Lived Experience and Patient Advocacy Module: Curriculum and Faculty Guide

Publication ID Published Volume
10617 August 12, 2017 13

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Introduction: Medical teachers frequently tell learners how some of the greatest challenges in clinical care are not associated with the scientific details of biomedicine but are instead related to patient interactions and the human dimensions of illness and recovery. Beyond providing direct care, physicians sometimes serve as advocates and supporters for their patient as the patient navigates through the health care system. Opportunities to discuss and reflect on these aspects of medical practice may not arise in the course of clinical experiences. Methods: This video module and accompanying lesson plan provide the basis for a structured session on patient-physician communication and patient advocacy. In the video, learners hear from a patient who experienced a life-changing medical condition and who faced challenges both before diagnosis and during a long recovery. The video provides a basis for vital discussions about the patient-physician relationship, highlighting the importance of clear and continuing communication. Results: Students indicated that this module effectively provided a patient perspective. The video format and fast pace of the presentation appealed to them. Discussion: This module is ideally suited for use as a stimulus for a facilitated small-group discussion with medical students. It can be presented within a 1-hour session. It can also be used as a freestanding module for independent study. Though the patient suffered from a specific medical condition—a pituitary tumor and related complications—students do not need to be knowledgeable about those conditions or have in-depth clinical experience to readily comprehend the messages in this lesson.


Gerber L, Mahoney JF, Gold P. Lived experience and patient advocacy module: curriculum and faculty guide. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2017;13:10617.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this module, learners will be able to:

  1. Explain the need to avoid premature closure in medical decision-making.
  2. Recognize how patients may be best served when clinicians can think and collaborate across traditional specialty boundaries.
  3. Explain the importance of empathy and active listening in patient care.


  • Patient Communication, Advocacy


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