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Caroline and Rosa
Caroline Oh (L) and Rosa Daye Lee, who work in the Public Relations Department at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea, were the first visiting learners to participate in a Personalized Learning Program with UHN Public Affairs & Communications. (Photo: UHN)

Clinicians who are always busy. Making complex research understandable to a mainstream audience. Determining which of many stories at the hospital to tell. Managing an ever-changing media landscape.

These are just some of the daily challenges Rosa Daye Lee and Caroline Oh face as members of the Public Relations Department at Asan Medical Center (AMC) in Seoul, the largest hospital in South Korea.

But a two-week Personalized Learning Program™ (PLP™) at UHN helped them realize the issues they deal with are universal – and some of the solutions they seek are already being implemented here.

"UHN is very similar with Asan Medical Center, so it was very appropriate to learn how you think and work," says Rosa, who is the daughter of a nurse but had no knowledge of the inner workings of a hospital until she was hired at AMC. "This experience will help us a lot when we are back (home)."

Launched in 2014, the PLP at UHN is a fully customizable, observership-based program designed to meet learner goals and objectives. It's managed by the International Centre for Education (UHN ICE), which works closely with the host program and learners to develop an Education Plan that fits their needs.

Since its inception, UHN ICE has hosted more than 200 PLP learners from 26 countries in some 70 sub-specialties and programs – both clinical and non-clinical – across UHN, with the number and diversity of learning opportunities increasing each year.

"The PLP shows that all of us at UHN can be educators," says Dalia Al Mouaswas, Manager, UHN ICE.

'We enjoyed talking about our work'

Over the course of their time at UHN, Rosa and Caroline visited all four hospitals and the Michener Institute, meeting with Public Affairs & Communications (PAC) staff and other members of TeamUHN. They learned about a wide range of topics, from the UHN News digital story platform, social media strategies and media relations, to how the annual report is produced and policies on patient privacy.

Rosa and Caroline also attended regular team meetings, did case studies on how PAC handled complex media stories and issues, such as Canada's first hand transplant and an outbreak of listeria. They met with UHN's foundations about marketing and fundraising, and discussed communications best practices.

"Everyone on our team enjoyed working with you," Gillian Howard, Vice President, PAC, told Rosa and Caroline at a session on the last day of their PLP. "It's clear that UHN and AMC have much in common and that we all have the rewards and challenges that come with working in such great organizations.

"We enjoyed talking about our work. It's always nice when people outside UHN say, 'Hey, that's a great idea.'"

Rosa and Caroline were the first learners to participate in a PLP with Public Affairs. Also in 2018, UHN ICE hosted the inaugural Education Leadership and Organizational Development PLP and Michener's St. Patrick Campus welcomed the first PLP in Medical Imaging Simulation.

"Over the two weeks, I have seen all of you working with passion and trying to work more efficiently," Caroline, who has worked at Asan for 10 years, wrote in her presentation at the completion of the PLP. "You are always thinking and studying how you could work better. I've got a lot of things from you.

"This experience exceeded my expectations and I promise I'll transfer this knowledge to my colleagues."​

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