The Hands on HEADSS program is an innovative teaching workshop delivered by the Department of Paediatrics as part of the MD program. It is based on the Learning Partnerships program (see below) which was first developed by Professor Helen Cahill, Deputy Director of the Youth Research Centre.
Through community engagement we have developed partnerships with a number of local high schools to work with us and deliver a program for MD students to practice communicating effectively with adolescents and enhance their understanding of social and emotional issues that impact adolescents’ health and wellbeing.
The program has mutual benefits for both MD students and adolescents by providing opportunities for skills-building. MD students learn how to communicate well with adolescents, while adolescents not only gain confidence speaking to doctors but also a better understanding around how and when to seek help for themselves and others.
The workshop generally takes place at the school and is facilitated by trained teachers and a paediatrician with expertise in adolescent health.
‘I wouldn’t get that feedback from anywhere else’: learning partnerships and the use of high school students as simulated patients to enhance medical students’ communication skills. (Helen Cahill, Julia Coffey and Lena Sanci, 2015)