Dr. Woods’ work examines the role of biomedical knowledge in clinical reasoning and value of basic science training in the development of medical expertise. Applying principles of memory and learning to medical education, she has begun to look beyond the problem-solving aspect of diagnosis to the cognitive resources that support clinical reasoning. Her research has found a role for basic science knowledge in creating a conceptual framework for clinical information. By providing explanatory pathways and causal connections between signs and symptoms, basic science knowledge can help students develop a coherent mental representation of a disease category. This type of mental representation plays a critical role in long-term memory, knowledge transfer and solving challenging clinical problems. Building on this basic premise, her research program focuses on 1) the design of instructional methods that integrate clinical knowledge and conceptual models of disease, 2) the evaluation of basic science knowledge, and 3) understanding the changing role of biomedical knowledge throughout undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education.
Scientist, The Institute for Education Research (TIER)
Director, Research Institute, The Institute for Education Research (TIER)
Associate Director & Education Scientist, The Wilson Centre, UHN
Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto