Special Interest Groups: The Value of Reviewing Best Practices in GTA/MUTA Programs

Special Interest Groups: The Value of Reviewing Best Practices in GTA/MUTA Programs
By: Kerensa Peterson, Northwestern University

At the year’s ASPE Conference, I had the opportunity to attend the pre-conference workshop, “Create and Manage a GTA/MUTA Program and Train Instructors Using the ASPE Standards of Best Practice.” The presenters – Holly Hopkins, Molly Chasion, Richard Claflin, John Darrow, Jennifer Murphy, Chelsea Smith, Tim Webster and Rose Zaeske – used the World Café model for small group discussions. These discussions focused on using the ASPE Standards of Best Practice (SOBP) to further define, strengthen and develop GTA (Gynecological Teaching Associate) and MUTA (Male Urological Teaching Associate) practices.

There were a variety of programs represented by the attendees of the workshop. Some participants came from long-standing programs while others were there to gather information so that they could start a GTA/MUTA program within their institutions. One of the differences noted during the workshop included programs that use SP models for sensitive exam teaching, which are faculty led, versus programs that use GTAs/MUTAs who are the instructors of the sensitive exams. Many great discussions emerged while using each domain of the ASPE SOBP as a springboard to discuss the structure and philosophy behind the programs represented by the presenters and participants. These discussions led to a few important take away points.

First, the role of a GTA/MUTA needs to be clearly defined and made separate from that of an SP serving as a sensitive exam model. There was even some discussion around dropping the “M” in MUTA, as some schools expressed interest in using more gender-neutral language to describe the MUTA role. Second, ASPE is uniquely positioned to tell the story of how GTAs/MUTAs are used within the clinical education space. We, as ASPE members, can begin to write down and share the historical context of the programs doing this work, and capture the reasons why these programs have been shaped in the way that they have.

Finally, there are many experienced GTAs and MUTAs who are capable of shaping the policies that will affect the future of this field. The attendees agreed that some quick action items included creating a protocol to ensure the safety of those involved in modeling for and teaching sensitive exams. And, participants wanted to ask their institutions whether or not GTAs and MUTAs at their school would have any access to Employee Assistance Plans or faculty physicians in the case of injury or mental health issues. Lastly, the presenters led a rousing call to join the Special Interest Group (SIG), reminding those of us who participated that we could also shape the policies that will affect the future of GTA/MUTA work in the future.

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