Improv in Health Professions Education

Improv in Health Professions Education

We are a group of educators and researchers who use improvisational theatre techniques to teach essential healthcare skills.
Improvisational techniques have been used in health communication training to teach skills related to empathy, communication, teamwork, and resilience. This work started with Viola Spolin in the United States and has roots in the UK through Keith Johnstone’s Impro. Improv is based on the concept that we can better connect with each other if we learn how to listen closely and respond in a way that enriches the lives of ourselves and others. Medical Improv is a growing field in the United States and in other countries. We would like to create a community to bring practitioners together. By creating spaces and mechanisms to share ideas, insights and experiences we can move the field forward with a diversity of perspectives.

In this SIG, communication teachers, curriculum designers, and researchers will find a space to share ideas about how to incorporate improv and other theatre methods in their own work. There is great potential for these methods to help us address some stubborn problems in healthcare. These include intrenched hierarchies, rigidity, and disconnection among clinicians, patients and families.
The Improv in Health Professions Education SIG will provide community for those engaged in using improvisational theatre techniques in health professionals training. We hope to spark research and teaching collaborations. We plan to offer webinars on the topic of using improv in health professions education and studying the effects of such curriculum.
1. Organize meetings of the SIG during the annual ICCH meetings.
2. Facilitate research and teaching collaborations among SIG members.
3. Gather information about the needs of the community.
Conduct first in-person meeting of the SIG during the ICCH Conference in Puerto Rico. At this meeting we will gather contact information in order to create a directory and email listserv.

In-person meeting during ICCH conference.
Offer Webinar: How We are Using Improv in Health Professions Education. Survey SIG members to understand the needs/wants of the group. Institute a mentoring structure.

Follow up on mentoring structure and devise list of collaborative projects during in-person SIG meeting at ICCH.
Offer Webinar: This is How We are Studying the Effect of Improv in Health Professions Education.

Amy B Zelenski, Ph D
Department of Medicine – UW Madison SMPH
1685 Highland Ave., Ste 5124
Madison, WI 53705
+1 (608) 957-6710 (cell)