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Innovations in External Education Episode 02: Learning Opportunities and Events Not To Miss in 2023!
This series of the Elevate Podcast illuminates the path scientific communication takes from teaching to diagnosis to treating all the way to changing, prolonging, and saving patient lives. External Education of a growing variety of stakeholders in healthcare by the Medical Affairs Division of Pharma and Medical Device industry reflects the critical role Education in Medicine plays in our Age of Information. The podcast features critical discussions with leading educators across healthcare from the various perspectives of pharma / biotech sponsors, program organizers, attendees, and patients with a quest to explore some of the most novel, intriguing formats of Medical Education, following their approaches to learning in our digital age as well as their current gaps or success stories. The goal of the podcast is to make medical education simpler to access, more relevant to apply across healthcare organizations, and more continuous to inspire innovation and quality.
This second episode in the series discusses the activities of the External Education FAWG and the different learning opportunities that are currently available and coming soon to all MAPS members. Our host, Tim Mikhelashvili, PharmD, Co-Founder and CEO of Amedea Pharma and Chair of the Mentorship Program at the Medical Affairs Professional Society (MAPS) speaks with Sarah Funderburk, SVP Senior Medical Strategy Director with Caudex and Partner Circle member of the External Education FAWG. Sarah discusses some of her learnings from the area of company-led education and her vision for where emerging technologies could take medical education in the future. She addresses the gaps in personalizing education for healthcare consumers and providers based on Salesforce’s latest global Connected Health Consumer Report, and reviews the role of programs such as ChatGPT, Tome, and Synesthesia on medical education. Listen to the episode to hear how, when and where you can take advantage of the many exciting activities being offered by the External Education FAWG.
Tim Mikhelashvili 00:00
Welcome to the Innovations in External Education series of the “Elevate” Medical Affairs podcast. My name is Tim Mikhelashvili, CEO and Co-Founder Amedea Pharma, Chair of the Mentorship Program and Board Member of the Medical Affairs Professional Society (MAPS). This podcast series illuminates the impact that medical education has on changing, prolonging and saving patient lives. Throughout our conversations. You’ll hear various perspectives from patients, health care providers, pharma and biotech manufacturers, medical education agencies and organizers on the latest emerging formats of scientific communication. The goal of our podcast series is to make medical education more accessible to everyone more relevant and also continuous in order to accelerate innovation, and improve healthcare quality. Today’s guest is an expert in medical communications and medical education Sarah Funderburk, Senior Vice President, Senior Medical Strategy Director at CAUDEX, and in this episode, Sarah will highlight some of the new medical education resources that all of you listening to this podcast, Crosse Life Sciences will soon be able to access via different formats as well. So I’m very excited about this conversation. But before we hear from Sara, I need to make a few statements about this podcast that the views that are going to be expressed in this recording are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of MAPS or the companies with which they’re affiliated. This presentation is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal or regulatory advice. We encourage you to engage in conversations about the External Education functional area working group with other MAPS members via the MAPS LinkedIn page, visit Medical Affairs.org/events to participate in our upcoming webinars and in person conferences. I think Sarah, a lot of these events, the webinars and podcasts have been pretty much the source of my education personally, and how I’ve exponentially increased my understanding of the various different perspectives in the industry. And so I’m really excited to speak to you. Welcome. Welcome to our podcast series there. How are you?
Sarah Funderburk 02:24
Thanks, Tim. Thanks for having me on. Yeah, I’m excited to talk a lot about kind of some of the upcoming activities that we have with the External Education FAWG, I just a little bit about myself first. So I’ve been in the medical communications field for just over about 12 years now. So and 11 of those have been with CAUDEX. They’re an IPG health company. So as you noted, my my current role is as a senior medical strategy director. So I’m a part of a team of medical strategy directors actually, which just kind of a it’s a pretty unique service offering and med comms, so we’re really, you know, as a team that can really elevate strategy. We mobilize our teams internally, and also our clients. And we’re, we’re really focusing on kind of the biggest challenges of our industry partners. But I’ve been luckily lucky enough over the past three years to be a partner circle member with the External Education FAWG, which is really kind of what we’re here to talk about today. So, Marc Sirockman, the he’s the global CEO for Mehta, voc. He’s our other partner circle member with the FAWG. And you know, we, we do have like a really fun time supporting and participating in all the activities. And as you’ll see from some of the things we talked about today, we are folic has been, you know, pretty prolific over the past few years.
Tim Mikhelashvili 03:44
Yes, absolutely. And I know that you change in switch your time from South Carolina, as well as London, for all of the listeners. And so you’re extremely busy. I know in medical communication and education. And where are you speaking to us from today?
Sarah Funderburk 04:01
So I’m Yeah, so I live in London. So my, I always hit my home home is is South Carolina. So that’s where I’m from and where my family is. So I do try to go back and visit as much as I can. But I am based in London.
Tim Mikhelashvili 04:14
Yep. Sure. So sir, I know we’re going to talk about some of the upcoming events. But I’d like you to start with just your personal insights on company led education. You know, maybe shed some light on AI on some of the new technologies that are now emerging, as well.
Sarah Funderburk 04:31
Yeah, definitely. So a lot of my role is to kind of be, you know, future thinking and push boundaries. And if there’s ever been a really hot topic right now, not just in our industry, but an education but really across industries. It’s the evolution of artificial intelligence. And really, you know, what we’re seeing right now with chat GPT and a myriad of other programs that really just seem to be popping out of the woodwork each day. So if you haven’t had a chance to play around On with some some of these other programs like tone, which is one for slides, or synesthesia, which has videos yet, I really, highly recommend that you kind of like Google these things and just play around with them because they’re, they’re mind blowing. But we really have a lot to learn with these new tools. And I know that, especially with any of these AI tools, they can produce a little bit of trepidation. And some, there’s been a lot of those fear of kind of, like, ah, is this going to make me redundant, that these tools are not going anywhere, and we need to really learn to replace that trepidation with excitement and see how we can use them make our lives easier in Medical Affairs, and we really use them to be able to elevate kind of our day to day roles. So when it comes to specifically medical education, there was really great article that was released this summer, by Thomas das and several colleagues in cardiology, and it’s causing with medical education, and the digital era was published by JCC advances. So what they describe is, they really see kind of a hybrid future for medical education. So ensuring that we’re utilizing and optimizing both kind of that traditional in person, kind of what we call a synchronous environment. So those synchronous classroom kind of educational opportunities, as well as digital opportunities, digital opportunities, as related there, they tend to be asynchronous and learner driven. And actually, you know, a podcast is, it’s a really great example of that. And however this paper is discussing, so it really came out before, finally, all the excitement around chat GPT. So that just kind of shows how quickly we need to evolve. And what I really think is missing from the hybrid model that they’re describing, is that potential for digital classrooms. So where you could potentially have the benefits of an asynchronous kind of learner driven environment, with AI, potentially providing the type of feedback that you’d normally get in a synchronous environment. So it’s really taking kind of what we’re seeing in the gaming world, kind of one step further for education. And that’s kind of where I’m hoping that the wood that we’re going to get to and start seeing in the future. And yeah, it’s just really an exciting time right now. And I’m hoping that everyone that’s listening is really, you know, exploring those different types of educational tools that we do have at our disposal, everything from podcasts, and kind of, you know, these new AI tools to, you know, also different ways of engaging in person as well, because we can’t forget that that’s still innovation doesn’t necessarily have to be digital. There’s lots of other types of innovation in education as well.
Tim Mikhelashvili 07:48
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for sharing that. That article, that reference. And also I actually happen to learn about synesthesia and tome from you speaking recently. So thanks for sharing those two resources as well for our listeners. As you’re going over that article, I thought also about a recent report that I also reviewed, Sarah, that may be worth mentioning here for audience from the Salesforce, Salesforce connected healthcare consumer report, that it surveyed over 12,000 consumers worldwide. And there are important gaps that are still I think, still have been addressed by many of us in healthcare in terms of the kinds of ways that our healthcare consumers receive information versus the ones that are being offered. And there is a huge variety of them. In terms of what type of information about a medicine or treatment? Are they interested in? And are they really receiving it or about the disease or condition or other how to find doctors. And so there is still a gap, it looks like where they’re the interest is high about 91% for about for information about a medicine or treatment, but about 45% are being offered that information. So I think your your, your points are very well taken in terms of just increasing the variety of how in what kind of information we offer.
Sarah Funderburk 09:24
Yeah, and I think they it’s, you know, we’re on a podcast right now. And I know we’ve talked about before kind of using a podcast to talk about the power of the podcast, and that’s a lot what you discussed in previous one was Shelby Engler. But that’s the the auditory learning is something I still think we haven’t tapped into as much as we could in the pharmaceutical industry. Because especially physicians, they’re so busy, but you know, they have to, they have to drive they have to cook they have to do things where you know, they’re, their eyes aren’t necessarily going to be able to to read and do other things, but they’ll certainly be able to take in information by listening. And so I think it’s it’s still an underutilized form of education for the pharmaceutical industry.
Tim Mikhelashvili 10:13
Yeah. Sarah. So since you’ve already alluded to some of the exciting programs that are coming up, let’s start with the E Learning Module. And in terms of that, is something new in the External Education functional area working group. So can you describe what people can expect from this eLearning module? And why…
Sarah Funderburk 10:35
Yeah, so our FAWG, we have two learning modules that have now just been released. So hopefully, people are starting to see kind of the the promos come out on LinkedIn, and you’re able to log in and do them now. So the two modules are the first one, the introduction to External Education. And then there’s a second on independent medical education. So the the introductory course is really for those who are new to Medical Affairs, or are just getting started or transitioning to medical education, it can also serve as a good refresher. So even those that have been in the field a while sometimes that one on one type, of course, can be a good reminder and can help keep you current. And then our second course on independent medical education is also attended mostly for beginners and intermediate learners. And it’s again, those starting out or those looking for that refresher on on everything, I me, both modules. So the the introductory one is 30 minutes. To go through the course there’s no prerequisite learning, and it’s free, it’s a self paced knowledge checks throughout and then you know, the brief quiz at the end to help test comprehension are I me module, it’s a bit longer, it’s 60 minutes. And when we do recommend that you do that introductory course, first kind of as a as a prerequisite. And then you know, the format is the same, it gets self paced knowledge, checks, comprehension, quiz at the end, but it’s a good way to, you know, it’s not going to be passive learning, you do have to stay engaged. And we, you know, we put a lot of work and care into those modules. So the topics are, are ones that the FAWG is really passionate about. So we’re hoping that that comes through with that the introductory module, you’re going to become acquainted with what we call a table, the table that will never be forgotten, simply because it took so much in thought and discourse to get that table as right as possible. And it’s one that introduces the learner to different types of External Education. So it’s an extremely useful resource guide. And it’s, it’s, in fact, it’s so critical that it makes appearance again, and the IMA module. And then that module really covers the definition and principles of independent medical education goes into global regulations, company policies, how it should be incorporated in into your Medical Affairs strategy. There’s also an overview of the grant process, and then always Importantly, the how, you know, we need to always be planning with that desired outcome in mind. So a lot of information packed in there, but I think they’re, they’re really useful, we’re really hoping that people take advantage of the opportunity to dive right in.
Tim Mikhelashvili 13:23
Yep, I absolutely saw it recently on LinkedIn, and I know the degree of detail and the quality that you know, of all the reports from your working group, because I really consider it a model and an example for all of the others. Because as I interact with various different functional area working groups, I really am always excited and inspired by the work that you, you contribute to our organization into our community. In fact, I started my career in medical education, as you know, before going into field Field Medical, for the rest of my career. So So that’s, that’s, that’s the E Learning Module. So which that’s one format that allows a lot of our peers to, to become experts and to, to learn about those.
Sarah Funderburk 14:18
It’s that kind of modulate the E learning it’s, it’s a really good format, because it’s the way we design it, you know, it’s designed to have you know, pop ups with the knowledge checks. And so as it is engaging, rather than being that kind of like passive format, of of learning, rather than just having to, you know, search for an article and read it and try to absorb the information while having tons of distractions around you. It’s nice to be able to, you know, have this kind of pop ups and have to engage with the material.
Tim Mikhelashvili 14:49
And how long are the modules and how long will it take?
Sarah Funderburk 14:52
So yeah, the first one, it just takes, you know, half an hour so really not too bad. And then 60 minutes and then you can stop in Start, as well. So you don’t have to do it all in one go.
Tim Mikhelashvili 15:03
I see. Great. Great. Now we have a upcoming global annual meeting of MAPS in Nashville. And so I know that you’re planning a very insightful future frontiers workshop right workshop that’s titled future frontiers in External Education. What kind of sneak preview Could you give us? Where can you give us a glimpse of what we can look forward to, and why those who are listening should attend your workshop?
Sarah Funderburk 15:32
Yeah, we’re really excited about this one. So mark your calendars. It’s the Tuesday I think, at 10:15. So the group we’re gonna be covering social media kind of emerging digital tools, and, you know, really looking at measuring impact beyond just knowledge. So what we’re going to do in the workshop, so we’re first going to need to set the scene, reviewing some of the fundamentals of External Education, what the latest trends are, and then from there, it’s really going to be kind of that roll up your sleeves kind of workshop, and you’re gonna get to choose which topic you’re going to focus on. So whether you want to really look at the, you know, the use of new digital formats and tools and how to use them effectively for maximum impact, or thinking about more of the ins and outs of working in and with social media, which, you know, can be very challenging, but it’s very important in this day and age. And then also, you know, all are the approaches to measuring impact of the educational programs. So, really thinking about how we can use tech as an enabler to be able to measure beyond just attitude change.
Tim Mikhelashvili 16:40
Yeah, absolutely. Well, very exciting. I think, nowadays, it’s medical education is particularly relevant, because of just how accessible it has become for the public, right for the healthcare consumer, and how they’re consuming that information is through search engines, but it has increased in terms of social media, even our healthcare professionals, if you look at the perspectives of the providers, they’re practically raised on social media or getting medical information in social media. So this is why I think what the focus of your working group allows us to ensure the quality of that increased volume of information is also improved. And also the variety, right, and it’s offered in ways that that that our public can can consume.
Sarah Funderburk 17:31
Yeah, definitely. I mean, social media can be a tricky one, and especially when it comes to compliance and making sure everything is on the up and up with medical, legal, regulatory. And so it’s, but it’s, you shouldn’t be scared of it, either. You shouldn’t be like, Oh, it’s too complex, let’s just leave it because when we just leave it, that’s what happens when other groups are still gonna go on there. And, you know, spread misinformation. So that’s why, you know, as, as really, you know, educators, we have that opportunity. And we’re really the best ones to take social media by the reins and make sure we’re using it for you know, correct educational value.
Tim Mikhelashvili 18:12
Yep. So one last question I have is like to find out what you think about the difference between virtual and live learning, particularly as we’re all looking forward to this meeting, Live Meeting in Nashville? What are your insights? And what are any live opportunities to learn for our colleagues?
Sarah Funderburk 18:33
Yeah, so I mean, there’s always going to be value in that live in person kind of setting. So having the in person workshop where a learner really gets to use all of their senses to fully engage. And it’s kind of going back to Dawson’s paper on that hybrid educational model. Having that live opportunity for a workshop, it really encourages dialogue and a sense of community. However, we are hoping that then that dialogue and community will then be able to extend into new digital areas and digital communities. And that’s aware, it’s nice to have that kind of live interaction to be able to really form those bonds and have a really engaging discourse and then being able to continue that discourse in a virtual environment and keep it going and keep the engagement going. So that’s where, you know, there’s that benefit of being able to utilize both of them.
Tim Mikhelashvili 19:30
Okay. Well, wonderful. Thank you very much, Sarah, for your dedication and passion for medical education, medical communications. I think our listeners mark the dates that they need to remember.
Sarah Funderburk 19:43
Do you have well one last day to note, okay, yeah, we do. We’ve just gotten the dates actually for our second masterclass. So that’s going to be held October 23 through 24th in Jersey City and New Jersey. So the first iteration was held in December last year and it was a small group of feedback was really excellent. And I know the FAWG is we’re really looking forward to engaging even more MAPS numbers this fall. So mark your calendars, because that’s going to be an excellent one as well.
Tim Mikhelashvili 20:14
All right, wonderful. Well, great to speak to you again, Sarah. Thank you for listening to the second episode of our Innovations in External Education podcast series, share it with your friends with your colleagues in Medical Affairs. And please comment, and connect with Sarah as well. If you’re a MAPS member, thank you for your support of our organization Medical Affairs Professional Society. If you’re not yet a MAPS member and would like to to gain access to additional resources in this area, please visit the MAPS website or explore joining as well today at Medical Affairs.org/join-MAPS. Thank you very much.
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