ALUMNA PILOTS VIRTUAL FAMILY MEDICINE PRECEPTORSHIPBy Anne Reneslacis
Lisa Nash ’87 graduated from TCU with a degree in biology. Originally from Brock, Texas, a small town just west of Fort Worth, she grew up hearing about TCU. Since she was a small child, Nash always knew she wanted to be a doctor. The reputation of the pre-health program and the offer of a full scholarship made Nash choose to pursue her education at TCU. Recently, Nash developed a virtual family medicine preceptorship (FMP) for TCU students.
During her time at TCU, Nash learned a lot and took advantage of all the university had to offer. “[The late] Dr. Ernest Couch took me under his wing by allowing me to work as his lab assistant, as well as mentoring me,” Nash said. “He taught me how to use his computer, which gave me a skill set that most of my fellow students entering medical school did not have during the late 1980’s.”
After graduation, Nash went to medical school at Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM). “I entered medical school with a fantastic preparation from my studies at TCU,” Nash said. “I think the pre-health program has always had excellent faculty who are really invested in student success. I’m very proud to be a TCU alum.” Following medical school, she completed a family medicine residency, and then entered into a rural private practice in Littlefield, Texas.
Somewhat unexpectedly, Nash and her partner became faculty in TCOM’s Rural Osteopathic Medical Education program and hosted students in their practice. Nash said she discovered a completely unanticipated love for teaching. From there, she took a full-time academic position with the family medicine residency at University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston. After a few years, Nash became the program director. In 2010, she was recruited back to TCOM as associate dean, overseeing all graduate medical education programs affiliated with TCOM, as well as the support provided to those programs.
Nash piloted a new virtual FMP over winter break with eight students, who helped evaluate and improve the experience. There are over 50 students that signed up for the preceptorship this spring. “The virtual FMP was a really fun project,” Nash explained. “It grew out of a conversation I had with Dr. Chumchal about the effect of the pandemic on TCU student’s clinical learning opportunities in the fall and winter of 2020. There were many similarities with our TCOM students, and adapting solutions for these students was an obvious opportunity.”
The content of the virtual FMP is a combination of specialty exploration activities with opportunities to apply what has been learned to computer-based cases, similar to problem-based learning activities used in the medical school curriculum. After the pandemic, Nash said she would like to see the virtual FMP grow into a blended opportunity, where students can do both the online portion and spend time in the clinic.
Nash spoke to the impact that the program will have in the community, both locally and on a larger scale. “One of the greatest needs in the country as a whole, and Texas in particular, is for primary care physicians,” she said. “Any opportunity to spark a passion in pre-health students to consider primary care specialties has the potential to work toward meeting that need. TCOM has a strong track record in producing primary care physicians, so this all comes together in a meaningful way for me.”