Ed.D. graduate will continue research as visiting scholar for American Board of Family Medicine
- Author: Aurelia Spaulding
- Author: Tuesday, May 7th, 2019
“I've always wanted to go higher academically. The Ed.D. program was a perfect fit,” said Zack Ward of Owensboro, who will graduate Friday with a Doctor of Education degree with an emphasis on Organizational Leadership. His degree comes from the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program in WKU’s College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.
Ward’s research titled Physician Stress: Is the Electronic Health Record to Blame? examined the effects the electronic health record has on Family Medicine physician burnout. “What I found was dissatisfaction with the electronic health record correlated with work related burnout the most of the three domains,” he said. “Essentially, you could infer that the electronic health record does share a relationship with work burnout family medicine physicians are experiencing.”
This research caused director of research for the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), Dr. Lars Peterson, to invite Ward to continue his research, focusing on family medicine physician burnout, as a visiting scholar at the American Board of Family Medicine. Ward said he has worked with the ABFM occasionally since November and will begin the visiting scholar position this summer.
“This opportunity is unique in that they are allowing me to work on a project from a longitudinal perspective, meaning I visit them about twice a month to work on the project,” Ward said.
Ward successfully defended his dissertation on February 26 to his dissertation chair, Dr. Randy Capps, and committee members. He noted the structure of the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program is beneficial to success. Ward pursued his degree while maintaining an active family life and working full-time as a medical education coordinator at Owensboro Health.
“With classes on the weekends, I was able to have a true academic experience while avoiding online classes,” Ward said. “My wife and I were both graduate students at the same time, juggling our jobs, studies and our family. We had our third child while we were both students.”
“Our program was designed with working people in mind. We wanted to attract students who were ‘in the trenches’ so they could bring their day-to-day experiences to the leadership and research concepts we were discussing in class,” said Dr. Tony Norman, director of the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program.
“The challenge became creating a program that did not force students to choose between their work and family life and being fully engaged in our program. I believe our combination of weekend courses, which often include other online interactive elements, have met that challenge,” Norman added.
According to the Educational Leadership Doctoral program website, the “60-credit-hour, year-round Educational Leadership Doctoral Program focuses on meeting the needs of practicing professionals to develop leadership skills in cross-disciplinary settings.” Learn more at www.wku.edu/edd.