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Local pharmacy professor using improv to help her students communicate

Posted at 6:21 AM, Nov 15, 2019

MEQUON — A local professor is bringing her hobby into the classroom. Anne Graff Ladisa, Associate Professor of Pharmacy at Concordia University, is using her improv skills to teach her students how to be better communicators.

"It allows us to really focus on the communication skills and teamwork skills that are necessary to practice good pharmacy," said Anne Graff Ladisa.

When Graff Ladisa isn't teaching she's making people laugh with her sketch comedy group. She said some of the exercises she brings to her students focus on things like multi-tasking and reading cues.

"I think that's really important recognizing emotion is one of the key steps to being able to be empathetic with our patients and being able to give empathetic responses," said Graff Ladisa.

Graff Ladisa said improv helps with verbal and non-verbal communication.

"We know that garbled communication can sometimes lead to serious medical errors and so we need to be clear and intentional with our communication," said Graff Ladisa.

Students can be skeptical, like Michael Allen.

"At first I didn't really understand how it would apply until we actually had to do it," said Michael Allen.

Now Allen thinks his improv skills will help him be a better pharmacist.

"Active listening, really just paying attention and being able to think on your feet and really trying to keep a conversation going," said Allen.