Creating a Culture of Peer Support

Alexandra Ruan

Dr. Alexandra Ruan has recently been awarded a grant from the Stanford Teaching & Mentoring Academy to support an innovative educational curriculum program titled “Development of a Longitudinal Peer Support Curriculum for Trainees in Anesthesiology.” 

Dr. Ruan’s program is intended to address a critical professional need. Nearly every practicing anesthesiologist experiences at least one serious perioperative adverse event or patient death over the course of their career. The literature suggests that formal and informal peer support from a colleague is one of the most desired resources after an adverse event, yet when surveyed, most respondents felt that they did not have the skills or adequate knowledge to serve as an informal peer supporter.  The typical anesthesiology residency curriculum does not currently include the development of skills to help with coping or supporting colleagues after an adverse event.  To address this gap, we propose the introduction of a longitudinal curriculum which will include both a theoretical and practical framework for residents to be able to support themselves and their colleagues. This curriculum will be comprised of a comprehensive toolkit including resident lectures on peer support and managing after adverse events, supplemental videos, and practice scenarios. The lecture series will be targeted towards residents in anesthesiology but can be adapted broadly to other specialties within and outside of Stanford. 

This project is support by the Teaching and Mentoring Academy (TMA) sponsors an annual Innovation Grants Program to promote excellence in teaching and mentoring by developing, supporting, and recognizing dedicated educators to ensure world-class training for the next generation of physicians, researchers, and educators.  Both small (<$10K) and large (<$20K) grants are available. The Academy encourages educational innovations and educational scholarship projects that will have a lasting impact on education in the School of Medicine at both the UME and GME levels. Innovation could be related to—but is not limited to—simulation models, service learning, case-based or team-based learning, novel instructional delivery approaches, and innovative assessment methods. Educational scholarship projects should demonstrate scientific rigor in conception, design, and evaluation.  More information about this grant opportunity is available at this link.

Congratulations Dr. Ruan on this excellent project.