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In this edition of Site Specific, Kim Brackley, Lynne Petersen, and Trudi Aspden, an author team of pharmacists and university educators based in Auckland, New Zealand, reflect on the ways that they use Visual Thinking Strategies as a teaching tool to help their learners—hospital pharmacists and pharmacy students—to better provide person-centered healthcare for their patients.

I myself first used VTS as an art museum educator. I was impressed and inspired by how learner-centered the method was. As a facilitator, I learned to set aside my thoughts and background knowledge about works of art to really listen to the K–12 students I worked with, centering them as museum visitors and viewers. In the years since as a VTS Trainer, I have witnessed VTS have the same impact on the teaching practices of so many other professionals in education and the arts as it had on mine. 

I am excited to learn from Kim Brackley, Lynne Petersen, and Trudi Aspden, about the impact that VTS has had on them and on the healthcare professionals they work with, just as it impacts many healthcare professionals worldwide who use VTS in their practice. In their essay, they provide a framework for thinking about the ways that VTS benefits the pharmacy profession, with respect to social-emotional learning. They share powerful quotes from pharmacy students who found that their time having VTS discussions helped them better embrace ambiguity and see multiple perspectives. Furthermore, the adaptations the authors make to the VTS method to best support their learners have implications for VTS practitioners both within and outside the fields of pharmacy and healthcare. I particularly appreciate how they give learners familiar with VTS the agency to choose what images they discuss.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition of Site Specific and learning more about the ripple effect that three VTS practitioners in pharmacy can have on their colleagues, students, and in turn all of their patients.

—Kabir Anderson-Singh

Special thanks to Sara Lasser Yau, peer reviewer for this edition.

Kabir Anderson-Singh (he/him) is an educator and writer based in Los Angeles.

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