can be born with FAS, a lifelong condition that causes physical and mental disabilities. FAS is characterized by abnormal facial features, growth deficiencies, and central nervous system (CNS) problems. People with FAS might have problems with learning, memory, attention span, communication, vision, hearing, or a combination of these. These problems often lead to difficulties in school and problems getting along with others. FAS is a permanent condition. It affects every aspect of an individual’s life and the lives of his or her family.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. The term FASDs is not intended for use as a clinical diagnosis.

FASDs include FAS as well as other conditions in which individuals have some, but not all, of the clinical signs of FAS. Three terms often used are fetal alcohol effects (FAE), alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), and alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD). The term FAE has been used to describe behavioral and cognitive problems in children who were prenatally exposed to alcohol, but who do not have all of the typical diagnostic features of FAS. In 1996, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) replaced FAE with the terms ARND and ARBD. Children with ARND might have functional or mental problems linked to prenatal alcohol exposure. These include behavioral or cognitive abnormalities or a combination of both. Children with ARBD might have problems with the heart, kidneys, bones, and/or hearing.

All FASDs are 100% preventable-if a woman does not drink alcohol while she is pregnant.