University of Nebraska Medical Center

Shining a Spotlight on Dr. Jana Wardian

Academy Member Since 2021
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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