Transformative Learning and Critical Consciousness: A Model for Preclerkship Medical School Substance Use Disorder Education.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: Preparing medical students to provide compassionate person-centered care for people with substance use disorders (SUD) requires a re-envisioning of preclerkship SUD education to allow for discussions on stigma, social determinants of health, systemic racism, and healthcare inequities. The authors created a curricular thread that fosters the development of preclerkship medical students' critical consciousness through discussion, personal reflection, and inclusion of lived experiences. METHODS: The authors used transformative learning theories to design and implement this thread in the 2021-2022 academic year in the Duke University School of Medicine preclerkship curriculum. Content included lectures, person-centered workshops, case-based learning, motivational interviewing of a standardized patient, and an opioid overdose simulation. Community advocates and people with SUD and an interdisciplinary faculty were involved in the thread design and delivery and modeled their lived experiences. Students wrote a 500-word critical reflection essay that examined their personal beliefs in the context of providing care for people with SUD. RESULTS: One hundred and twenty-two students submitted essays and 30 (25%) essays were randomly selected for a qualitative analysis. Seven major themes emerged: race/racism, systemic barriers, bias and stigma, personal growth/transformation, language or word usage, future plans for advocacy, and existing poor outcomes. Students were able to link material with prior knowledge and experiences, and their attitudes towards advocacy and goals for future practice were positively influenced. CONCLUSION: By aligning the thread design with the principals of transformative learning, students developed their critical consciousness toward people with SUD and cultivated a holistic understanding of SUD.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Muzyk, A; Mantri, S; Mitchell, P; Velkey, JM; Reisinger, D; Andolsek, K

Published Date

  • December 16, 2022

Published In

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 7

PubMed ID

  • 36526808

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9757624

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1545-7230

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s40596-022-01737-7


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States