Teaching Scholar advocates hands-on learning

March 14, 2012 5:43 AM

Arthur Nead

“One of my main focuses has been the concept of experiential learning,” says Dr. James R. Korndorffer Jr., professor of clinical surgery and recipient of the 2012 Tulane School of Medicine Teaching Scholar Award.  As medical director of the Tulane Center for Advanced Medical Simulation and Team Training since 2008, Korndorffer has been putting that concept into robust practice at Tulane. 

Dr. James Korndorffer

Dr. James Korndorffer, director of the Tulane Center for Advanced Medical Simulation and Team Training since its inception in 2008, says experiential learning improves medical education. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

The simulation center is comprised of 14,000 square feet of realistic environments and meeting space for hands-on training and instruction using state-of-the-art-simulators, followed by skills assessments sessions.

“This has been an area where a large amount of my scholarly activity on education has been focused,” Korndorffer says. “With the build-out of the simulation center and utilizing simulation in all areas of medical education at Tulane — undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical education — I think this is one area in which we will continue to grow and progress.”  

In addition to introducing new forms of instruction at the simulation center, Korndorffer, as residency program director for the Department of Surgery, charted a complete redesign of the surgical residency program after Katrina.

“That redesign included the utilization of all the hospitals within the New Orleans area, really becoming a citywide residency, as opposed to having a residency based in simply one or two hospitals,” he says. “And we based that citywide residency starting with the goals and objectives that we wanted the residents to accomplish, as opposed to many residencies, which have always based their goals and objectives on their clinical opportunities.”

As winner of the Teaching Scholar Award on Medical Education Day on March 6, hosted annually by the School of Medicine’s Office of Medical Education, Korndorffer is inducted into the Tulane School of Medicine’s Society of Teaching Scholars.

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