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2022 DELTA Awards

In its fifth year, DELTA provided funding for six projects, which were selected from a competitive field of 17 proposals. Each of the funded projects will deploy innovative uses of digital technology to enhance the university’s teaching and learning enterprise for a wide variety of populations, including Johns Hopkins graduates, undergraduates, faculty, patients, and the general public.

Developing and Pilot-testing Culturally Based Educational Videos for Puerto Rican and African American Home Hospice Caregivers

Principal Investigators: Dulce Cruz-Oliver and Marcela D. Blinka, School of Medicine, and Danetta Sloan, Bloomberg School of Public Health

In keeping with the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Roadmap on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, to strengthen faculty-led interdisciplinary collaboration, and to launch innovative cross-cutting initiatives, this pilot project proposes to create three telenovelas to teach a population of learners seldom studied―hospice family caregivers (HFCG) from African American and Puerto Rican backgrounds. We will target an identified learning need (patient and family education focused on symptom-related issues) and measure a core set of caregiver outcomes (preparedness and self-efficacy). This innovative proposal will be the first to create and test telenovela videos targeting African American and Puerto Rican family caregivers in a hospice setting. Our preliminary work (R01CA203999) found that subjects were 12% more likely to view telenovelas than video-recorded PowerPoint videos. Watching telenovelas produced better content recall and follow-up actions than watching a non-telenovela format video. HFCGs need crucial information and a strengthened emotional state to increase their comfort in managing patient pain and symptoms. Preparedness and self-efficacy prepare caregivers for symptom management and help to optimize healthcare utilization (i.e., avoiding hospice disenrollment). Our interdisciplinary team offers complementary perspectives and infrastructure. Dr. Phongtankuel’s K76 grant aims to improve care for home hospice patients and support HFCGs through a multi-component intervention, including telehealth visits and HFCG educational videos. This proposal seeks to expand upon this work by developing culturally- tailored videos for Puerto Rican and African American HFCGs, using qualitative interviews and experience-based co- design methodology.

Leveling the Playing Field: Development and Evaluation of an Open Access, Online Course on Gender Equity in Health Data

Principal Investigators: Tahilin Sanchez Karver, Michelle René Kaufman, and Deborah Levine, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Globally, health data collection efforts have often been undermined by significant gaps in the ability of governments to integrate gender equity into their policies and strategies, and to collect data on several key factors that affect the lives of women and girls, and non-binary and transgender individuals. This lack of availability of gender data makes these populations vulnerable to negative health outcomes, including gender-based stigmatization, discrimination and violence, mental health burden, lack of economic opportunity, among some. Additionally, exclusion of these populations in health data collection efforts leads to many barriers to achieving equitable access to healthcare services, and thus further exacerbates significant health disparities among these groups. The Johns Hopkins Gender Equity Unit, as part of Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded Data for Health Initiative, focuses on improving gender equity in health data around the globe. We propose the development and evaluation of a free, online foundations course on gender equity in health data collection, analysis and use with the intent to train local and national government representatives, key stakeholders in local and international civil society and non-governmental organizations, public health practitioners, and Johns Hopkins University faculty and students in gender equity in global public health data and practice. The proposed course builds from an existing seven-part live seminar series implemented between February and May 2022. Through this course, we aim to improve the knowledge and application of a gender lens in health data to establish a future intent from learners to integrate gender equity in data collection, analysis and use in public health interventions and program efforts. The proposed course has the potential to reach a global audience and contribute to addressing global norms around the importance of quality gender data collection and use.

Quantitative Assessment of Live Three-Dimensional Immersive Operating Room Observation via Virtual Reality Technology Compared to In-Person Training for Orthopaedic Surgical Education

Principal Investigators: Uma Srikumaran, School of Medicine, David C. Peloff, School of Education, and Vinciya Pandian, School of Nursing

Current surgical training is expensive, time and resource consuming, has limited physical space for training and can introduce infection to patients. Virtual reality (VR) is an innovative technology that has significantly advanced in the past few years and may supplement traditional surgical training by offering solutions to many of these issues. Although VR is primarily used for entertainment, preliminary studies have suggested that it may have utility in medical education and training for health care professionals. These studies, which placed participants in simulated virtual environments reported improved learning and performance of skills compared to traditional learning methods. However, there has been no study performed to assess the validity of placing participants in a non-simulated, live, immersive three-dimensional (3D) streaming environment for surgical observation and training. We propose a study to partner with a leading virtual reality company, Immertec Tech Inc., to compare real-time immersive 3D videos streamed surgical training using VR headsets to traditional in-person orthopaedic surgical education for Johns Hopkins orthopaedic surgery residents. We will quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate the study by administering pre-post surveys and having the participants replicate a surgical procedure in the cadaver lab, which will be scored by experts using a validated surgical assessment tool. We will gather data to assess learner performance, user satisfaction, and attitude towards the intervention. This pilot study will be the first in a series of studies to substantiate the use of live streamed 3D video in medical education and training.

Opening the Doors: Mentoring Across Difference

Demere Woolway, University Administration, David Toia, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Jason Gray, Peabody Institute, Andi Overton, Carey Business School, and Rebecca A. Cruz, School of Education

This project will create an immersive experience that provides faculty with the opportunity to experiment with mentoring skills. When combined with a pre- experience preparatory session and a post-experience debrief session, faculty will be prepared to work with students from a variety of backgrounds. Opening the Doors: Mentoring Across Difference will be led by a cross-disciplinary team with contributors from around the university. This team will design an immersive experience to be delivered using virtual reality (VR) headsets and also available through an alternate modality. This immersive experience will place faculty face-to-face with a student who differs from them in some significant way. The technology will lead the participant through a series of dialogue choices, designed to be a safe space to experiment with difficult topics. After the experience, participants will attend a discussion session. At the end of the project, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) will be able to use this teaching tool and curriculum with faculty across JHU.

Real-Time and Longitudinal Neurosurgery Resident Feedback through Artificial-Intelligence

Masaru Ishii, Gary Gallia, and Jose (Tito) Porras, School of Medicine, Mathias Unberath, Whiting School of Engineering

Significance: Modern surgical training is constrained by duty hour limits, feedback mechanisms that are susceptible to bias, and a learning process that is inherently reliant on trial and error making it both time-consuming and prone to adverse events for patients. The 80-hour duty limit for residents requires that surgeons be trained in fewer hours, and therefore more efficiently. Within surgical training there is a need for more objective, standardized feedback mechanisms. Existing solutions such as the Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills are dependent on the presence of examiners and are thus prone to subjectivity. These pressures are not unique to surgeons and impact learners throughout Johns Hopkins.

Innovation and Approach: Our goal is therefore to develop an online feedback platform through which resident surgeons may prospectively track and interact with evaluation data, view curated videos targeting their operative weaknesses, and through which attendings may assess resident operative video in a blinded fashion. To accomplish our goals, a panel of attending neurosurgeons will review point-of-view operative video leading to a curated video dataset from which a “gold standard” for performance of a craniotomy can be derived and in turn used to develop an objective, structured rubric for assessment of technical skill and competency during craniotomy. In tandem and in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Technology Innovation Center, we will develop an online feedback platform that tracks resident progress in a prospective fashion. Through the feedback platform, residents will be able to view and interact with their assessment data while also viewing curated educational modules designed to target their specific weaknesses. Through the platform, neurosurgery attendings will also be able to review and annotate videos while also completing our craniotomy assessment rubric in a blinded fashion. To provide automated, non-biased feedback on surgeon performance, we will build a machine learning algorithm that compares trainee performance during craniotomy to that of an attending. We believe our feedback platform will help to optimize and standard resident education while facilitating the study of resident education.

Evaluation and Expected Outcome: To quantitatively evaluate the effect of the proposed feedback platform on resident education, we will obtain IRB approval to prospectively follow 28 Johns Hopkins neurosurgery residents throughout the 2022-2023 academic year. As neurosurgery residents across all training levels conduct craniotomies, we will prospectively collect craniotomy assessment rubric data. During this time, as already approved by the Johns Hopkins Imaging and Recording Oversight Committee, we will be collecting point-of-view craniotomy video from both residents and attendings which will be reviewed by attendings blinded to the surgeon’s identity. During the third quarter of our project, we anticipate the launch of our feedback platform. We will compare resident craniotomy performance before and after the launch of the craniotomy assessment platform. We anticipate that after implementation of the craniotomy feedback platform, residents will experience more rapid and significant improvement in their feedback scores along with a greater satisfaction with the transparency and objectiveness of their surgical training. We believe our project is a practical means of advancing teaching and learning, promoting interdisciplinary scholarship, fostering individual excellence, and improving patient outcomes.

Sustainability and Scalability: We are requesting monetary support for the development of our feedback platform and the acquisition of the Pupil Labs Pupil Core eye-tracking headsets to facilitate point-of-view video recording in the operating room. Upon development of the feedback platform, we anticipate a minimal resource need for platform maintenance. For future training purposes in which point-of-view recording is desired, any camera that captures the required scene will suffice. Through Qualtrics and Tableau integration, any feedback rubric may be used through the platform.

Writing@Hopkins: A Toolkit for Teaching Writing in the Disciplines

Rebecca Wilbanks and Matthew Pavesich, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

As a result of the Second Commission on Undergraduate Education (CUE2) Report, departments and programs must consider how to update their curricula to give students greater opportunity to grow as writers. In addition to being one of six “foundational abilities” around which the report reimagines general education, writing is an integral part of every scholarly discipline, and students need the support of faculty in the disciplines to understand how to communicate effectively within a given field. Well-designed and supported writing assignments can enhance student engagement with and retention of course material, stimulate critical thinking, and help to level the playing field for students with different levels of preparation. Yet simply adding writing to a course is no guarantee of improved learning outcomes; moreover, faculty across disciplines face barriers to effectively enhancing their courses with writing, including large class sizes, time constraints, lack of familiarity with methods of teaching and assessing writing, and unarticulated disciplinary norms and conventions of writing in their field. Writing@Hopkins: A Toolkit for Teaching Writing in the Disciplines is a digital resource for faculty that will lower these barriers by distilling best practices of teaching writing and providing models for doing so. In a “Concepts and Practices” section, faculty will find accessible, up-to-date guidance on teaching writing in the disciplines; in a “Model Library,” they will find sample materials including assignments, syllabi, rubrics, and more from a wide range of disciplines. The Toolkit will help ensure that writing-related CUE2 initiatives have the intended effect on student outcomes, via the growth of more courses at JHU that do not just assign writing but align with best practices in teaching writing. In the long term, we see the Toolkit as a central aspect of the University Writing Program’s (UWP) strategy to energize the culture of writing and writing pedagogy at Hopkins by creating a platform for faculty to share successful and creative approaches to teaching writing.

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