Understanding the Neurobiology of Trauma to Improve Psychiatric Care: Content, design and evaluation of an eLearning module for the continuing professional development of family physicians

Saturday, March 24, 2018
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Introduction: PTSD deals with complex subject matter including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that is difficult to teach, talk about, and convey. The purpose of this study is to examine ways in which medical graphics and animations can effectively be designed to visually communicate sensitive and nuanced information on PTSD in a cased-based eLearning CPD course for family physicians. The Neurobiology of Trauma module will be embedded in a large-scale initiative called the Online Psychiatric Education Network (OPEN). OPEN provides easily accessible, web-based modules to teach physicians about mental health issues, assessment, and management, to better meet community needs.

Methods: This design research study was conducted with a small group (n=6) of family physicians, psychiatrists, and psychiatric residents who provided formative feedback on the first iteration of the module to assess medical accuracy, information clarity, website usability, educational case design, and effectiveness of the animated sequences. The survey was composed of Likert-scale and open-ended questions. Participants also completed brief multiple-choice pre/posttests.

Results: Quantitative and qualitative survey feedback was analyzed to inform eLearning iterative design, case completion, and final animations. Positive feedback on multimedia provided reinforcement of innovative 2D animation strategies created for visual knowledge building and translation to practice. Pre/Posttest results demonstrated a 10% knowledge gain from 78% to 88% and flagged problematic wording of two questions, which were refined. This case study provides insight for future visual knowledge building design innovation when dealing with complex subject matter in medical education, like mental health, that requires tacit and nuanced explanations.

Dana C. Ross

Women's College Hospital
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dana C. Ross, M.D. is a psychiatrist in the Trauma Therapy Program at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Canada. She practices trauma-focused individual and group therapy, and also provides consultations. Dr. Ross is a lecturer in the Division of Equity, Gender and Population at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada. She has a strong interest in teaching and education and has taught both undergraduate and postgraduate classes at the University of Toronto, and is particularly interested in curriculum design and assessment.

Dr. Ross has designed and co-facilitated a half-day trauma seminar for first year University of Toronto psychiatry residents with the aim of increasing exposure to concepts and skills related to trauma, PTSD, and dissociation. She has had numerous speaking engagements across North America with a focus on trauma, education, and psychotherapy. Dr. Ross co-chairs the Trauma Talks conference in Toronto, Ontario which focuses on the concept of trauma-informed care.

Dr. Ross completed her psychiatry residency in Ontario, Canada, at the University of Toronto and at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. She completed a Master of Neuroscience degree at the University of Calgary, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and finished her undergraduate degree at York University in Toronto, Canada. She is also a member of the students and emerging professionals committee of ISSTD.