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International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
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Updates in MDS Education | Congress 2023

September 18, 2023
Series:MDS Congress 2023
Dr. Sara Schaefer sits down with Prof. Carolyn Sue and Dr. Shilpa Chitnis to discuss the newest offerings in MDS Education; the MDS Career Development and LEAP Programs. 2023 Congress virtual access

2023 Congress virtual access

[00:00:00] Sara Schaefer: Hello and welcome to the MDS podcast, the official podcast of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. I'm Sara Schaefer from the Yale School of Medicine, and I'm the deputy editor of the podcast. And today we are at the MDS Congress 2023 in Copenhagen. And I'm speaking with Shilpa Chitnis, who is the chair of the MDS LEAP Program. And Carolyn Sue, who is the outgoing chair of the Education Committee at the MDS. 

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We're gonna talk about the exciting new educational initiatives here at the MDS and what members can expect going forward. Thank you for joining us. 

[00:00:41] Dr. Shilpa Chitnis: Happy to be here, Sara. 

[00:00:42] Sara Schaefer: All right, so Carolyn, let's start with you.

You are, as I said, the outgoing chair of the MDS Education Committee, and one of the big initiatives that has been announced a few times here at the Congress so far, is the brand new MDS Career Development program. Can you [00:01:00] tell us a little bit about that program and how it works and what members can do?

[00:01:05] Prof. Carolyn Sue: Sure. Thanks very much. The Career Development program is a series of lectures, online lectures. They've been segmented into five key domains some on fundamental skills, communication skills, networking and collaboration. Then there's mentorship and leadership segments, and it's a series of about 60 lectures, which takes about 30 hours to complete, which are all focused on trying to help our members of our society, particularly the young members of the society, to develop their careers.

It's after people enroll and participate and look at the online material, then there's some assessments for which you can get a certificate upon completion. And if you complete all five domains for the first time, you get a digital badge, which shows that you've completed the career development program.

So we hope that everybody engages in this because it really helps our young members and maybe not so younger members develop their careers. 

[00:01:59] Sara Schaefer: [00:02:00] And what do you think that members have to gain from this new program? Is it something that's formally recognized in any way by the society? Is it is something they can put on their CVs or is it mostly for their own personal internal development of their careers?

[00:02:17] Prof. Carolyn Sue: Well, we surveyed a lot of members to see what they needed in terms of having resources such like this. So it particularly addresses some of the needs of the membership. So hopefully this will give you information and help you develop skills in areas that are required to develop people's careers within their own regions.

And as I said, the digital badge upon successful completion of the program can then be used on your CV and social media and can be used to promote your achievement. After finishing this course.

[00:02:51] Sara Schaefer: All right. I'm definitely gonna have to check that out. Going along with the career development topic, it seems like this is something that the [00:03:00] MDS is thinking very much about these days, and we'll shift to you Shilpa, who is the chair of the MDS Leap Program, to talk about some changes upcoming with the LEAP program, which again, for those of you who are unaware, is the leadership program for the Movement Disorder Society. 

[00:03:18] Dr. Shilpa Chitnis: Thanks, Sara. So we took a deep dive into the program. The program's been going for about eight years, and we always wanna make sure that the program is very relevant and meets the needs and the growing challenges that exist for young people while they're building their careers.

So we did a lot of research. The student committee did a lot of research, looked at a lot of different global leadership principles. At the same time, we got some feedback from the MDS officers. We surveyed the participants. We surveyed also our steering committee. And some of the things that we wanted to do is we wanted to extend the reach of the program to more people.

Because there's so many young people within the MDS now. In the previous program, we [00:04:00] could only accept and train about 16 people. So we have now divided the LEAP program into two parts. The part one, it's basically called MDS Basic. And it's a virtual program, and this program will basically accept up to hundred applications.

So the first one hundred applications that come in, we'll take a look at them. We want to have equity. So we hope that we will have 25 participants from each of the regions. But if there's less participants in one region and more in the other, then we'll try to equally distribute them to have about a hundred participants.

So, in the virtual program. What we hope to do is firstly that we want people to understand the history and the structure of the societies and all the committees and the subcommittees as well as task forces that they can participate. The second part is going to be really a didactic course that will introduce them to the principles of leadership that we have developed based on the leadership [00:05:00] challenge, but also other programs across the globe.

And the third part is going to be learning from the experience of senior leaders. So essentially I will interview some of the past presidents and prominent leaders within the MDS. The applicants will have the opportunity to send the questions to me as well, so we'll entertain their questions.

And then essentially after LEAP Basic is completed. Then we encourage people to apply for the LEAP Advanced Program, which is going to be in-person. It is important that people have completed LEAP Basic to be eligible to apply for LEAP Advanced and we hope that people should apply within about three years to keep the information relevant.

So as past LEAP Advanced program is concerned, this is going to be in-person. It will be one day before the Congress, that will happen in Philadelphia in September of 2024. And what we will do in this program is, we'll come in, we'll review the didactic principles that were taught [00:06:00] during the LEAP Basics. And we then want to make these principles relevant to the participants' actual real life, whether it is leadership within the society, or leadership within their professional careers in their homes. And essentially we'll talk about, how will you use these principles in your own careers. That's one part. 

The second part is going to be a lot of breakout rooms where we will have four people or five people. And then we will talk about a situation like challenges. What are some of the challenges at work? And people can basically receive peer mentorship. We will encourage some of the past MDS LEAP graduates to come in and participate in those breakouts.

Then the third part we do activities. So these activities are fun and they're like playtime. But essentially the goal of the activity is that the end of the activity, we do a debrief. And the debrief helps the participants understand. For example, I'll tell you not to reveal too much information, but one of the things we do is building a [00:07:00] tower, whether using paper or whether using balloon, and then we give them some instructions and it is timed, and so people have to build. And anybody that builds the tallest standing tower wins and we come back and debrief and we try to understand what is it that the winning team did correctly that caused them to function as a team and succeed. And then the other teams will debrief and find out what is it that we could have done better that would've helped us be more of a team.

So that's essentially the format, but also going into the advanced. It's a year-long program, so they will be assigned a one-on-one mentor based on their region, based on their interest. And the mentors will help them through their own experience of leadership within the MDS and answer questions. They meet many times during the year. 

And then the second part of the year long program is bimonthly calls. So we address those leadership principles, we divide people into groups, and then they have to show us the practical utility of those principles, either through their own [00:08:00] example or through historical examples or data examples, if there's a leader that somebody, for example, showed how Nelson Mandela challenged the process or modeled the way. So this is, again, interactive. It's online and it's a lot of fun and people learn from these examples.

[00:08:16] Sara Schaefer: I have to admit that building towers sounds like my kind of healthy competition. 

[00:08:21] Dr. Shilpa Chitnis: It does get a little competitive, but people learn from it and people don't realize that they have these leadership skills. Right. And so one of the goals, if I can say of the program is not necessarily to teach leadership as a new found language, but it is essentially to awaken the leader that pretty much lies within all of us.

[00:08:38] Sara Schaefer: I do wanna call back to our listeners to an earlier podcast episode from earlier this year on the mission and structure of the MDS, talking about task forces and committees and all of the ways that the MDS is structured. Because it is quite complicated. Can you just clarify in terms of the 2024 classes, what is the timeline [00:09:00] for engaging with the basic program and what is the time commitment for that program for anyone who might be interested?

[00:09:07] Dr. Shilpa Chitnis: So Sara, I'll be very honest, we're still in the process. The student committee has met. The faculty have met. We are in the process of defining this because it's a brand new program. But I can just tell you as a draft, what we have briefly thought about is once we go back from the Congress, we'll be basically putting everybody's suggestions together and creating the program. My hope is that in the next , four to six weeks that we send out the request for applications. One of the things that we are hoping to do is maybe a week or two before the applications actually go out, we hope to send a pre reminder to alert people to say that we are going to send out an application.

This is a time process because the application cycle will stop as soon as we get applicant number hundred. For example if we don't reach a hundred, we may extend it a little bit longer. So I suspect in the last quarter of 2023, we will go through the [00:10:00] application process and the selection process.

The actual lead basic class will be in the first quarter of 2024. The time commitment is yet still to be decided. We are trying to decide whether we should do just six, seven hours in one day, or whether we should break it into two sessions that will be three to three and a half hours each.

So that's basically the time commitment for the basic. 

[00:10:24] Sara Schaefer: All right, thanks for that detail. Before we break, I wanted to ask both of you if there are any other ongoing projects or emerging projects with regards to education at the MDS that is of particular note or that you're particularly excited about?

[00:10:42] Prof. Carolyn Sue: Sure. Thanks Sara. Well, education committee's been really busy this year or two and we're now doing a whole new bunch of projects as well. One particularly of interest might be the development of the Roadmap curriculum. So we've formulated a Roadmap curriculum direct development subcommittee.

He'll be looking at this and creating [00:11:00] some online resources and some guidance towards trying to navigate the Roadmap for the MDS. So that's one big initiative in addition to the Career Development Program that I'm particularly excited about. And so I hope that people will be able to enjoy those resources as well.

[00:11:15] Dr. Shilpa Chitnis: Thanks, Carolyn. And so I want to just make sure that people take some time to navigate essentially the website. A lot of work has gone into it. The things that are really important, depending of course on your stage in your career, there's different paths, but there is these coffee table lectures that you can listen to.

There's of course the podcasts that you do, Sara and others. And then I think the videos are very excellent. People put up cases, which are very good. But also, you have the important journals, the Movement Disorder Journal, as well as the MDCP, the Clinical Practice Journal, that are good.

And then all that educational material is I think very relevant and very helpful depending on your stage in your career. 

[00:11:57] Sara Schaefer: Absolutely. Well, thank you both for [00:12:00] being here and sharing your thoughts with us today. 

[00:12:02] Dr. Shilpa Chitnis: Thank you for inviting us. 

[00:12:03] Prof. Carolyn Sue: Thanks, Sara. 

Special thank you to:

Prof. Carolyn Sue
Executive Director, Professor and Director of Neurogenetics
Kolling Institute, University of Sydney
Sydney NSW Australia


Dr. Shilpa Chitnis
Professor, Neurology
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, TX, USA

Sara Schaefer, MD 

Yale School of Medicine

New Haven, CT, USA

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