Teaching, learning, doing: best practices in education.Am J Clin Nutr 2005; 82(1 Suppl):218S-221SAJ
As many as 90 million Americans lack basic skills needed to access, understand, and use health information and services to make healthy dietary choices. Effective teaching by physicians can bridge the learning gap and arrest the epidemic of obesity. The Academy at Harvard Medical School is developing best practices in teaching that will equip future doctors to reduce health illiteracy and promote positive changes in thinking and behavior in their patients. Models of how people learn can help physicians select tasks, questions, and prompts that advance teaching and learning. To keep and use new information, adults need to integrate new ideas into existing frameworks of understanding and participate in the learning process by linking new information to what is already known. By teaching patients how to read a single food label, starting with calories, physicians can set the stage for future learning. The process of change is challenging, particularly in adults. Best practices in teaching and learning can help physicians be more effective agents of change.