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Nutrition Informatics Blog

AMIA Annual Symposium – One Educator Can not Stop Thinking of the Possibilities (6 weeks later!)

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By Phyllis Fatzinger McShane, MS, RD, LDN/LD Director, Dietetic Internship, University of Maryland College Park

This year’s American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Symposium in Washington, DC was an insightful experience!

Saturday October 22 – “T04: Best Practices for Teaching Informatics” – an eye opening session that found this writer texting content to other NIC and educators as I listened to the presentations.

Dr. Vimia L Patel, PhD, DSc, FRSC (UTHealth, Houston, Texas) presented “Foundations of Biomedical Informatics Instruction” that included “myth busting” as it relates to teaching informatics.

  • Myth 3 “With information explosion, we have to include and offer more courses”.  Actually we need to focus more on “the how” and “the what” as more may not always be better. 
  • Myth 5 “Teach using multimedia when possible because it is a more effective way of learning”.  Well actually – “The primary determinant of effectiveness is not the medium used, but the strategies and assessments implemented during the instruction” as “multimedia can reduce learning – even if students like the experience”.

Dr. Judith J Warren, PhD, RN, BC, FAAN, FACMI (U of Kansas School of Nursing) presented “Teaching and Learning in an Online Informatics Program” that provided some very useful distance training tips as well as highlighted use of Second Life  for a weight management center simulation; development of a concept map  by students to illustrate multiple interconnections in informatics legal, ethical and security issues; students use of FreeMind  to address a series of issues related to developing a Personnel Health Record (PHR) for their second life simulation and several more assignments.

While I left the session with my head spinning, particularly since my state university has such limited funds, I became more grateful for ADA’s support of its Nutrition Informatics Committee that is working hard to link up with existing entities, e.g. Nursing TIGER Initiative  to bring more resources and training to educators.






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