Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #14
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Leadership Seminar: Culture Change in a Medical School: The Role of Behavioral Assessments

Saturday, May 24, 2014
1:00 PM–1:50 PM
W190a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.
Chair: Lori H. Diener-Ludwig (Zimmet Group)
THOMAS L. SCHWENK (University of Nevada School of Medicine), Melissa Piasecki (University of Nevada School of Medicine), Timothy Baker (University of Nevada School of Medicine)
Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., is a professor of family medicine, dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine, and vice president for Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno. Before this role, he was chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan for 25 years. He earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering and an M.D. from the University of Michigan, and trained in family medicine, including a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Faculty Development Fellowship, at the University of Utah. He is board-certified in family medicine and sports medicine. His research primarily focuses on the care of depression and mental illness in primary care. His more recent work has addressed the issue of depression in special populations, including medical students and physicians. He served on the board of the American Board of Family Medicine and was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2002.

The nature of clinical practice, biomedical research, and medical education in a medical school rewards independent, entrepreneurial, risk-taking behavior by its faculty. These behaviors, while successful in many regards, also result in a fragmented, nonhierarchical, “flat” faculty structure and culture that is somewhat peculiar to medical schools. These cultural forces have been magnified at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM) by years of economic and political assaults that left UNSOM with a particularly high level of disengagement, reduced faculty satisfaction anda highly centralized leadership structure that disempowered department chairs and detracted from faculty ownership and investment in UNSOM missions. The speakers will describe strategies used to assess and transform the culture of UNSOM using behavioral systems approaches in order to adapt to changing social demands on the organization (e.g., culturally competent physicians and community engagement). The goals are greater faculty engagement, an emphasis on faculty career development, explicit commitments to achieving individual career and institutional objectives, more decentralized leadership, and a focus on communication, investment, accountability, transparency, and partnership. The use of behavioral assessments will drive socially significant practices within and external to the organization.

Target Audience:

Psychologists, behavior analysts, graduate students and anyone interested in how a culture can be changed by behavior analysis.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the event, participants should be able to (1) Describe the unique characteristics of medical school culture from a behavioral systems perspective; (2) Identify a behavioral analytic approach to assess faculty attitudes; and (3) Discuss the application of a relational response measure for implicit bias in medical students and opportunities for curricular intervention. 
Keyword(s): education, leadership, Leadership Seminar



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