The Yale School of Medicine Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) has a new executive director who brings nearly nine years of experience with the organization to his new post.
John Encandela, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry, began work as TLC’s executive director October 1. He has worked with TLC since February 2014 and most recently was associate director for curriculum and education assessment.
TLC launched in late 2012 just before the medical school introduced and then implemented a new teaching curriculum. TLC’s mission is to promote excellence in medical education, and that manifests itself in supporting the teaching faculty as they develop new programs and learning opportunities for trainees and medical students.
Encandela is familiar with the mission having worked with TLC since shortly after its launch and having previously served as interim executive director.
“Now this time I have to drive,” he said, adding he is excited for the opportunity.
Encandela replaces Janet Hafler, EdD, who earlier this year was appointed associate dean for teaching and learning at YSM. In this new role, she will oversee TLC and Yale Continuing Medical Education (CME).
“She (Hafler) really pushed education as an important leg in the research, education, and clinical service” mission of YSM, Encandela said. “I think that’s really been strengthened over the years with the TLC in existence.”
With Hafler now overseeing both areas of medical education administration at YSM, Encandela will direct TLC’s assessment of students, educators, and programs, as well as the enhancement of pedagogy and educator development.
His appointment coincides with the impending release of YSM’s 2022 Strategic Plan for Medical Education, which will establish priorities not only for the medical school, but for individual organizations within it like TLC.
Encandela said there is no question TLC’s programs and services will continue to be in great demand across YSM, and that future growth and expanded initiatives will largely depend on the direction set by the strategic plan.
“What is predictable is we will need to grow and respond,” he said, adding that he and others will look to maximize efficient delivery of programs by identifying synergies and overlaps between departments.
He said there is more focus now on substantiating success and achievement through metrics. “More data needs are emerging because of what funding bodies are saying. They want decisions connected to data,” he said. “That’s going to drive some of what we do in the future.”
In his associate director’s role, Encandela has spent years promoting personnel and program evaluation and incorporating assessment into the curriculum. He said it is important for faculty to receive feedback on their teaching so there is a constant improvement in program delivery.
TLC also supports and promotes the work of students – whether it be medical students or residents – at workshops and conferences, such as the annual Medical Education Day, which includes a keynote address, small group workshops, and a poster exhibition and competition.
Encandela sees potential growth and enhancement of the successful YSM Simulated Participant Program (formerly known as the Standardized Patient Program), which uses professional actors to simulate patients so students can practice their interactions and improve their clinical skills. “This has been growing over time and there are many possibilities in terms of directions that we can go,” he said.
He has been able to bring his experience with TLC to the Yale Department of Psychiatry, where he is working with a group to create a more strategic approach to evaluating residents and programs. His exposure to other departments through TLC gives him a unique perspective and allows him to talk about what models work, and what may need improvement.
He said he looks forward to the release of the medical school’s strategic plan so he can help guide the next steps of development for TLC.
“I just think that we’re at the next stage, and we have to see what that’s going to entail as the next step for the school and then respond to that as a center,” he said.