Dr. Thelma R. Leaffer
Thelma R. Leaffer, Ph.D., MS is Managing Principal of Delta Square
Thelma has more than twenty years of consulting and teaching experience on communication issues in educating health consumers, physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, regulatory agencies, hospitals, medical schools, and pharmaceutical and medical instrumentation companies. For the past 12 years, she has concentrated on applications of digital technology for empowering health consumers and improving patient communication with their doctors and nurses.
Thelma earned a Ph.D. from the New York University School of Education and Nursing Science, an MS degree from Georgetown University, and a BA from The George Washington University. She has completed continuing education certificate programs in cybermedicine and integrative medicine sponsored by The Harvard Medical School. She has lectured in medical and public health programs sponsored by the Georgetown, George Washington University, Tufts University, and University of California medical schools.
She is the author of a number of publications on the education of consumers and health professionals. Several of her articles for consumers on Internet healthcare resources have been published in Spanish. She co-developed with a bilingual physician a pilot online training program for minority high school students enrolled in a health education program in Connecticut. The students were educated on how to help older family members manage diabetes and heart disease.
Since 1994, she has been conducting research and developing and evaluating health consumer training programs on use of the Internet as a tool to empower health consumers. She has served as principal investigator and manager of several programs funded by The National Institutes of Health and The Health Care Financing Administration that instructed older health consumers on skills in searching for credible and beneficial healthcare information on the Internet. In 2000, the Intel Company videotaped one of her Internet healthcare refresher training workshops for seniors conducted in Washington, DC. A segment of this video was shown to 750 health professionals attending Intel’s first conference on the use of the Internet as a tool for empowering health consumers.
Thelma has consulted both The National Institute on Aging and The Food and Drug Administration. She helped plan and manage a national conference sponsored by NIH on the protection of older human subjects in government-sponsored research. In collaboration with two professors at The Yale Medical School, she coauthored a paper on biomedical, psychosocial, and educational vulnerabilities of older patients that should be considered in treating them. In New York, in collaboration with the Chiefs of Medical Education of Booth Memorial Hospital and St. John’s Queens Hospital, she developed and implemented communications training programs for foreign staff doctors. These programs were featured in the media.
She helped evaluate a marketing training program for Merck product managers and developed an approach for enhancing their team problem-solving in marketing innovation. For Nuclear Associates, she co-developed a patient AV on the nuclear medicine exam. She coordinated the development of a curriculum to train nuclear medicine hospital technologists for Technical Education Research Centers (TERC). The curriculum was adopted as a national model. In collaboration with nuclear medicine, scientific, and medical staff at several Harvard teaching hospitals, she conducted research on the projected changes in nuclear medicine instrumentation that would impact the sale of Polaroid film copiers used in diagnostic imaging. She was a development consultant to the MIT Education Research Center (ERC).
For two years, Thelma served as an honorary member of a national task force of experts for the Internet Learning Network of The Council on Competitiveness in Washington, DC. She has been awarded a merit medal by The Military & Hospitalier Order of St. Lazarus for her efforts to heighten public awareness to the problems of the world’s vulnerable elderly. She is a cofounder of The Inventors Association of CT (IACT) and past vice president for publicity. She currently serves as an executive board member.
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