The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine will offer its course on medical misinformation to pharmacy and nursing students. This course was introduced this past year and only offered to MD students. It is taught by Sara Serritella, Institute for Translational Medicine Director of Communications, along with Vineet Arora, Dean for Medical Education, with occasional assistance from other faculty members.
According to research from MIT, false information spreads faster than facts. During medical emergencies and pandemics, this can cause egregious harm to the public that digest this misinformation on social media. Accordingly, the virtual course focuses on how to leverage the healthcare professional-patient relationship to effectively counter the misinformation while appearing nonjudgmental and approachable. Tactics on how to communicate this to diverse patient groups are also covered in the course.
Dean Arora explained, “Misinformation is unfortunately like a cancer that spreads out of control very quickly when left unchecked. Our healthcare team members need formal training on how best to debunk medical myths, just like they need training on how best to diagnose and treat disease.”
According to Pritzker, a $35,000 grant from the Association of American Medical Colleges Kickstarting Strategies for Addressing Health Misinformation initiative has now made it possible to offer this course to pharmacy and nursing students. Time will tell if this offering drives an uptick in pharmacy and nursing applications.