Teaching Ebola

Richard Skolnik – Author of Global Health 101

Everyone who teaches global health must now wrestle with what to say and do about Ebola. Should we add a session on Ebola to our courses? Should we begin each class with five minutes on Ebola? In any case, how do we ensure that we pay sufficient attention to Ebola on the one hand but don’t let it take over our courses on the other?

I have combined the two approaches noted above. In my introductory course, we started one of our sessions about a month ago with a substantive 30-minute discussion of Ebola. Since then, we have taken the first five minutes of each class to review the latest news on Ebola and its implications. In my upper-level case studies seminar, we added a session on Ebola and have also taken the first five minutes of each session since then to cover the latest information on Ebola. In addition, I have set up an Ebola folder on v2™ for both courses and I populate the v2 folders with a carefully chosen selection of the most important information, journal articles, reports, and videos that I see about Ebola.

My aim in the extended discussion in my introductory class was to ensure that students got a good overview of Ebola from a number of disciplinary perspectives, could place Ebola in historical context, and could see how it fit into global approaches to emerging and reemerging infectious diseases.

My seminar focuses a third of the time on “the great campaigns” for disease control and the students are experienced in taking a broad view of communicable disease control efforts. Thus, we kicked off the Ebola session with 10-minute student presentations on previous outbreaks in Uganda and Gabon and another presentation on the current outbreak. In doing so, we sought to understand how earlier outbreaks had played out, the course of the present outbreak since its start, and what the lessons of experience should have told us about combating Ebola in Africa now. We then commented on and critiqued the present effort.

I have also been using our brief discussions of Ebola to help my students see the problem from a policy maker’s perspective. Typically, for example, I will ask the students … “and if you were the CDC Director, what would you have said to the President about that?” “If you were the new Ebola Czar in the US, what would you have asked the CDC Director about letting the nurse on the plane with a temperature of 99.5, when the threshold for her travel at the time was 100.4?” “What would be the benefits and costs, for whom, of taking a certain measure to address Ebola in the US?” “How do you get health workers in the fragmented US health system, that has 800,000 hospital-borne infections a year, to prepare for infection control of Ebola in their health care settings?”

Before we began to discuss Ebola, I wanted to ensure that my students had a common understanding of “Ebola basics.” Thus, I directed them to the WHO and CDC web pages on Ebola:


In addition, I encouraged my students to follow a number of websites that are tracking the Ebola outbreak.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, for example, has an excellent web page on Global Health and offers subscriptions to a number of daily newsletters on health issues, including one on Global Health. This newsletter includes extensive coverage of Ebola. Although there are newsletters that carry “happier” news than this one, I usually begin my day by reviewing this newsletter and the pieces to which it refers me.

HealthMap is a website that focuses on disease outbreaks, both within the US and globally. One can subscribe to an Ebola alert from HealthMap that will bring you the latest news on Ebola each day.

The Lancet now has an Ebola Resource Centre that can provide students with some of the most recently published information about technical and scientific issues related to Ebola.

Besides the above web sites, there are others that can offer important additional information to faculty and students with particular interests in Ebola.

The US National Institutes of Health has an Ebola Resource Center that will highlight scientific and clinical information:


Those with a clinical interest in Ebola or who want to see information being provided to US physicians about Ebola can visit the Ebola Resource Center of the American Medical Association:


The prestigious US medical journal The New England Journal of Medicine also has a website for resources with a scientific and clinical bent on Ebola:


In addition, the Consortium of Universities for Global Health has started a web page on Ebola that consolidates information from other sources and also includes information from some of its member universities about their own efforts on Ebola:


Videos about Ebola are also emerging. Frontline on PBS (the Public Broadcasting System in the US) has some very well done and moving videos on Ebola. One video was produced a few months ago and takes the viewer into the work that MSF (Doctors without Borders) is doing on Ebola in West Africa. Videos like this can be overpowering for some students and you might want to note when you send them out that they are “moving,” “very touching”, or “gut wrenching”, as I do.

The New York Times has also produced a number of videos on Ebola. I found one that follows an ambulance driver in Monrovia, Liberia, as he seeks to fight Ebola to be very moving: http://www.nytimes.com/video/world/africa/100000003161313/fighting-ebola-outbreak-street-by-street.html.

Finally, this list would be incomplete without mentioning MSF again (Doctors Without Borders). MSF has led much of the world’s frontline work against Ebola, as it is doing again now. Students and faculty can follow an array of Ebola-related resources on the MSF website, as well.

Richard Skolnik is a Lecturer at the Yale School of Public Health, where he teaches global health courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Richard was previously an Instructor in Global Health at The George Washington University, the Vice President for International Programs at the Population Reference Bureau, and the Executive Director of the Harvard School of Public Health PEPFAR program. Richard worked at the World Bank from 1976 to 2001, last serving as the Director for Health and Education for South Asia. Richard is the author of Global Health 101, a comprehensive, introductory text on global health.

Ms. Rachel Skolnik Light and Ms. Lindsey Hiebert provided valuable comments on the draft of this blog.


Posted in Diseases, Global Health, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Richard Skolnik Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Sports Drinks: To Drink or Not to Drink?

Lilah Al-Masri, MS, RD, CSSD, LD

Simon Bartlett, PhD, CSCS, ATC

Would you like to learn more about sports drinks? Read a special guest blog post from Lilah Al-Masri, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, and Simon Bartlett, PhD, CSCS, ATC, authors of 100 Questions and Answers about Sports Nutrition & Exercise.

One of the most common questions those with active lifestyles ask is “Should I consume sports drinks during exercise or is water enough?”

Proper beverage selection during exercise is important for athletes of all levels and ages. The general rule of thumb is that an athlete who exercises less than 60 minutes per workout only needs to consume water. Athletes exercising for more than 60 minutes and/or multiple times per day will benefit from a sports drink.

Sports drinks are designed to provide three basic needs:

  1. hydration (water),
  2. energy (calories),
  3. and electrolytes (sodium, chloride, and potassium).

Athletes that are exercising less than 60 minutes normally do not burn enough fuel nor sweat enough to warrant the energy (calories) and electrolytes (sodium, chloride, and potassium) in the sports beverage.

Like the majority of athletes, if you fall into the category of 60 minutes or less per workout then it is necessary to consume water. Water consumption during exercise provides several advantages including:

  1. Regulates body temperature (evaporative cooling)
  2. Promotes waste product removal from the exercising muscle
  3. Helps to prevent injuries
  4. Lubricates joints
  5. Maintains blood flow and oxygen to the exercising muscle
  6. Aids in digestion
  7. Optimizes muscle contraction
  8. Decreases mental and physical fatigue

If your exercise regimen warrants sport drink consumption, then there are several questions to ask before selecting a beverage:

  1. How much energy (calories) does it provide? The beverage should provide a 4% to 8% carbohydrate solution, meaning approximately 15 grams of carbohydrate (50 calories) per 8 ounces.
  2. Are there electrolytes in the beverage? Sodium is the most abundant electrolyte lost in sweat, therefore, the sports drink should contain between 100 and 200 milligrams of sodium per 8-ounce serving in order for it to be effective.
  3. How does is taste – sweet, salty, sour, bitter? Taste buds change during exercise and it is important the beverage complements those changes.
  4. Is the flavor intensity weak or strong? If a flavor is too weak or too strong it may prevent consumption.
  5. Is it appealing or unappealing? Pick a drink that is visually appealing as you will be more likely to consume it.
  6. Is the texture thin or thick? Mouthfeel of the beverage is important.
  7. Should I dilute or concentrate the sports drink? No. A solution that is less or greater than the recommended 4% to 8% may reduce its effectiveness, causing gastrointestinal problems and delaying gastric emptying.
  8. Are energy drinks sports drinks? No.

A variety of formulas and flavors of sports drinks exist on the market to satisfy each athlete’s unique personal preference. Athletes should take the time to experiment (in practice, not competition) with the various beverages on the market to help determine what works best for them.

No matter your athletic endeavor, the following hydration guidelines will improve your performance.

  • Before exercise/competition: Consume 8 to 16 ounces (1 to 2 cups) of fluid 15 to 30 minutes before exercise.
  • During exercise/competition: Consume 5 to 12 ounces (0.5 to 1.5 cups) of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes (sport intensity and environmental conditions may have an effect on how much is consumed).
  • After exercise/competition: Consume 24 ounces (3 cups) of fluid for every pound lost. Weight loss should be minimal.

100 Questions and Answers about Sports Nutrition & ExerciseMore information on sports drinks and hydration can be found in 100 Questions and Answers About Sports Nutrition and Exercise by Lilah Al-Masri, MS, RD, CSSD, LD and Simon Bartlett, PhD, CSCS, ATC.

Do you have a nutrition or exercise question? If so, submit them to adefronzo@jblearning.com . Questions will be answered on a monthly basis.

Posted in Author, Health, Nutrition | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Navigate 2 Advantage Access: Fundamentals of the Physical Therapy Examination: Patient Interview and Tests & Measures

Fundamentals of the Physical Therapy Examination: Patient Interview and Tests & Measures is available.

This bundle, including the text, Fundamentals of the Physical Therapy Examination: Patient Interview and Tests & Measures, packs not only the same price, but also-includes access, to the Navigate Companion Website and Navigate 2 Advantage Access that unlocks a comprehensive and interactive eBook, practice activities and assessments, instructor resources, and learning analytics reporting tools.

Navigate 2 Advantage Access materials include: 

Student Resources:

  • A complete eBook with interactive tools, knowledge checks, and 71 videos
  • A virtual Study Center with robust practice activities and flashcards
  • Homework and testing Assessment Center with prepopulated quizzes and exams
  • Dashboards with learner and educator views that reports actionable data

Instructor Resources:

Sample Syllabus, Lecture Outlines, Slides in PowerPoint Format, Learning Objectives, Image Bank, and prepopulated Test Bank with automatic grading.

Interested in learning more?  Visit our website or to learn more about Navigate 2, visit: http://www.jblnavigate.com/2


Webinar: Fundamentals of the Physical Therapy Examination: Patient Interview and Tests & Measures

Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Time: 1:00 pm, EST

Register at:  http://go.jblearning.com/Oct21


Date: Thursday, October 23, 2014

Time: 12:00 pm, EST

Register at:  http://go.jblearning.com/Oct23

Posted in Allied Health, Author, Jones & Bartlett Learning, marketing, Navigate, Physical Therapy | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Jones & Bartlett Learning Author Wins Prestigious Marjorie Hulsizer Copher Award

Geriatric Nutrition, Fourth EditionWe’re so proud to announce that Ronni Chernoff, author of Geriatric Nutrition: The Health Professional’s Handbook, Fourth Edition, will receive the Marjorie Hulsizer Copher Award later this month at the 2014 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo™ (FNCE) in Atlanta, GA.

The highest honor presented by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Copher Award commemorates,

“the early 20th-century pioneer in dietetics who was recognized by the British and French governments for her service in World War I and was chief dietitian at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.”

Chernoff is being recognized for her distinguished contribution to the dietetics profession. An Academy member since 1968, she served as its president from 1996-1997. In addition, Chernoff received the Academy’s Medallion Award in 2007, the first Award for Excellence in the Practice of Education and Research in 1988, and was selected as the Lenna Frances Cooper Lecturer in 1994.

Read the full press release.

Please join us in congratulating Ronni Chernoff on this outstanding honor!

Posted in Health Science, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Bioterrorism and Health Care Managers

Four years ago, I posted a blog asking the question, “Are health care professionals prepared for disasters?”  and closed with the following:

In light of intelligence findings that smaller targets will be next, we can no longer pretend that it won’t happen to us. We cannot undo the horrific events of 9-11, Hurricane Katrina or the earthquakes in Haiti. We can, however, learn from them and take action as citizens and as healthcare professionals. It’s time for us all to get involved and get prepared before disaster hits.

At the time, the focus of Homeland Security’s anti-terrorist efforts in the United States was on large symbolic targets.  Now, however, we know “softer” targets, such as sports stadiums, amusement parks, schools, and hospitals are potential sites for attacks. A terrorist attack could be as subtle as a patient walking into the emergency department with a highly contagious disease, one not easily amenable to vaccinations or treatment, such as the recent case of Ebola virus that appeared in Texas. In that case, the patient did not reveal he had cared for someone who died of the virus. When he presented at the Emergency Department with fever, diaphoresis, diarrhea, healthcare providers who were unfamiliar with the virus, did not recognize the disease.  His family is now under quarantine and many others, including members of Congress, are concerned about exposure. While this patient is not considered a bioterrorist, he or others like him could be planted as human time bombs carrying deadly contagion.

If you think such a scenario couldn’t happen in your local hospital or ambulatory care center, perhaps you should read the work of Elin A. Gursky, ScD, Senior Fellow for Biodefense and Public Health at the ANSER Institute for Homeland Security.  Her 2004 report on bioterrorism readiness in rural hospitals commissioned by the National Defense University reads like a litany of what health care managers should not do. This in-depth case study approach examined five rural hospitals’ preparedness for biologically induced mass casualties. Hospitals were selected for their “proximity to military installations, nuclear or chemical plants, large-scale agricultural production, an international border, or major waterways” (Gursky, 2004, p. 15). In interviews with key informants, Dr. Gursky found unprepared staff and out-of-date facilities which could be overwhelmed with small numbers of casualties, much less large ones. Here is a partial listing of her findings:

  • Lack of training on how to identify early signs of potential biological hazards;
  • Lack of reliable communication equipment, especially in areas where cell phones are not usable;
  • Lack of vaccinations, such as smallpox, due to travel distances to vaccination programs;
  • Lack of quarantine facilities or seriously out of date facilities;
  • Lack of up-to-date Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and knowledge of how to use PPE;
  • Lack of emergency inventory in case the facility is unable to bring in materials;
  • Lack of security, e.g., some hospitals left doors open 24/7, some had no security guards;
  • Lack of suspicion, e.g., the feeling that everyone in town was “like family.”

Many of these shortcomings are under the control of hospital administrators. A survey conducted among 400 nurses by National Nurses United found over half (60%) indicated their hospitals were “not prepared to handle patients with Ebola and over three-quarters (80%) indicated their administration had not communicated with them any policy regarding the disease.” In addition, almost one-third (30%) of the nurses indicated they had insufficient PPE gear (e.g., eye goggles and fluid resistant gowns) on hand to protect themselves from bodily fluids, the main method of transmission of the disease.

Health care managers are responsible for planning, organizing, controlling, and monitoring resources.  Staffing, training, equipment, inventory, communication trees, inventory control, and security measures–all of these are under the purview of health care managers. As the national “See Something, Say Something” campaign has demonstrated, people can be trained to become more cautious and alert, with positive results.

Per the American College of Healthcare Executives, health care managers are expected to be prepared to take action in times of disaster.  In an already crowded curriculum, it can be a challenge to educate our students about disaster preparedness, much less biological weapons of mass destruction. However, there are ways to address all hazards emergencies within existing courses and in volunteer hours for community service. Here are a few suggestions for how to integrate this important topic into your curriculum. Please note, higher order thinking skills are needed for all of these assignments.

  • Analysis of case studies of real or imagined disasters in online and face to face discussions;
  • Creation of a case study by the student on a potential threat in their workplace or school;
  • Research papers for courses such as Leadership, Operations Management, Financial Management, etc, that analyze disaster preparation within the relevant course content ;
  • Face to face interviews with health care executives as part of a Professional Development course that include questions on the executive’s perceptions of risk and disaster preparedness;
  • Capstone projects, where students assess the facility’s preparedness and write a report on their findings, recommendations for improvement, and evaluation metrics;
  • An all class disaster management table top exercise for a given health care facility with assigned characters to be role played by the students; and,
  • Participation in disaster simulations and scenarios role playing patients or health care workers.

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) (2014) reported natural and man-made disasters are increasing in frequency and size of impact. UNEP is responding with disaster prevention and preparedness educational training programs. As health care management educators, it is incumbent upon us to join in this global work and to educate the health care executives of the future on better ways to respond to and prepare for all hazards emergencies, including bioterrorism.

Sharon B. Buchbinder, RN, PhD

Sharon Buchbinder is Professor and Program Coordinator for the MS in Healthcare Management at Stevenson University in the Graduate and Professional School and former chair of the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA). She is also the author of three books from Jones & Bartlett: Introduction to Health Care Management, Cases in Health Care Management, and Career Opportunities in Health Care Management.

Here are some references if you are interested in this topic:

American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). (2013, November 16) Healthcare executives’ role in emergency preparedness: Policy Statement. http://www.ache.org/policy/emergency_preparedness.cfm

Blair, J.D. (2005, September). Is the healthcare industry prepared for terrorism? All-Hazards “HVA” for Non-Federal Healthcare CBRNE Readiness:  A Level Playing Field? Inside Homeland Security. Retrieved from http://www.jblairassociates.com/article/article01.pdf

Buchbinder, S. (2010). Are healthcare professionals prepared for disasters? http://blogs.jblearning.com/health/2010/05/01/are-health-care-professionals-prepared-for-disasters/

Gursky, E.A. (2004). Hometown hospitals: The weakest link? Bioterrorism readiness in America’s rural hospitals.  Washington, D.C., Center for Technology and National Security Policy of the National Defense University.

Gursky, E.A. & Fierro, M.F. (2012). Death in large numbers: The science, policy, and management of mass fatality events. Chicago, IL, American Medical Association.

Hearne, S.A., Segal, D.N. & Segal, L.M. (2003). Public health laboratories: Unprepared and overwhelmed. Washington, D.C., Trust for America’s Health. http://healthyamericans.org/reports/files/LabReport.pdf

Steenhuysen, J. (3 October 2014). U.S. nurses say they are unprepared to handle Ebola patients. http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/news/entry/us-nurses-say-they-are-unprepared-to-handle-ebola-patients/

United Nations Environmental Programme. (2014). http://www.unep.org/disastersandconflicts/Introduction/DisasterRiskReduction/tabid/104159/Default.aspx

UPMC Center for Health Security. (2014). http://www.upmchealthsecurity.org/index.html

Posted in Diseases, Health Administration, Sharon Buchbinder Blog | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Just Published: Patient Assessment in Pharmacy: A Culturally Competent



Just Published: Patient Assessment in Pharmacy: A Culturally Competent

Patient Assessment in Pharmacy: A Culturally Competent is now available.

Patient Assessment in Pharmacy: A Culturally Competent Edition by Yolanda M. Hardy prepares pharmacy students to assess patients from a variety of cultural and ethnic groups in a culturally appropriate manner. This text establishes the importance of culturally competent care as well as the process for conducting a patient’s history and interview by using a practical approach. With an emphasis on medical conditions that may have higher prevalence in certain cultural groups, later chapters focus on specific organ systems and common medical conditions that a pharmacist may encounter. Each chapter includes a review of the clinical presentation of disease, questions to ask during the patient interview, and physical assessment techniques used to further assess the state of the disease.

Key Features

  • Navigate Companion Website, including: eBook, Knowledge Checks, End-of-Chapter Graded Quizzes, Study Tools, Interactive Flashcards, Practice Activities, Lesson Quizzes, Midterm, and Final
  • Addresses key issues such as cultural health disparities and clinical presentation of condition in various cultural and ethnic groups
  • Includes full-color photos depicting how conditions present for different groups
  • Chapters organized by body system
  • Includes culturally competent interview and physical examination techniques

Instructor Resources:

Instructor’s Manual, including a Sample Syllabus, Lecture Outlines in PowerPoint Format, Learning Objectives, and Test Bank

Interested in learning more?  Visit our  website or preview a sample chapter!





Posted in Allied Health, Author, Jones & Bartlett Learning, New Edition, New text, Pharmaceutical sciences | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Just Published: Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor, Fifth Edition

Just Published: Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor, Fifth Edition

Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor, Fifth Edition is now available.

Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor, Fifth Edition by Thomas A. Souza is the latest edition of this best-selling reference. This resource is full of evidence-based approaches to the most common musculoskeletal and visceral complaints. This text is an essential guide for practicing chiropractors and chiropractic students. Presenting content in an organized and concise format, this accessible text provides the chiropractor the information to formulate a detailed approach in both diagnostic evaluation and care. This text highlights these approaches using algorithms, historical questioning, and summarizing common conditions.

Key Features

Instructor Resources: Instructor’s Manual, including a Sample Syllabus, Lecture Outlines in PowerPoint Format, Learning Objectives, and Test Bank

Interested in learning more?  Visit our website  or preview a sample chapter

Posted in Allied Health, Chiropractic, Health, Jones & Bartlett Learning, marketing, New Edition | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

University of Miami President Dr. Donna Shalala to retire in 2015

Dr. Donna Shalala

Earlier this week, Dr. Donna Shalala, current President of the University of Miami and former Clinton U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced that she plans to retire. In her departure letter, Dr. Shalala writes that, “a long time ago a friend advised me to always leave a job when you still love it. That is certainly the case here.” However, she closes with saying that, “this is not a goodbye letter; we have work to do. I look forward to a spectacular year.” Read the full letter here.

Dr. Shalala is also featured in an interview by author Dr. Patti R. Rose in her book, Cultural Competency for the Health Professional, an essential text that reviews the importance of the implementation of cultural competency by allied health professionals, and the process of assessment, training, and evaluation. It includes a clear and concise overview of the necessary tools to apply cultural competency processes as well as systematic and disciplined approaches to the process of achieving it. Also addressed are the reservations that may exist in various health professions with interests in moving in the direction of cultural competency, such as associated costs and limited time. Cultural Competency for the Health Professional provides health professions students with key cultural competency information and practical insight into how to apply this knowledge in their day-to-day work environments as they deal with patients on a clinical basis.

Chapter 10 includes an interview between the author and Dr. Shalala. Read an excerpt:

Dr. Rose: In general, what is your perspective regarding healthcare reform given the rapidly changing demographics in the U.S.?
Dr. Shalala: I don’t think there is a lot of reform in health care reform. What I do think is that it is a substantial increase in coverage. We’re going to get close to most Americans having health insurance. So this bill is very much about coverage. So the people who don’t currently have coverage are working class. That involves large numbers of minorities, African Americans and Hispanics in particular, who tend to work hourly and often more than one part time job but they are working. So 80% of the people who don’t have health insurance at this moment in time are working or they are families of the workers.
Dr. Rose: So essentially what you are saying is the fact that our demographics are changing. This new concept has emerged– emerging majorities rather than minorities–in fact the term minorities might become obsolete.
Dr. Shalala: That’s absolutely true.  So that means that health care has to change along with it. Both who provides the healthcare and how they provide it.

Interested in learning more? Visit our website today.

Posted in Allied Health, Author | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Just Published: Drug Delivery by Ashim K. Mitra

Just Published: Drug Delivery

Drug Delivery
by Ashim K. Mitra is the latest and most up-to-date text on drug delivery. This resource is an admirable foundation for health profession students, clinicians, and graduate students, as well as researchers and scientists. Presenting complex content in an organized and concise format, this accessible text provides a detailed overview of drug delivery systems, routes of drug administration and development of various formulations. This text provides an ample review of the cutting edge research being carried out in this field and a focus on the worldwide research on drug delivery and targeting at the molecular, cellular, and organ levels.

Understanding drug delivery systems and how they influence drug absorption and administration is critical for the healthcare professionals who prescribe medications and for the pharmaceutical scientists who develop them. Drug delivery is rapidly expanding and is vital component to therapeutics. Drug Delivery provides an informative introduction to an imperative area of pharmaceuticals while developing useful concepts of drug delivery.


Key Features

  • Navigate Companion Website, including: Chapter Quizzes, Crossword Puzzles, Interactive Flashcards, Interactive Glossary, Matching Exercise
  • Includes the latest development in drug delivery worldwide
  • Addresses emerging areas in the pharmaceutical field
  • Overview of all aspects of drug delivery systems

Instructor ResourcesInstructor’s Manual, including a Sample Syllabus and Answer Key for end-of-chapter Review Questions, Lecture Outlines in PowerPoint Format, featuring more than 450 slides, Test Bank, including more than 400 questions

Interested in learning more?  Visit our website or preview a sample chapter


Posted in Allied Health, Author, Jones & Bartlett Learning | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Academic Integrity and the Law of Unintended Consequences

Sharon 2014 Headshot FB SizeEach fall, as we return to classes we have an opportunity to reflect on previous successes–and failures. One of the more persistent failures we seem to have with our students is instilling a sense of integrity in their academic work. The same students who would be mortified if you accused them of shoplifting have been known to lift entire works from other authors and other students. Sometimes, their boldness can leave you breathless and scratching your head, wondering if they had only put that much effort into their work, they would have passed the course without cheating. The following is an example of such audacity.

We had a student who was struggling with her writing skills. Although she came to our program with a high GPA, her writing needed improvement. She was not writing at a graduate level. Angered by an instructor’s detailed feedback, she began to send me enraged emails, not one of which was grammatically correct. When I pointed out her emails could benefit from spell check and grammar check and that she had essentially proven the instructor’s point, she began phoning me repeatedly to complain about the instructor. I listened and encouraged her to work hard, use our writing tutors, and make an effort to incorporate the instructor’s feedback into her work. I also suggested she ask a peer to read her work and give her feedback. She agreed to find a peer reviewer, and did not phone me again.

A few weeks later, the instructor contacted me with concerns about the student’s final assignment, an original case study to be created by each student. As she read the student’s paper, she kept saying to herself, “This sounds so familiar.” Per our university policy, the instructor submitted the suspicious document to our plagiarism software. The instructor discovered this student had taken her peer reviewer’s paper (they swapped them electronically) and changed the name of the characters in the case study analysis, then claimed it as her own work. The student failed the course. At first she claimed she had not plagiarized. However, when informed the documentation was conclusive, she responded, “I was planning to quit the program, anyway.”

This example demonstrates the law of unintended consequences. As an educator, I suggested she work with a peer to improve her writing, hoping the feedback she received from another student would sting less than the feedback of a faculty member (Covil, 2010). Instead, the student saw her classmate’s superior work and decided to appropriate it as her own. Does this mean we should never use peer reviewers to coach students? No, I am not in favor of throwing the baby out with the bath. However, in the hands of someone who is angry, desperate to pass a course, and has a sense of entitlement (“No one has EVER told me I can’t write well!”), peer reviews should be used with caution.

We cannot teach integrity to students who are not receptive to the concept. They arrive at our doors with their values from previous life experiences. What we can do is to educate them what academic integrity is and what it is not, teach them proper citation, referencing, and formatting, utilize honor codes, and draw solid boundaries when a student demonstrates purposeful theft of another’s intellectual property (Kidwell, 2001; McCabe & Pavela, 2004). While I recognize most of us did not sign up to be police officers, to allow students who purposely violate Academic Integrity policies a get out of jail free card dilutes our programs and defeats the efforts of our hard-working honest students. Our discipline, healthcare organizations, and most important, our customers, clients, and patients deserve the best, most qualified, and ethical healthcare managers. It is up to us to deliver on our promises.

Sharon B. Buchbinder, RN, PhD

Sharon Buchbinder is Professor and Program Coordinator for the MS in Healthcare Management at Stevenson University in the Graduate and Professional School and former chair of the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA). She is also the author of three books from Jones & Bartlett: Introduction to Health Care Management, Cases in Health Care Management, and Career Opportunities in Health Care Management.

Here are some references if you are interested in this topic.

Covil, A. (2010). Comparing peer review and self-review as ways to improve college students’ writing. Journal of Literacy Research,  42:199–226, 2010

Kidwell, L.A. (2001). Student honor codes as a tool for teaching professional ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 29 (1/2), 45-49.

McCabe, D.L. & Pavela, G. (2000). Some good news about academic integrity. Change, 33 (5), 32-28.

McCabe, D.L. & Pavela, G. (2004). Ten (updated) principles of academic integrity: How faculty can foster student honesty. Change, 36 (3), 10-15.

Sterngold, A. (2004). Confronting plagiarism: How conventional teaching invites cyber-cheating. Change, 36 (3), 16-21.

Posted in Health Administration, Sharon Buchbinder Blog | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off