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Faculty and Resident Profiles

Dr. Kristina Tocce


When a patient experiences an unexpected pregnancy, its important for her physician to communicate effectively during this emotional time. Options counseling skills are essential for OB/GYN physiciansespecially considering that approximately half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended.

Kristina Tocce, MD, wants students at the University of Colorado School of Medicine to not only be competent with options counseling but to demonstrate excellence in this area of great need. Currently, the medical student curriculum addresses options counseling during one didactic session during the women’s care third year clerkship. But students are not specifically trained and are not required to participate in a clinical experience that includes empathy training and options counseling.

That’s why Dr. Tocce, with the help of the Academy of Medical Educator’s small grants program, has started a study that will examine the effect of empathy intervention on student performance of pregnancy options counseling.

Dr. Tocce hypothesizes that students who experience an empathy intervention will be more confident and competent with options counseling. In her study, which began early in September, students will be randomly assigned to the empathy intervention or routine curriculum. Students will later undergo an objective structured clinical experience (OSCE) to evaluate their competence.

During the empathy intervention, students will work with actual patient volunteers who need options counseling. The OSCE will use simulated patients.

Deadline for New Grants Approaches

The Academy of Medical Educators provides annual small grants to create, implement and evaluate innovative medical education programs and develop scholarship in medical education. Grant funds are provided by the generous support of the Rymer Family Endowment and with additional support from the Office of Faculty Affairs. Applications are due October 15, 2012 by 5:00 p.m.

Click here to learn more about our small grants program.