Frank Papa, DO, PhD

Associate Dean for Curricular Design and Faculty Development, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine

Frank PapaDr. Frank Papa currently directs TCOM’s Academy of Medical Educators (AME), a group of approximately 50 faculty members dedicated to improving their knowledge and skills as educators. The first objective of the AME is to implement TCOM’s Problem- and Task-focused, Application-oriented Curriculum (PTAC), a learning sciences-based approach to educating 21st century medical students. The second objective is to acquire the declarative knowledge and to develop the procedural knowledge necessary to advance as a formally trained clinician/educator or scientist/educator. Developing education-oriented research and scholarly capabilities stands as the third objective of the AME.

Dr. Papa joined UNTHSC as an Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine and following his Board Certification in Emergency Medicine, he served as the director of UNTHSC’s Division of Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Papa’s research interest in education began shortly after joining UNTHSC in 1979, when a student asked him to explain how he was using each piece of patient data, one sign and symptom at a time, to arrive at a diagnosis. While unable to provide a coherent answer, he used his programming and math skills to create a crude, computer-based model that could explicitly represent how a physician might process each sign/symptom while diagnosing patients with acute chest pain.

This computer-based representation of diagnostic reasoning eventually led to the construction of an artificial intelligence tool called KBIT. Dr. Papa has since redesigned KBIT as an intelligent, web-based tutor that allows students to acquire the declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge that serve as antecedents to the development of diagnostic competence.

A recipient of numerous awards for his published educational research activities from groups such as the AAMC, AACOM, Decision Sciences Institute and ACEP, Dr. Papa has received funding from organizations including the United States Department of Education and NBOME.

Dr. Papa earned his DO from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and after developing KBIT, formalized his commitment to education and the learning sciences with a PhD in Higher Education/Computer-Based Education and Cognitive Systems from UNT.

His post-doctoral training includes three fellowship programs at the Harvard Macy Foundation.  Dr. Papa maintains a very active educational technologies (KBIT-based) research agenda.