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The 3rd International E-Symposium on Communication in Health Care

"Advancing Frontiers of Health Communication Research, Education and Practice during the Pandemic"

Session 9: Health Professions Education 1

Talk 1:  Dialogic approaches to clinical reasoning: Understanding the role of educational technologies in health professions education

Susan Bridges

In a historically brief period, health professions educators supporting learning in campus-based curricula have rapidly responded to the restrictions of on-campus modes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past year, many have capitalized on early innovations with educational technologies in developing online and blended courses. If we continue with the premise that clinical teacher presence and dialogic pedagogies will remain central to educating health professions students, we must consider how these approaches will transform post-COVID-19 education. In this brief presentation, I will share my team’s research into the role of educational technologies and dialogic pedagogic designs in inquiry-based HPE programs. The results of these Interactional Ethnographies seek to inform post-COVID curriculum designs that can enhance human connection and support HPE novices in developing clinical reasoning.

Speaker's bio:

Dr Susan Bridges is the Director at the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and an Associate Professor with the Faculty of Education at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Adjunct Professor at the Australian Catholic University. She is an award-winning educator (HKU 2012, 2020; QS Wharton 2016) and leads curriculum re-design and staff development projects in higher education. She led the successful launch of a cross-faculty Masters of Education specialism in ‘Health Professions Education (HPE)’ with the Bau Institute of Medical and Health Sciences Education (BIMHSE) of the LKS Faculty of Medicine. Her UGC and internationally-funded collaborations with researchers in the US, Finland, Japan and Australia explore the ‘how’ of effective pedagogy and clinical communication through interactional and ethnographic approaches. In 2020, she was elected Chair, Problem-based and Project-based Learning Special Interest Group for the American Educational Research Association. Her 2020 co-edited book with R. Imafuku on “Interactional Research into Problem-based Learning” is with Purdue University Press.

Talk 2: The effectiveness of 'social stories’ to improve the oral health of preschool children with learning disabilities

Colman McGrath

Social stories are a type of ‘social narrative’ that are used to help individuals understand the nuances of interpersonal communication. The objective of social stories is to share information, largely through a description of the events occurring around the subject and also why. Social stories use a specifically defined style and format (specific types of sentences and social story ratio). The stories appropriate social interaction by describing a situation with relevant social cues, other's perspectives, and a suggested appropriate response. Social studies have widely been used among children with autism spectrum disorders and learning disabilties.


We have been working with Special Child Care Centers and NGOs in Hong Kong for over a decade developing and testing social stories relating to key oral health behaviors – tooth brushing, dietary behaviors and dental attendance.   The efficacy of social-story based intervention in promoting the oral health status among preschool children with special healthcare needs (SJCN) has been eventuated in multicenter community-based randomized controlled clinical trials.  We found social story-based interventions improved oral health-related behaviours among young children with special health care needs. The efficacy of the interventions were associated with children's adaptive skills and family socio-demographic status. The findings have implications for interpersonal communication practices and further research is warranted in this evolving field.

Speaker's Bio:

Colman McGrath is Clinical Professor in Dental Public Health, Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong. His research expertise includes social impact of oral health and oral health quality of life, impact of society on oral health and oral health inequalities, and research in dental education.

Talk 3:  Communication skills learning in obstetrics and gynaecology during the COVID-19 pandemic: Sharing of our experience

Sofie Yung

Because of the frequently intimate nature and highly emotional health conditions, good communication skills are important in obstetrics and gynaecology. When face-to-face teaching was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, we used different formats for medical students to learn communication skills: workshops with role-plays, “virtual clinic” with surrogate patients and “web-side clinic” with real patients. I will share our experience with each of these formats in the symposium. Each format has its own pros and cons, and are supplementary to each other for the students’ learning.

Speaker's bio:

Sofie Yung is Clinical Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. She is involved in undergraduate teaching, curriculum design and student assessment. She is currently studying a Master of Education (Health Professions Education) in The University of Hong Kong.

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