SCRANTON, PA — Tanja Adonizio, MD and Michelle Schmude, EdD, of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM), recently delivered two presentations on the school's innovative approach to professional identity formation. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has identified professionalism as a core competency that must be demonstrated by doctors in training. Professional identity formation gives GCSOM students the tools and skills necessary to master this competency.

Dr. Adonizio, GCSOM's associate dean for student affairs, and Dr. Schmude, the school's associate dean for admissions, enrollment management and financial aid and assistant professor, presented at the Philadelphia local area network (LAN) meeting of the Northeast Association for Advisors for the Health Professions (NEAAHP) and at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) annual meeting in Atlanta.

The presentations focused on ePortfolio, which GCSOM developed as a means to assess medical students' competency in the crucial area of professionalism. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), professionalism encompasses the "competencies of respect, responsibility and accountability, excellence and scholarship, honor and integrity, altruism, leadership, cultural competency, caring and compassion, and confidentiality."

Numerous studies have demonstrated that professionalism not only ensures patient safety, but is also key to preventing physician burnout. Unfortunately, measuring and assessing professionalism, which depends so greatly upon subjective feelings, is challenging for educators. The ePortfolio project creates a way to do so. Among its many functions, the ePortfolio collects student's reflections and provide tools to develop self-directed learning. The ePortfolio also uses surveys like the Jefferson Empathy Scale to establish a baseline for each student's attitudes and track variations over time.

In addition to being an integral part of GCSOM's medical school curriculum, Dr. Schmude also guides the professional identity formation of the school's master of biomedical sciences (MBS) students in the course, Professionalism and Professional Identity Formation for Healthcare Careers.

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (Geisinger Commonwealth) is a member of the Geisinger family. Geisinger Commonwealth offers a community-based model of medical education with campuses in Danville, Doylestown, Scranton, Sayre and Wilkes-Barre. Geisinger Commonwealth offers Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) degrees. The college's innovative curriculum, focused on caring for people in the context of their lives and their community, attracts the next generation of physicians and scientists from within its 17-county region in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania, as well as from across the state and the nation. Geisinger Commonwealth is committed to non-discrimination in all employment and educational opportunities. Visit www.geisinger.edu/gcsom.