Year 2015 / Volume 107 / Number 5
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Year 2015 / Volume 107 / Number 5


A review of three educational projects using interactive theater to improve physician-patient communication when treating patients with irritable bowel syndrome


Ben Saypol, Douglas A. Drossman, Max J. Schmulson, Carolina Olano, Albena Halpert, Ademola Aderoju and Lin Chang

Background: Quality communication skills and increased multicultural sensitivity are universal goals, yet teaching them have remained a challenge for educators.
Objective: To document the process and participant responses to Interactive Theater when used as a method to teach physicianpatient communication and cross-cultural competency. Design, setting, and participants: Three projects are reported. They were collaborations between Theater Delta, the UNC Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, the Rome Foundation, the World Gastroenterology Organization, and the American Gastroenterological Association. Outcome measures: 8 forced choice and 6 open ended were collected from each participant using a post-performance evaluation form.
Results: Responses to the 8 indicators relating to a positive experience participating in the Interactive Theater. The vast majority either agreed or strongly agreed with the statements on the evaluation form. Written comments explained why.
Conclusions: Data indicates that Interactive Theater stimulates constructive dialogue, analysis, solutions, and intended behavior change with regard to communication skills and adapting to patients from multicultural backgrounds. Interactive Theater directly focuses on communication itself (active listening, empathy, recognizing cultural differences, etc.) and shows promise as an effective way to improve awareness and skills around these issues.

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