Co-Creating the Future of Health Sciences Education
Date & Time
Sunday, June 13, 2021, 1:45 PM - 4:45 PM

Purpose The purpose of this pre-conference workshop is to expose participants to the principles and tools of Futures Thinking and Strategic Foresight and to allow participants to experience themselves as 'futures thinkers', with the ability to imagine the future of health sciences education and to identify implications for practice based on the momentum of current trends and emerging signals.


  • Introduce the major tenets of Futures Thinking
  • Gain the skills needed to identify and capitalize on emerging trends, weak signals, and changing patterns while receiving tangible models that allow participants to immediately apply new learning.
  • Expand the field of vision around the possibilities of the future so that participants can make better decisions in the present.
  • Utilize Futures Thinking as the instrument to define resilient, adaptive and transformative strategies for Health Sciences Education.

Timeliness and Significance to the Field Educators and education programs have historically been slow to either create or adopt innovative approaches to meet curricular and institutional goals. This is no less true for health sciences educators, where long established practices and policies can severely inhibit innovative, strategic, proactive educational plans and practices. However, educators are facing an increasingly complex environment - full of exponential change. Traditional linear approaches to planning for the future are less effective today. Instead of relying on hindsight to plan for the future, thinking proactively about the future leads to actionable insights for today. These complex times require a new mindset. Institutions and individuals need to demonstrate more agility, and adopt innovative approaches to interpret the landscape and thrive in this environment. The must have skillset required to thrive in this era of unprecedented change is Strategic Foresight, or how to effectively manage, harness, and leverage constant change. Strategic foresight allows individuals and organizations to leverage insights gleaned from identified trends and issues, to imagine future scenarios, and use those scenarios as a platform for innovation and proactive development of solutions to newly emerging concerns. In this session, participants will be introduced to Strategic Foresight skills, use them to interpret the emerging landscape, and develop future visions for Health Sciences Education. Companies and industries are increasingly utilizing Futures Thinking and foresight tools to develop strategic plans, innovative products and services, to recruit top talent, and manage seamless customer service and satisfaction. Strategic Foresight is both a discipline and a practice. It is time for educators to 'catch up', to develop these skills and use them to imagine (and create) the future of Health Sciences Education.

Workshop description including teaching methods and timeline for educational activities In this highly interactive workshop, participants will be introduced to the tenets of Futures Thinking and to newly emerging trends and signals. They will have frequent opportunities to utilize Strategic Foresight skills to project the impact of these trends on the future of Health Sciences Education and identify ways to protect against potential barriers and capitalize on potential opportunities.

  • 5 minutes: Introduction of Facilitators
  • 20 minutes: Presentation- Becoming a Futures Thinker: The things you need to know and be able to do.
  • 20 minutes: Large group discussion & Presentation- Identification/Presentation of the trends and weak signals in education, health science education, health care and the larger context of society that have potential for immediate and long-term impact on education.
  • 65 minutes: Paired or Small Group Activity:
    • 15 minutes - Identify the momentum and potential impact of three individual trends.
    • 15 minutes - Identify the patterns and the emerging landscapes of change based on these three trends.
    • 35 minutes- Identify the implications of these combined trends in the next 5, 10 and 20 years.
  • 25 minutes: Small Group Activity- Trend trading. Groups will split.
    • 12 minutes - Half the group members (Survey group) will survey other groups to identify implications of trends that other groups identified. The rest the members (Share Group) will share the work from Section D above with other members from other groups (survey members).
    • 12 minutes - Share Group and Survey Group members trade places
  • 20 minutes: Small Group Activity. Members return to their original group to share additional impacts and implications they gleaned from other groups. Members make final refinements to their work in Section D. Based on their work in Section D, members will identify 5 characteristics, changes or predictions that have potential to impact Health Sciences Education and their recommendation of a proactive innovation that, if implemented, will allow educators to shape, rather than react to, the future of Health Sciences Education.
  • 25 minutes: Large Group Discussion - What does the future look like and what can you do about it? Session facilitators will invite groups to share at least one of the characteristics, changes, predictions and innovations from Section D above. Session facilitators will lead a large group discussion to summarize the implications and predictions that have potential impact on Health Sciences Education.

Presenter's qualifications/expertise in area Denise Kay, PhD is an Educational and Counseling Psychologist with 16 years of teaching experience in higher education, with the last 8 years in medical education. To address the changing landscape of higher education, Denise has designed and delivered courses in face-to-face, fully online, asynchronous mixed mode and synchronous, virtual formats. She describes herself as a 'futurist' and has successfully completed an independent Futures Thinking program with co-facilitators, Yvette Salvatico, a 3-Day Applied Foresite Futures School and a 1-Day Wicked Opportunity refresher, designed and delivered by both Yvette and co-presenter, Frank Spencer. Denise has utilized Futures Thinking and Strategic Foresight for both personal and, when accommodated, curricular and instructional planning.

Frank Spencer, MA. a published author and speaker, delivering presentations and workshops around the globe. With a strong background in both business and academic foresight, Frank was the creator and lead instructor of The Futures Institute: Shaping The Future Now at the Duke University Talent Identification Program Institute. He has worked on foresight for companies like Kraft, Mars, and Marriott. Frank also led the effort to establish foresight as a leadership competency across The Walt Disney Company, training over 300 employees across the globe. Frank is co-founder of The Futures School, a multi-disciplinary Strategic Foresight training program. He's created a worldwide network of foresight campuses in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. More than 500 global citizens have joined The Futures School movement to embody a future-empowered mindset. Frank is also the founding partner at Kedge, a foresight innovation, creativity and strategic design firm.

Yvette Montero Salvatico, MBA, is an experienced and engaging speaker, unique in her ability to transport audiences into the future. Yvette has over 15 years of corporate experience with large, multinational firms like Kimberly-Clark and The Walt Disney Company. At Disney, Yvette led the effort to establish Future Workforce Insights, which leveraged foresight techniques to identify future workforce trends and assess potential threats, impacts, emerging ideas and opportunities. As co-founder of The Futures School, a multi-disciplinary Strategic Foresight training program, Yvette has built a network of foresight campuses across five continents, including North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. More than 500 global citizens have joined The Futures School movement to embody a futures-thinking mindset. Yvette is also a partner at Kedge - a strategic design, foresight and innovation firm - where she utilizes extensive research and customized tool-kits to service a diverse global client base.

Outcomes - What skills will attendees acquire? Session attendees will gain the following Futures Thinking and Strategic Foresight skills:

  • The identification of personal mental 'filters' that limit one's ability to recognize emerging trends and issues.
  • Trend Identification - expanding the lens of factors that have potential for impacting Health Sciences Education in the future
  • Courage to imagine the future and what it means for health science education and educators
    • Imagine and extrapolate the implications of both individual and combined trends on the immediate and long-term future of Health Sciences Education.
    • Identification of characteristics, changes and predictions for the future of Health Sciences Education.
    • Imagine innovations that can shape and proactively address future Health Sciences Education opportunities and challenges.
Denise Kay Yvette Montero Salvatico