So many of the common pitfalls are tied together. Understanding and fostering students learning from one another is a method of also avoiding the “sage on the stage” problem. I generally teach health systems classes. Each student comes to class with a set of experiences within healthcare, occasionally as working professionals but mostly as patients or caregivers of family members.
To support student to student interactions, I encourage students to share their experiences from the beginning of class by first sharing how much I have learned as a parent about the system and the challenges that we will be discussing in class. It is one thing to say that the health system is fragmented and that the fragmentation leads to poor communication among healthcare providers. It is quite another to discuss what it has meant for our family that information about medication allergies that our pediatric allergist had never made it back to our daughters pediatrician. Our individual experiences give our valuable insights into the shortcomings and possibilities of out system.
Additionally, in our field it is important for each future public health professional to internalize that they will need to learn from the communities they will be working in. I believe one way to foster that is to make certain that students are learning from their peers and that we are continually learning from them as well.