I am very grateful for the EGSA-AÉDÉ Academic Support Grant I received in Fall 2018. The grant helped me attend the 5-day international conference of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based health behavior change counseling model that is used in many languages and countries. I have used MI in a rural family medicine practice. MI is also the main focus of my graduate work in the MEd. Health Professions Education stream.
The conference structure offered many opportunities for learning and networking. I attended interesting workshops about using this model in educational settings, healthcare, counseling, research, and interprofessional education. I especially appreciated workshops that advanced our practice as MI trainers. I was surprised how much I enjoyed and learned in a two-day workshop about assessing practitioners’ use of MI. The instructors created the assessment tool 30 years ago, translated it into French, and modified it through many iterations. They shared a wealth of knowledge about how assessment tools can work and evolve. I was inspired by their creative and engaging teaching strategies for a topic that could have been very dry. Because the organization is a community of practice, I was also able to learn about ways that this kind of learning community can be developed and sustained.
Understanding people’s values and experiences is central to MI; the conference organizers choose locations where we get to have new experiences as a group. Being in the center of the French Quarter in New Orleans on Halloween was a quite an experience! There was music everywhere, lots of costumes, friendly people, interesting and difficult history, great food and opportunities to make real connections with people attending the conference.