The role students play in medical education should go beyond learning and listening, Alisha Moreland-Capuia, MD, said in her keynote address during the Accelerating Change in Medical Education Student-Led Conference on Leadership in early August.


“There’s an idea that the collective, or the strength of any academic institution, lies within its medical students, residents and trainees,” said Dr. Moreland-Capuia, the executive director at the Avel Gordly Center for Healing and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University. “And it behooves every academic institution to tap into the leadership capacity of each and every one of its medical students because the return on investment is great.”

In a speech entitled, “Learning to lead from where you are,” Dr. Moreland-Capuia said there is room for leadership at any level within an institution and community.

She speaks from experience. As a fourth-year resident, Dr. Moreland-Capuia developed Healing Hurt People Portland, a hospital-based violence-intervention program. The program works with young males of color who have been stabbed or shot, coaching them to turn their lives around after they are wounded.

“To develop this program as a fourth-year resident, to be given the time, that’s true project-based learning,” Dr. Moreland-Capuia told an audience of medical students and faculty members. “I had to work with hospitals, politicians, the county, the state. There were a number of collective partners. What it ended up doing was building this huge collaborative of people wanting to learn more about what trauma is and how they can be a part of the discussion. That was my fourth year in residency. So this is well within your reach.”

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