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Learning and Attention Disorders

Medical students and physicians with both previously undiagnosed and well-documented learning and attention disorders are coming to the attention of medical professionals and state medical societies. The following two tables, adapted from the work of Cheryl Weinstein, Ph.D., identify memory and attention tools that can help professionals manage learning/attention disorders.

What are executive functions?

  • Planning
  • Prioritization
  • Organization
  • Reasoning
  • Sustaining a Task
  • Cognitive Flexibility
  • Shifting from one task to another
  • Inhibition
  • Attention (Alerting, orienting)

Attention Strategies for Individuals with LD and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity (ADHD)

  • Talk to yourself to focus attention
  • Write down essential information
  • Ask for repetition of instructions
  • Ask speakers to present information more slowly
  • Break down tasks into small, simple steps
  • Learn to identify and avoid overload
  • Take rest periods
  • Work on detailed tasks when maximally alert
  • Writing in charts when patient is present
  • Avoid lengthy monotonous tasks
  • Work in a quiet space
  • Try to do one thing at a time
  • Practice learning to divide attention
  • Learn negotiation skills
  • Be honest with team members about cognitive weaknesses to avoid communication failures.
Source:  Weinstein, 2008. p. 443.

Memory Strategies

  • Establish clear expectations in advance about what is to be accomplished
  • Outline the sequence of a task
  • Organize/categorize/chunk information.
  • Repeat instructions to make certain messages are understood.
  • Establish a routine doing the same task in the same order and on the same 
  • Use a memory notebook/hand held computer
  • Ask for power point presentations of lectures/rounds.
  • Ask for minutes of meeting
  • Develop cues to aid recall
Source:  Weinstein, 2008, p. 443.
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PHS is actively recruiting for a Medical Director. This is a unique opportunity to be an important part of a mission driven non-profit organization that supports the health, well-being, and effectiveness of physicians and medical students in MA. PHS is currently accepting applications, through the job posting here: MMS website. Please review the job description and apply. You may also contact a member of the search committee: Mary Anna Sullivan, MD, Chair, PHS Board of Directors; Glenn Pransky, MD, Director, PHS Board of Directors; Booker Bush, MD, Director, PHS Board of Directors; Dustin Patil, MD, Director, PHS Board of Directors; Bara Litman-Pike, PsyD, Executive Director PHS.

PHS is looking for great candidates to apply to this important position. We welcome your interest. The job is posted on this link on the MMS website.**

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PHS is sad to announce that Dr. Steven Adelman has decided to step down from his current position as Medical Director of Physician Health Services, Inc at the end of February 2021. During his eight (8) years of service his efforts have touched the lives and helped the careers of more than one thousand distressed physicians and medical students. He has brought a commitment and passion to the pursuit of PHS’s mission, while expanding the breadth, depth and quality of its services. His success is our success.

Dr. Adelman is planning to pursue other professional interests and opportunities. As PHS begins its search for a new Medical Director, Dr. Adelman will be an important part of our search team, and he will work closely with PHS’s Executive Director, Dr. Bara Litman-Pike.

PHS is very grateful for Dr. Adelman’s leadership and service. His work and that of his staff has been a source of pride to all of us at PHS and MMS. The medical profession and its patients are the ultimate beneficiaries of his tireless efforts.

PHS is looking for great candidates to apply to this important position. We welcome your interest. The job is posted on this link on the MMS website.

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