Education & Teaching Team Science

Co-development of Interdisciplinary Engineering Innovation in Health course by Engineering and Team Science Faculty to Accelerate Health Innovation from Bench to Bedside

Dr. Soyoung Kang, University of Washington; Dr. Erin Blakeney, UW School of Nursing; Ms. Nicole Summerside, UW School of Nursing; Dr. Brenda Zierler, UW School of Nursing; Ms. Jennifer Sprecher, Institute of Translational Health Sciences; Ms. Katrina Henrikson, UW Mechanical Engineering; Dr. Jonathan Liu, UW Mechanical Engineering; Dr. Eric Seibel, UW Mechanical Engineering; Dr. Jonathan Posner, UW Mechanical Engineering

The Engineering Innovation in Health (EIH) program at the University of Washington (UW) promotes interdisciplinary collaboration between engineering and the health sciences with the goal of developing technical solutions to pressing challenges in health care. Undergraduate and graduate engineering students partner with health care professionals to solve unmet health challenges identified by clinical partners and their teams. EIH follows a need-based design philosophy that begins with an unmet health need and examines stakeholders, market opportunity, intellectual property, FDA regulations, and reimbursement. The program results in patent submissions, data for research papers and proposals, and medtech startups. Students receive degree credits and develop skills working in interdisciplinary teams. By partnering with the UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) and the CTSA Team Science initiative, EIH teaching faculty aim to accelerate health innovation from bench to bedside by improving team dynamics, communication and program participant satisfaction. Close collaboration between engineering faculty and ITHS Team Science faculty is bringing tailored highly-interactive team science training to student-clinician teams. Starting in Fall 2018, team science content has included facilitated team formation and development of team agreements using Liberating Structures, completion of a team Welcome Letter, and introduction of a structured approach to giving and receiving feedback.

To track the impact of the co-developed Team Science modules, different EIH student cohorts have been surveyed annually since Fall 2017. The 2017 cohort did not receive any purposeful team science training so their survey results serve as a baseline to which subsequent survey data are compared. The most notable improvements, based on survey responses, have been seen in questions related to psychological safety and beliefs about the EIH project team. For example, students were asked to rate their level of agreement to statements such as, “Our project team has a climate of collaboration and trust,” and “Communication with my team members outside of class was easy,” to which the rate at which students responded “Strongly agree” increased more than 20% compared to the baseline year. Students also report finding the Welcome letter to be useful—for example a Fall 2018 student stated: “The Welcome Letters (to their clinician partners) was useful for laying foundations for team dynamics and team expectations. It also helped the clinician get on-board with meeting the team and understanding course/project expectations.”

The UW ITHS Team Science Core is providing tailored team training to the student-clinician teams with the express goals of measurable improvement in team dynamics, communication, and program participant satisfaction, as well as increasing the number of program deliverables, such as patent applications, startup formation rates, device clinical evaluations, and research papers. Initial results are positive and are providing a foundation from which to develop best practices for team science training with newly formed interdisciplinary teams.

SciTS Presentation: Co-development of Interdisciplinary Engineering Innovation in Health course by Engineering & Team Science Faculty to Accelerate Health Innovation from Bench to Bedside


Team Education: Deploying Team Science Principles in Health Informatics Training

Dr. Georgina Moulton, The University of Manchester; Dr. Paul Taylor, University College London

Health Informatics (HI) is an interdisciplinary, interprofessional and applied field. It requires people to work in teams to develop digital systems to support the delivery of healthcare. Team science principles have been used in HI research and in healthcare more generally, but rarely have they been used to develop an educational model in which the team science principles of HI are mirrored in the delivery of an HI educational programme.

Health Informatics programmes are traditionally delivered by a single institution with limited input from external organisations. This can mean students get a narrow perspective on the field and it often diminishes the experience for students and educationalists as they are only exposed to a narrow set of skills applied to a limited range of digital health challenges.  In addition, the practice of HI relies on interprofessional interaction, adding a dimension to the range of training experiences required. This, plus recent developments in the field, driven by national policies in the UK, and a move to recognise academic career tracks in teaching and scholarship, led The University of Manchester (UoM) and University College London (UCL) to adopt a different approach to education in HI at institutional and individual levels, benefitting both the students and educators.

Using a framework that has been widely used to describe digital adoption in the healthcare sector (Greenhalgh, 2017) and team science principles, we have created an integrated teaching (‘team education’) delivery model.  We have considered each of these factors to enable us to move to this new way of working, in particular, readiness for collaboration and change; co-leadership dynamics and a shared mental model, establishing mutual trust, recognition of individual academic contribution; management and planning. The final aspect we are currently exploring is the adaption of these over time and how we can extend this model to future international educational projects.

This ‘team education’ approach has supported the delivery of a Joint Award Masters Programme (awarded by UCL and UoM) that underpins two national programmes to train over 30 health informaticians for the National Health Service (NHS) per year, as well as a new way of working across institutions that brings together over 30 academics, four administrators and over 10 professional support staff. We are building a wider network of 10 healthcare organisations and industry partners (e.g., Microsoft). The team members responsible for leading and for supporting the development of each element of programme delivery - student interaction, administration, module development and delivery, online activities - contribute in a way which is independent of the institution they are based at, and in doing so help us develop a novel set of working practices. Students and citizens also contribute to the programme through committees and teaching activities.

This work provides an example of how team science theory can be applied to deliver national educational programmes. It represents a shift in approach to education, which has led us to embed ‘team science’ principles in training the future health informatics workforce, but also deploy them in delivering our programme.


Closing the Collaborative Skills Gap: Assessing the Effectiveness of a University-Wide Course Designed to Teach Students How to Collaborate in Diverse Groups

Dr. Kathryn Plaisance, University of Waterloo; Mr. Christopher Lok, University of Waterloo; Ness Lamont, University of Waterloo

As anyone working on the Science of Team Science knows, collaboration is an essential skill for solving complex problems. Not surprisingly, then, collaborative skills are in high demand by employers. According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the “ability to work well on a team” was tied for the #1 skill employers look for. Yet, many students are not explicitly taught how to collaborate. At a previous talk at the Science of Team Science (2016), the author and her student collaborators presented data demonstrating the lack of formal education around collaborative skills – a so-called collaborative skills gap – at their own institution. Here, we present the next two phases of the project: (1) a new university-wide course designed to close the collaborative skills gap by teaching students how to work in diverse groups, and (2) an empirical assessment of the effectiveness of the course in terms of students’ attitudes and collaborative capabilities.

The course (INTEG 210: Making Collaboration Work) was co-designed by undergraduate students working on their Bachelors of Knowledge Integration. (Knowledge Integration is an interdisciplinary program at the University of Waterloo that teaches students critical and creative thinking, real-world problem-solving, and how to collaborate across disciplines.) Notably, many students in Canada do not have the opportunity to study or engage with other students from different disciplines, as university education tends to be more specialized. Incoming students are typically required to apply to a specific program and are often discouraged from taking too many courses outside their program, resulting in university education that is highly siloed. Furthermore, although many students are expected to work in groups, few report having received explicit instruction on effective collaboration. INTEG 210 was designed to address this problem: first, by inviting students from across the university to take the course, and second, by explicitly teaching students collaborative theories and best practices, including those that will help them work well in diverse groups. The course was first offered in Fall 2018. It drew students from all six Faculties, and course evaluations indicate that students found it very useful.

We conducted pre- and post-course surveys to determine how the course affected students’ attitudes, confidence, and capabilities with respect to collaborating in diverse groups. (Notably, students were placed in groups that were diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, personality, program of study, and year in program. They had two such group experiences, with a significant project to be completed by each group.) We also asked students to complete three reflections: one at the beginning of the course, one after their first group experience, and one after their second group experience. In this talk, we will present the results of this study, focusing on the survey data and highlighting some of the qualitative findings from the reflections. We will also share a new web resource that is currently under development, called “Making Collaboration Work,” that is designed to share collaborative theories and best practices with both students and instructors.


The Development of a Competency-Based Team Science Training Program: A Case Study of TeamMAPPS

Dr. Kevin C. Wooten, University of Houston Clear Lake; Dr. Martiza R. Salazar, University of California Irvine; Dr. Theresa K. Lant, Pace University; Dr. Eduardo Salas, Rice University; Ms. Cynde Ferris, The University of Texas Medical Branch; Ms. Lori A. Wiseman, The University of Texas Medical Branch

Objective: Responding to the National Research Council’s (2015) call for the identification and translation of knowledge, skills, and attitudes for successful team science, we present a case review of the development of an evidence-based competency model for team science training built around a previously-developed model (Wooten, Salas, Lant, Salazar, Sarraj, Brasier, & Wiseman, 2017). We review the refinement of the model, learning objectives, use of an evidence-based approach to ensure transfer of training, and the application of instructional development techniques.

Method: Using the model shown in Table 1, we have developed a five-module training program inclusive of: 1) Overview, 2) Facilitating Awareness and Information Exchange, 3) Promoting Psychological Safety, 4) Self-Correction and Adaptation, and 5) Application and Synthesis. We have built the modules such that they 1) address known issues in team science, 2) are evidence-based, 3) can be described behaviorally, 4) can be used for either development or evaluation, 5) can be applicable to nascent or advanced teams, and 6) can be used as a training model or as a diagnostic. These modules have been developed to be facilitated face to face, or completely asynchronous as a web program. In the instructional development we have utilized adult learning theory (Merriam,2001), transformational learning theory (Travis, 2006), options for a flipped classroom (McLaughlin, Roth, & Glatt, 2014), video-based behavioral modeling (Taylor, Russ-Eft, & Chan, 2005), and gamification (Dominguez, Saenz-de-Navarrete, de-Marcos, Fernández-Sanz, Pagés, & Martínez-Herráiz, 2013). Content and methods will be reviewed by team science educators, and ultimately field tested using knowledge checks as well as perceptions of self-efficacy around the competencies.

Table 1

Training Modules, Targeted Competencies, and Citations

Training Module


Relevant Citations

     Facilitating Awareness & Exchange

Sharing unique information/promotive voice

Liang, J., Farh, C.I.C., & Farh, J. (2012).

Salazar, M.R., Lant, T.K., Fiore, S.M., & Salas, E. (2012).



Huber, G.P., & Lewis, K. (2010).

Marks, M.A., Mathieu, J.E., & Zaccaro, S.J. (2001).

Reframing and integrating

Van Der Vegt, G.S., & Bunderson, J.S. (2005).

Klein, J.T. (2005). Interdisciplinary teamwork:

     Promoting Psychological Safety

Perspective seeking

Edmondson, A. (1999).

Acknowledging and including others

Edmondson, A. (1999).

Addressing issues and resolving conflict

Edmondson, A. (1999).

     Self-Correction & Adaptation


LePine, J.A. (2003).

Tannenbaum, S.I., & Cerasoli, C.P. (2013).


Tannenbaum, S.I., & Cerasoli, C.P. (2013).

Creating change/ development plans

LePine, J.A. (2003).

Summary of Findings: Development of real-life scenarios for application exercises has proven to be the most difficult instructional challenge. Use of gamification in the development of a “Design Your Own Experience” applications provide the most robust opportunity for student engagement and transfer of training. Additional effort is required to provide a capstone experiential to integrate all the competencies illustrated in Table 1. Further plans include providing additional modules for community constituents and patient advocates to provide skill-based training to optimize participatory research designs.

Significance of Study: When successfully pilot tested and reviewed, the TeamMAPPS program can provide significant training support for individuals and institutions needing behaviorally based team science training.

SciTS Presentation: The Development of a Competency-Based Team Science Training Program: A Case Study of TeamMAPPS


Training and Development on Interdisciplinary Scientific Teams

Ms. Hannah Beth Love, Colorado State University; Dr. Jennifer Eileen Cross, Colorado State University; Dr. Bailey Fosdick, Colorado State University; Dr. Susan VandeWoude, Colorado State University; Dr. Ellen Fisher, Colorado State University

Read (2016) claimed in Ecosphere that team science is needed to answer the complex problems of the 21st century.  Despite the need for team science, the knowledge base on how to train and develop scientific teams is still in nascent stages.  This article presents an exemplary case study of a scientific team that is functioning as a training and development team.  The methods of data collection included: social network surveys, participant observation, focus groups, interviews, historical social network data, and turn-taking data. 

The team is unique because they created an internal structure to train and develop the next generation of scientists to take on new roles in the team, and answer the next set of research questions.  Through this process, the team grew and evolved over 12-years.  This presentation will answer questions about the structure and process of the team including: how does the team train and develop scientists?  How do the PI’s interact with team members to train and develop them?  How do team members collaborate and influence each other?  How do the daily practices support the goals of the team?  In addition, using social network data the presentation will answer what is the structure of the team network, what is the ideal structure, where are different types of people (i.e. PIs, and postdocs) in the network and how does the network change overtime? 

The team’s history of collaboration and model of training and development has worked to propel forward new ideas, collaborations, and research.  Their narrative emphasizes that good science isn’t just about having the next big idea or scientific discovery.  Science is also about mentoring, development and forming interpersonal relationships.

Read, E. K., O'Rourke, M., Hong, G. S., Hanson, P. C., Winslow, L. A., Crowley, S., ... & Weathers, K. C. (2016). Building the team for team science. Ecosphere, 7(3), e01291.

SciTS Presentation: Training and Development on Interdisciplinary Scientific Teams