Medical Education Celebrated on Med Ed Day < Yale School of Medicine

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For the first time in five years, Medical Education Day at Yale (Med Ed Day)—now in its 12th year— was fully in-person. Over 200 Yale School of Medicine (YSM) faculty, staff, students, residents, fellows, and alumni gathered on June 6, along with colleagues from the Yale Schools of Nursing and Public Health, to share best practices and to celebrate trainees and educators and Yale’s excellence and innovation in medical education.

In opening remarks, Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Janet Hafler, EdD, discussed the role of the Center for Medical Education—which organized Med Ed Day—in centralizing educator development, assessment, and educational technology programs across undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education at Yale. On one end of the continuum of learning, Hafler pointed to the new Medical Education Concentration, recently launched for MD and MD-PhD students with a rigorous curriculum. While medical education leadership anticipated about 10 students to sign up, 44 enrolled, which Hafler described as “truly exciting.” Further along the continuum, Hafler referenced the faculty members who would be recognized at the end of Med Ed Day for either completing the Medical Education Fellowship (MEF), or the two-year Master of Health Science-Medical Education track degree program (MHS-Med Ed).

Med Ed Day reflected and celebrated this continuum of learning and development, with presentations and workshops led by a wide range of members of the Yale community. For example, two MD Class of 2025 students, Mitchel Wride and Madisen Swallow, MS, presented on The Effects of Early Exposure to POCUS on Medical Student Career Decisions, while Jessica Illuzzi, MD, MS, deputy dean for education and Harold W. Jockers Professor of Medical Education, and William Rando, PhD, director of pedagogy, led a workshop entitled Engaging Learners in Critical Thinking. Similarly, more than 80 members of the YSM health profession community, at different stages of their education or career, displayed posters highlighting medical education research or innovation in education.

Education Leadership: Milestones to Success

Before Alison Whelan, MD, chief academic officer, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), launched into her formal keynote remarks, she offered an external perspective on medical education at YSM, explaining that in her role she has the opportunity to hear about what different schools are doing. “What has been going on in the last few years at Yale is really awesome,” Whelan said, highlighting the YSM Strategic Plan for Medical Education, something many other schools do not have, and the longitudinal focus on medical education scholarship.

In her keynote presentation, Education Leadership: Milestones to Success, Whelan drew from her own career path experiences in medical education to provide advice to the audience, regardless of their education and/or career stage. She emphasized that people are happiest and most successful when they are doing things that they are good at and like doing. To make her point, she shared that over time, she realized that while she values research and enjoys supporting others doing research and amplifying their work, she does not enjoy doing research herself. Therefore, a medical education leadership role focused on research would not have been a good fit for her; in contrast, a management role where she can help others do what they do well has been the right fit.

Whelan highlighted the wide range of medical education leadership roles that exist—varying by trainee-level and focus— and how these roles differ in how much they draw upon education leadership skills (e.g., leadership, management, curriculum development, assessment, teaching, and education research). She provided practical advice about professional development to fill skill set gaps and encouraged people to systematically document their activities. A central part of her advice was to do a “gut check,” reiterating that people need to ask themselves “is this what I love?”

Whelan also focused on engaging with mentors, coaches, and sponsors (and on serving in those roles for others), noting people love giving advice. She emphasized the importance of having “you supporters”—people who will tell you when an opportunity is a good one for you, and who similarly will ask you, “do you really want to do this,” when something likely is not the right career move.

An audience member asked Whelan how she would advise more junior faculty who tend to love everything. Whelan responded by sharing that early in her career, her chair asked her if she wanted to be a jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none. Whelan then explained that if a person’s goal is to have a leadership role in medical education, they have to stop some other things because it is impossible to do it all. She noted some faculty want to keep doing a bit of everything, and make the decision to do so; while many are happy with their careers, they likely do not have a named leadership role, but that is a trade-off they have chosen.

Celebrating graduates & poster winners

A highlight of Med Ed Day was the graduation of two groups of medical educators who exemplify Whelan’s advice about professional development, mentorship, and doing what one is good at and enjoys. First, 13 faculty received certificates for completing the MEF. (Each of these faculty presented a poster in the poster session that showcased their MEF education project; these projects are focused on enhancing a department’s or the school’s education programs.) This was followed by nine graduates of the MHS-Med Ed program receiving their diplomas. (A 10th graduate of the program was not able to be present.)

The day ended with the announcement of poster award winners, and attendees having the opportunity to view the posters and engage with many of the poster creators during a wine and cheese reception.

Click here for the full Med Ed Day schedule, including a list of all the session topics and presenters.

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