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New associate dean for continuing ed named at Health Center

by Jane Shaskan - April 3, 2006

Innovative use of education can transform the health care system, according to Dr. Thomas Van Hoof.

Van Hoof was recently appointed associate dean of the Office of Continuing and Community Education at the Health Center.

“Interactive education methods, targeted to individual needs and learning styles, combined with system-based interventions such as clinician and patient reminders, educational outreach, and performance feedback, are a powerful combination,” he says.

“We do not always fully leverage the potential of education.”

Van Hoof, a graduate of the UConn School of Medicine, says he’s most proud of the Health Center’s new Education Grand Rounds program, which he oversees.

“Faculty and staff from a variety of departments meet to discuss our common interest in education,” he says. “We share best practices methods and discuss novel strategies to improve our roles as educators of health professionals.”

A psychiatrist and medical ethicist by training, Van Hoof is responsible for meeting the requirements of Continuing Medical Education accreditation.

He also is an associate professor in the Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, where he teaches law and ethics and quality improvement.

He joined the Health Center in 1996 as an assistant professor of psychiatry.

In 1998, he received the medical school’s Kaiser Permanente Clinical Teacher of the Year Award.

“I am thrilled with my new appointment at the Health Center,” says Van Hoof.

“The faculty is extremely collegial and the leadership supports a set of values that promote excellence and caring.”

Dr. Thomas Van Hoof, center, speaks with Donna Bailey-Gates, left, and Vera Dynder in a conference room at the Health Center.
Dr. Thomas Van Hoof, center, speaks with Donna Bailey-Gates, left, and Vera Dynder in a conference room at the Health Center.
Photo by Peter Morenus

In addition to his departmental duties, Van Hoof is an education consultant to the Mental Health in Independent School Community Program at Hartford Hospital and a clinical advisor for Qualidigm, a quality improvement organization in Middletown.

Before his appointment, Van Hoof was the director of education at Qualidigm, where he was honored for his excellence in teamwork and in quality improvement.

His research focuses on effective education strategies to change provider behavior; physicians as a special subset of adult learners; and the interface between quality improvement and medical education.

“The Health Center provides an unparalleled opportunity for innovation, despite our relatively small size as an academic institution,” says Van Hoof.

“A real commitment to education exists here.”

Van Hoof completed an internship and residency in psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine/Institute of Living and completed a fellowship in medical ethics at Harvard Medical School.

He then earned a master’s degree in education at the UConn.

Currently, he is nearing completion of a doctoral degree in education from Columbia University.  

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