Monday, October 3, 2016

Alexzandra Hollingworth Spotlight

Tell us about yourself

As a 4th generation native from New York City, I have traveled around the country to become a Trauma, Critical Care and General Surgeon. I am a full-time Trauma Surgeon in Phoenix, AZ who also teaches at our local medical school and works with our general surgery residency program. My passion is in medical education and women in surgery. I founded the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Women Surgeons in order to mentor other women in surgery and who are pursuing surgery. I have a wonderful husband, Nachum, and a 3-year old son, Idan! They help me stay balanced!

How is the program helping you professionally?

Since I began with the program at UC, my career has gone to the next level! I recently became the Chair of Surgery and Anesthesia at Midwestern University in Glendale, AZ! This is a huge accomplishment for me since the number of women Chairs of Surgery is very small. My education at UC has enabled me to help develop and run the faculty development program at our hospital system and to be active in my Associate Program Director and Clerkship Director positions, where I am developing curricula and chairing the Program Evaluation Committee. I am grateful for the amazing opportunities that I have been able to obtain in medical education as a result of the education I am receiving at UC. This program is very feasible even for a busy full-time surgeon with all of the academic positions I hold.

What are some research projects that you are working on?

I am involved in several research projects that are based in medical education. These research projects were started during the courses I have attended at UC. One project involves the use of self-directed learning contracts (SDLC) for medical students in their surgical clerkship. This project came to fruition when I was in the human learning course. The use of contracts for surgery medical students is not well described in the United States. Another project I am obtaining IRB approval for involves attitude change in 3rd year medical students entering their surgical clerkship. These projects are needed in the surgical education literature. I have always struggled with coming up with research ideas. During my education at UC, however, I am coming up with so many ideas for research projects!

What do you see as a challenge for medical education today?

The biggest challenge today is getting faculty on board with teaching the Millennials in a different way than we were taught. Understanding the Millennials and their needs is easy. Convincing older surgeons to teach differently is another. Surgery is changing. There are more women in surgery and the way we teach is changing for the better using the principles I am learning at UC. Furthermore, the apprenticeship model has disappeared and the proficiency model is being utilized. The problem lies in hour restrictions under the new model. It requires more time! So, we may need to increase surgery residency to 6 years. I am currently involved in the faculty development program development at my institution and am looking forward to educating the surgeons! My transition from the Certificate to the Master’s was a natural one because I saw the progress I was making with my career and with my students from the moment I started with UC.