McMaster University researcher Sandra Monteiro received the Karolinska Institutet Prize for Research in Medical Education (KIPRIME) fellowship awarded by Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet, ranked as one of the world’s top medical schools.

Monteiro received the KIPRIME Fellowship for her efforts to clarify best practices, streamline curricula and empower physicians to effectively apply theoretical knowledge in clinical scenarios.

“This fellowship's true value lies in the prospect of networking with fellow scientists at similar career stages, providing a platform for sharing diverse experiences and knowledge,” said Monteiro, associate professor of the Department of Medicine and researcher at the McMaster Education Research, Innovation and Theory (MERIT) program.

Already enjoying strong support from researchers at McMaster and across Canada, Monteiro now aims to expand her network internationally to make a truly global impact.

Monteiro's research challenges the idea that taking time to think carefully and reflect, called 'system-two thinking,' always improves outcomes. In the past, experts believed that quick thinking, known as 'system-one thinking,' was unreliable and that complex health situations must be analyzed carefully.

But Monteiro's research has shown that thinking too much and analyzing too deeply can lead to the misdiagnosis of patients and the slowdown of health systems. Quick thinking processes are important for the brain, but are also hard to analyze, so it is often not possible for individuals to only rely on their own thoughts to find and fix their mistakes. In this way, a guided but still efficient thought process should be found to reduce problematic second guessing.

By questioning conventional wisdom, Monteiro's work has helped move the dial in medical education and foster a more nuanced understanding of cognitive processes involved in clinical decision-making. Her research has significant implications for improving patient outcomes and optimizing health-care systems, particularly in the context of accurate medical diagnoses.

The KIPRIME Fellowship not only acknowledges the contributions of Monteiro's work but also provides a platform to advance her research platform.

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