University of Nebraska Medical Center

Shining a Spotlight on Dr. Jana Wardian

Academy Member Since 2021
Associate Director,
Interprofessional Academy of Educators
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
(Pictured here with her favorite student, her granddaughter)

What do you do at UNMC?
I characterize my unique position with UNMC as a “catalyst” for research in the Division of Hospital Medicine (HM). I support hospitalists in reaching their professional goals which include improving patient care through quality improvement (QI) projects and research studies, presenting their findings, publishing their work in peer-reviewed journals, and strengthening their application for a fellowship and promotion. My personal research interest remains broad and is captured in this phrase, “Reducing the work of being a patient.” This allows flexibility in the type of projects and collaborators I work with. My choice to primarily promote and model team research and publish as part of a larger team comes from my understanding of and following the UNMC iTEACH for Education: Institutional Learning Objectives.

Tell us about your educational research interests and teaching role.
My IPE efforts extend beyond the UNMC faculty as I have collaborated with Dr. Elizabeth Beverly at Ohio University, a trained psychologist, to utilize a series of twelve 360-degree virtual reality videos designed to educate students about diabetes and social determinants of health (SDH). I have partnered with multiple CAHP instructors to utilize these videos in their courses. I collect the pre/post data and analyze the change in empathy and diabetes attitudes. I continue to seek funding and other IPE faculty to produce SDH E-learning modules for UNMC and other healthcare students.

What is one of your favorite/memorable teaching moments?
While I have many memorable teaching moments from my doctoral student days, I'll focus on a more recent example. I was honored to attend a Zoom discussion with DPT students after completing the 12 SDH modules centering around Lula Mae, a 72 year old Appalachian woman with diabetes. Hearing the emotional responses of the students and their stories that connected them to her experience was fun and heart-breaking. It was clear that the students were engaged and learning at a deep level.

What do you see as the biggest benefit to being a member of the IAE?
I moved to Omaha during the pandemic, so I was experiencing a great deal of being alone. For me, the biggest benefit to being an Academy member has been the sense of community and belonging I have received. The meetings I attend are full of information and connection. I highly recommend membership to all of my education faculty. IPE enthusiasm is contagious-in a good way!

What's something about you that not many people know?
I am the first person in my family of origin to earn any college degree. It took me nearly 25 years to complete my four-year degree and then, I just didn't stop until I earned my PhD. It's probably not a secret that I have been a nerd all of my life — even before being bookish was cool. I guess that makes me a trend-setter!

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