Associate Dean Pre-Clinical Education, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Ph.D., George Washington University Medical Center, 1969
Postdoctoral Training, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, 1968-1970
Dr. Whitfield's research interests have been in the areas of regulation of hexose transporters in heart muscle and erythrocytes, and in the molecular basis for hereditary hemolytic anemias. The latter area led to the identification of a lethal defect in synthesis of the a-spectrin protein of the membrane skeleton, as one cause of non-immune hydrops fetalis. Her interest in education has gradually become the main focus of her activities. She has been active in bringing the advantages and techniques of problem-based learning to graduate science education at Penn State, and in encouraging the use of computer-assisted instruction in the College of Medicine.
With a colleague, she undertook the responsibility for creating and designing, implementing and administering a new, problem-based curricular track for years one and two of medical school. This highly successful track was in place from 1992 through 1997, when it was incorporated into a new hybrid curriculum. Dr. Whitfield was part of the Task Force appointed in 1995 to design the new hybrid curriculum, rejoining the two curricular tracks and providing integration of discipline related material and problem-based learning experiences for all medical students.
Her research interests currently are in the effectiveness of various teaching and learning interventions in medical and graduate education.