Bringing Blood to Life
New Progressive Learning Website from Harvard Medical School for Med Students & Physicians

Prof Jason Last, Dean of Students, UCD - Member of ‘The Blood Project’ Advisory Board

(Thurs 7th Sept) The Blood Project (TBP) based out of Harvard Medical School has launched a freely accessible, non-for-profit learning resource that is targeted to medical students, physicians-in-training and practicing physicians of all stripes - hematologists and non-hematologists alike. The primary aim of TBP is to change the way medical students and physicians think and learn about blood and, by extension, to improve patient care.  

The unique platform, which has been developed over several years in consultation with internationally recognized medical educators, addresses an unmet need created by the emergence of evidence-based medicine as the leading model of clinical care.   

“We recognize and respect the importance of evidence-based medicine or EBM in clinical decision making,” says William Aird, MD, Executive Director of TBP, Professor Medicine at Harvard Medical School and attending physician at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “However, EBM has been referred to as ‘cookbook medicine’ for a reason. It has the unintended effect of devaluing and deskilling physicians. We want to recalibrate the pendulum between blindly following recipes at the bedside and improvising in the kitchen when it matters.” To that end, TBP promotes critical thinking and an appreciation of the humanities, with the goal of bridging the gap between the “wall of evidence” and individualized patient care.

TBP provides a wide menu of learning assets, including micro-courses, infographics, quizzes, case studies, and videos. The content includes fun, engaging, and inspirational perspectives such as history of medicine, comparative physiology, and evolutionary medicine – just enough to whet the user’s appetite and help build conceptual frameworks. There is also a section dedicated to humanities that includes essays, poetry, creative writing, and art interpretation. 

Aird is joined by more than 20 Advisory Board members (including Prof Jason Last, Dean of Students, UCD), all leaders in their fields, including hematology, medical education, history of medicine, comparative and evolutionary medicine, art and medicine, literature in medicine, health literacy, and medical training in under-represented minorities.  

“If our project is a success and is adopted as a new educational model in medicine,” Aird says, “it may serve as a valuable template for other specialties. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll see a Heart Project, a Brain Project or a Lung Project. Hopefully, TBP, in some small way, will help to keep medicine grounded in rationalism and the humanities.”   

About The Blood Project: TBP communicates the wonders of the blood and employs blood as a prism to explore the human body in health and disease. We promote critical thinking as a way of building conceptual frameworks and we promote an appreciation of the humanities, all with the goal of improving patient care. 

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