#IAMSECafe Archives & COVID-19 Resources for Medical Science Educators

IAMSE Cafe Virtual Sessions

3/31/2020 MedEd Mailbag: The Virtual Teacher with Kelly Quesnelle
4/2/2020 Leading by Example: Practicing Self-care in a Time of Crisis with Adi Haramati
4/7/2020 MedEd Mailbag: Being Productive in Your Own Space with Kelly Quesnelle
4/9/2020 How Re-thinking and Re-designing Anatomy Instruction Into the Online Space Can Lead to Better Classroom and Cadaver Lab Learning Experiences with Jon Wisco
4/14/2020 MedEd Mailbag: Free Resources During COVID-19 with Kelly Quesnelle. Resources discussed and shared during this session can be found below.
4/16/2020 Q&A with the IAMSE President with Neil Osheroff
4/23/2020 IAMSECafe Welcomes Medical Science Educator EIC with Peter de Jong
4/30/2020 MedEd Equity During COVID-19 with Heather Christensen
5/7/2020 COVID-19 and the New Medical School with Amber Heck and Michael Lee
5/14/2020 Evolving Anatomical Education during the COVID pandemic: What will this mean for the future of anatomy teaching? with Jon Wisco, Richard Gonzalez and Lane Fortney
5/21/2020 Faculty Development in the COVID-19 Era with Alice Fornari
5/28/2020 IAMSE Ambassadors – Mexico, China, Caribbean with Raul Barroso, Sateesh Arja and Zhimin Jia
6/11/20 Communities of Practice in a Virtual World with James Pickering
6/25/20 The Future of Medical Education Conferences: What SHOULD it look like? with Bonny Dickinson
7/9/20 Partnering with medical students to discover educational solutions for on-line learning with Emily Bird
7/23/20 The Disappearing Pathology Instructor with Amy Lin and Regina Kreisle
8/13/20 IAMSE Ambassadors – Pakistan, Australia, and Finland with Di Eley and Yawar Hyatt Khan
8/27/20 Mentoring to Make a Difference with Katie Huggett – Literature references can be found here.
9/1/20 Networking 102 – Networking Outside the Box with Kelly Quesnelle
9/15/20 Team-Based Learning in the Virtual Environment with Drs. Raihan Jumat, Irene Lee and Peiyan Wong

Resources for Educators During COVID-19

AAMC COVID-19 Resource Hub
The AAMC continues to monitor guidance from federal, state, and local health agencies as it relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Find information and updates from AAMC on this emerging global health concern.

Acland Anatomy
Acland’s Video Atlas of Human Anatomy contains nearly 330 videos of real human anatomic specimens in their natural colors.

MedEd Portal Virtual Resources
This collection features peer-reviewed teaching resources that can be used for distance learning, including self-directed modules and learning activities that could be converted to virtual interactions. As always, the resources are free to download and free for adaptation to local settings. The collection will be reviewed and updated regularly.

BlueLink Anatomy
From the University of Michigan Medical School

Aquifer is offering free access to 146 Aquifer signature cases, WISE-MD (Surgery), and WISE-OnCall (Readiness for Practice) through June 30, 2020, to all current Aquifer institutional subscribers in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kaplan iHuman
With i-Human Patients, students experience safe, repeatable, fully-graded clinical patient encounters on their devices anywhere, anytime.

Online MedEd
The unprecedented COVID‐19 crisis has upended the medical and medical education landscape. Our aim during this difficult and confusing time is to support you with what we do best—concise, high–yield videos to help you get up to speed efficiently and effectively—so you can feel confident with however you’re being called on to adjust.

ScholarRX Bricks
In response to a request for assistance from a partner medical school impacted by COVID-19, ScholarRx has agreed to make its Rx Bricks program available at no cost to M2 students for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. This comprehensive, online resource can assist schools implementing contingency plans necessitated by the COVID-19 outbreak.

You can raise the line by training healthcare workers who don’t have experience treating COVID-19. Encourage healthcare workers you know to complete this free CME course on COVID-19 so they’re prepared to fight the virus.

Top quality anatomy videos, all for free.

Harvard Macy
Crowdsourced List of Online Teaching Resources Collated by the Harvard Macy Institute (@HarvardMacy)

Anatomy Connected

Chronicle of Higher Education

Dartmouth SOM Interactive Rad/Anatomy

We understand some of the unique challenges you are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a company, are putting together resources to help you keep up with your courses as well as stay up to date with the latest research and evidence-based practices for addressing this new coronavirus.

LWW Health Library

Bates’ Visual Guide

5 Minute Consult
Primary health care is important to everyone, and now more than ever it’s important that you have access to evidence-based diagnostic and treatment content. To help you with caring for all of your patients, we are offering 30-day free access to Use code 5MC30DayAccess73173 to sign up.

Say Hello to Our Featured Member 2019 Annual Meeting Site Host Rick Vari

Our association is a robust and diverse set of educators, researchers, medical professionals, volunteers and academics that come from all walks of life and from around the globe. Each month we choose a member to highlight their academic and professional career and see how they are making the best of their membership in IAMSE. This month’s Featured Member is our 2019 annual meeting site host, IAMSE President Rick Vari.

Rick Vari, PhD
Professor & Senior Dean for Academic Affairs
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
Roanoke, Virginia, USA

Why was the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine the right choice for the 2019 IAMSE meeting?
We are the right choice for the meeting this year because we did a fabulous conference several years ago and we were already in the queue for a future IAMSE meeting. We had some scheduling issues with our original site for 2019 and we were able to step in and fill the void. We have a wonderful hotel site (at the Hotel Roanoke), and the people who came from all across North America for the Collaborating Across Borders V: An American-Canadian Dialogue on Interprofessional Healthcare and Practice, in 2015 really enjoyed it. As a relatively new medical school, we are excited about continuing our growing success in medical education; hosting the IAMSE meeting is a real honor for us.

What opportunities will attendees see in Roanoke that they’ve not seen in years past?
Roanoke is a beautiful city to have a conference. We’ve localized the venue, which is a major goal for IAMSE. Attendees and exhibitors will appreciate the layout of the conference site. We are adjacent to the Roanoke Market Square with restaurants, breweries, and shopping featuring local items. There are just lots of opportunities for networking and entertainment. The program is outstanding with presentations and sessions on current and future challenges facing health sciences educators. International abstract submission is up, so more colleagues from other parts of the world may be attending. Increased student participation will be another highlight. This year, IAMSE is also hosting a Taste of Roanoke Street Fair which will replace the annual gala dinner. IAMSE 2019 is going to be a very easy conference to attend. If you can stay for the Grand Extravaganza on Tuesday afternoon it is going to be very special with a hiking trip to a beautiful location on the Blue Ridge Parkway and a visit to the Ballast Point brewery (East Coast operation) for dinner. 

Can you tell me more about this new event?
We are blocking off the Market Square in downtown Roanoke. We will have tastes of local food, beverages, and music. This is a chance to interact in a casual fun setting with lots of local food and a live band! It’s going to be a lot of fun.

What session or speaker are you most looking forward to this year?
I’m looking forward to, of course, the Board of Directors and Committee Chairs meeting.  I’ve enjoyed being president and interacting with the Board and Committee Chairs in this planning session provides IAMSE with a sense of solid direction.  The plenary sessions also look very strong. I’m interested in the Gen Z session (Generation Z: The New Kids on the Block) and How to Use Disruptive Technology to Make Education Better – Not Just Different.

It sounds likes there is much to look forward to this year. Anything else you’d like to share?
The local response from the other medical schools in the area in support of the IAMSE meeting in Roanoke has been very strong.  As a new school, this is a tremendous opportunity for us and the other medical schools in the area to get better acquainted.

To learn more about the 2019 IAMSE Annual Meeting, including the plenary speakers, workshops and networking opportunities, or to register, please

Reserve your spot before March 15 to ensure the Early Bird Discount!

IAMSE at GRIPE 2019 in New Orleans

The IAMSE booth will be exhibiting at the annual winter meeting of the Group for Research in Pathology Education (GRIPE) in New Orleans, LA on January 24-26, 2019. IAMSE Association Manager Julie Hewett will also be delivering a pre-conference workshop titled, “Using Social Media to Disseminate Your Scholarly Work.” If you plan on attending this meeting, don’t miss this session and do not forget to swing by the IAMSE booth and say hello!

Information on the GRIPE Meeting can be found here. We look forward to seeing you there!

Registration for the 23rd Annual IAMSE Meeting is Now Open!

We are pleased to announce that registration for the 23rd Annual Meeting of IAMSE, to be held June 8-11, 2019 in Roanoke, VA, USA, is now open. At this annual meeting of the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) faculty, staff and students from around the world who are interested in medical science education join together in faculty development and networking opportunities. Sessions on curriculum development, assessment and simulation are among the common topics available at the annual meetings.

Featured plenary speakers include Don Cleveland, Claudia Krebs, Craig Lenz and Geoff Talmon.

Additional meeting details and registration can be found at

IAMSE Fall 2020 WAS Session 3 Highlights

Written by Mark Slivkoff, PhD

Navigating the Effects of COVID-19 on the 20-2021 Residency Application Cycle

Maya M. Hammoud, MD, MBA
Professor of Ob/GYN
University of Michigan

Versha Pleasant, MD, MPH
Fellow, Department of Ob/GYN
University of Michigan

Keli Santos-Parker, PhD
4th Year Medical Student
University of Michigan

In this final presentation of the mini-Fall series, the focus turned towards graduate medical admissions, towards residency applications. All three presenters were from Michigan Medicine, at the University of Michigan.

They discussed the implications of COVID-19 on the residency cycle and outlined some actions applicants and programs can take to mitigate harmful effects.

Dr. Hammoud began the webinar. She first discussed how COVID has affected and will potentially affect the applications, screening, interviews and post-interview processes. The Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) will still be utilized, but the timelines for submission have been altered with applications being accepted by program directors now on October 21.

The number of applications continues to rise as well, which poses additional challenges since applications outnumber residencies. Full applications will still be viewed, but Step 2 scores and/or letters of reference may be absent or delayed. Again, the reduced timeline and increased number of applicants could prove problematic. Program directors are very concerned about not being able to complete holistic reviews of each applicant.

Interviews will be done virtually, which presents more challenges due to technology that has to be learned, and to the lack of face-to-face interaction which makes it very difficult to rank candidates. There is concern that program directors will be more apt to rank their own students higher.

Overall, Dr. Hammoud emphasized that the current pandemic is amplifying problems already inherent in the residency application process. She and others have recently published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which addresses the following proposed changes to the process:

  • Adjust the residency application timeline
  • Modify application requirements
  • Encourage holistic review
  • Limit the number of applications
  • Expand program information available to applicants
  • Improve the quality of information programs receive
  • Temporarily make exceptions to the NRMP all-in policy
  • Cap the number of interviews a student can accept
  • Implement preference-signaling mechanisms

Dr. Hammoud concluded by calling for all interested stakeholders to check out the recent guidelines for their specialties, available via the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC):

Dr. Versha Pleasant continued the webinar with a discussion of virtual experiences and the impact on underrepresented medical students during COVID-19.

She first discussed the American Medical Association’s guidelines regarding underrepresented students and residents during COVID-19. They highlight in their report ( residents-during-covid-19) the following:

  • COVID-19 impacting all areas of society but not equally
  • Additional stressors of structural racism
  • Disruptions from COVID-19 amplify underlying inequalities
  • Responsibility of AMA to advocate for all medical students; reverse the historic active exclusion of racially marginalized groups (specifically Blacks, Latinx, Native Americans)

Some of this education inequity, she continued, involves the shift to virtual platforms which requires access to technology and dedicated spaces. Loss of enrichment opportunities including shadowing, research, and global experiences is also concerning. Furthermore, there are geographical inconsistencies to consider as well, plus limitations in obtaining letters of recommendation and away rotations. She emphasized the potential weathering that takes its toll on underrepresented minorities.

To address these issues, the University of Michigan hosted a workshop in August of this year to highlight their culture. They had a 90-min session dedicated to sharing the culture with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Underrepresented minority (URM) members of departments were represented and experiences were shared. There were about 90 participants with 26 URMs (Black, Latinx, Native American). They plan on following up with a leadership conference.

Dr. Pleasant concluded her portion of her talk by reiterating that the new climate has required us to be flexible and creative, and despite these changes, we must remain committed to diversity and equity.

Dr. Santos-Parker, a current medical student at the University of Michigan who is currently applying to residencies, concluded the webinar with a focus on student perspectives.

Unfortunately for residency applicants this year, he explained, the pandemic has coincided with the normal process and timing of selecting residencies, identifying mentors, and attending conferences.

Dr. Santos-Parker explained the usual stressors of the application process and placed additional emphasis on the challenge in securing away rotations which are used to demonstrate an applicant’s preference for a residency. He spoke of innovations such as virtual events that are helping to fill this component of the application process. Other preference-signaling mechanisms include token systems and limiting the number of applications and interviews, all of which are currently being utilized by applicants.

He spoke of the advantages and disadvantages of virtual interviews. They save cost and time and are convenient, but they are much different than in-person social interaction, make it difficult for applicants to judge the local environment, and set the stage for the applicant and interview inflation.

Dr. Santos-Parker concluded by discussing that, ideally, applicants should apply only to the few programs of interest, but he recognized that there is always the dilemma of playing the odds and applying broadly. He noted that if everyone applies broadly, holistic review diminishes. He urged all applicants to apply intentionally, communicate with mentors, and promptly decline interview offers if not interested.

IAMSE Fall 2020 WAS Session 2 Highlights

Written by Mark Slivkoff, PhD

PA and PT Admissions in the Time of COVID-19: A Panel Discussion


Erika Brooks
Manager, Application Services
Physician Assistant Education Association

Thomas O’Shea, PhD, MEd
Director of Administration and Student Services
University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
Physician Assistant Graduate Program

Jeremy Turkall, MS
Academic Services Administrator – Admissions, Alumni, and Community Engagement
University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine
School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences

Ms. Brooks began the webinar. She discussed how her national organization, the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), is supporting its members during the pandemic. Specifically, she explained that the PAEA is providing members with resources to adapt to the admissions process and maintain its integrity, and creating awareness about implicit bias in the admissions process.

The PAEA has helped schools transition to new virtual environments by hosting virtual fairs for campus visits, managing the integrity of the interviews and the application process, and providing resources for matriculants to help create a sense of belonging. As the organization behind CASPA, the Centralized Application Service to Physician Assistants, Ms. Brooks went on to explain how this process has also morphed. There is now a COVID-19 impact essay requirement, and an allowance for unofficial transcripts from applicants running into difficulty getting official transcripts from academic institutions.

The PAEA has been actively surveying its member schools since the pandemic began. They have found that 74% have eliminated in-person interviews, 64% are offering virtual tours, and 27% are paying particular attention to the impact essay. Approximately 13% of programs have not made any changes at all to their admissions process.

The webinar was passed over to Dr. O’Shea of the University of Iowa Physician Assistant Graduate Program. He addressed how the admissions process of this program was specifically altered during the pandemic. Dr. O’Shea first discussed the mission of the University of Iowa’s PA program, then summarized the admission and interview criteria before and after COVID-19.

He described the program’s Pre-COVID interview process which is a two-day experience for applicants. When the pandemic surfaced, the admissions committee pondered questions related to academic issues such as GPA requirements, acceptance of pass/fail courses and of online coursework, GRE requirements and recommendation letters. There were concerns about applicants not obtaining the required 1000 hours of volunteer work, and about the online process of submitting their applications through CASPA. Virtual interviews were also concerning.

The final question which Dr. O’Shea presented was, with all concerns addressed, “Does anything really need to change?” The answer was “no”, but they did change some of the variables for admission. These included allowing courses that were graded pass/fail to be counted towards requirements, allowing GRE scores to be self-reported, and lowering the number of volunteer healthcare hours from 1000 to 500. The school did move interviews to Zoom (virtual), but they remained two-day events.

To conclude the panel discussion, Jeremy Turkall of the University of Florida Morsani discussed the updates and changes to the DPT program at his school.

He first began with describing the changes related to PTCAS, the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service. These changes included launching the application service three weeks earlier to allow applicants more time to prepare, and increasing the number of maximum recommendation letters from 4 to 5 in order to capture additional insight from individuals who know the applicants. Similar to CASPA, a COVID-19 impact question was also added to the application (although this was optional).

At the University of South Florida, Mr. Turkall explained that they accepted pass/fail courses and waived the requirement for observation hours and for two letters of recommendation from licensed physical therapists. They also accepted online courses, but still required the GRE with scores due by November. Interviews were not affected since the school does not carry out interviews as part of the application process.

IAMSE Fall 2020 WAS Session 1 Highlights

Written by Mark Slivkoff, PhD

Medical School Admissions in the Time of COVID-19: Maintaining the Integrity of Holistic Review

Christina J. Grabowski, PhD, MSA
Associate Dean for Admissions and Enrollment Management
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine

Leila E. Harrison, PhD, MA, MED
Senior Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs
Washington State University Elson L. Floyd College of Medicine

This presentation by Drs. Grabowski and Harrison was the first of three webinars in IAMSE’s abbreviated Fall webinar series on admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They began by detailing the impact of COVID-19 on medical school applicants whose premedical experiences were altered when the pandemic began back in March 2020. Lectures and labs were transitioned from in-person to remote environments, access to medically-related experiences was restricted, and there were delays and cancellations of the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). In addition to its effects on academics, the pandemic also impacted the personal lives of applicants. Many suffered job (and health insurance) losses, decreased health and wellness, and forced moves and relocation due to university closures.

Schools had to consider these impacts when preparing for upcoming interviews. Similar to courses, interviews were also transitioned to virtual processes since students could not travel, and the health and safety of everyone involved took priority. Interview day events had to be restructured using new tools and technology, and virtual tours and videos had to be produced in order to showcase campuses. These changes required additional training of interviewers and everyone involved with the admissions process.

Every student has been impacted by the pandemic, but students from disadvantaged and marginalized populations have been subjected to additional challenges, as Dr. Grabowski explained. Many students do not have access to technology and fast internet connections, nor do they have access to a private space in their homes to study or interview. She also addressed concerns that the virtual environment has led to a loss of accommodations for disabilities. Masks, for example, make it impossible for the hearing impaired to read lips.

Mitigating these unintended consequences on applicants and school employees has involved changes to the application and screening processes, and committee and interview training. As Dr. Harrison explained, secondary applications now include a separate essay which addresses impacts of the pandemic which allows applicants to share their experiences, and further allows reviewers to gain further insight into applicants. She also delved a bit deeper into the training of interviewers and focused on the importance of not biasing applicants based on where they are interviewing (in their cars, for example) or what they are wearing during the interviews. Better communication with applicants and pre-health advisors has also been implemented with the goal of alleviating anxieties and remaining as transparent as possible during the admissions cycle.

Dr. Grawbowski continued the discussion by pointing out the importance of doing a more holistic review of applicants, of a more individualized consideration of experiences, attributes, and metrics in the context of the applicant’s lived experience. She emphasized the benefits of focussing more on competencies rather than on the time and duration of experiences.

She closed the session by pointing out the positive side, the opportunities which have been highlighted during the pandemic including:

  • Applicants may reveal attributes such as resilience and adaptability
  • Reduced expenses/burden for travel
  • Cost savings for schools (travel, events)
  • Heightened awareness of bias, impact on disadvantaged or marginalized populations
  • Use of new technologies
  • Engage stakeholders from remote campuses/locations in the process
  • Creative thinking on how we do what we do

Say hello to our featured member Helena Carvahlo

Helena Carvahlo

Helena Carvalho, PhD
Associate Professor
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Our association is a robust and diverse set of educators, researchers, medical professionals, volunteers and academics that come from all walks of life and from around the globe. Each month we choose a member to highlight their academic and professional career, and see how they are making the best of their membership in IAMSE. This month’s Featured Member is IAMSE member Helena Carvahlo, PhD.

How long have you been a member of IAMSE?
Since 2010, when I started working at VTCSOM and shifted my focus to medical education.

Looking at your time with the Association, what have you most enjoyed doing? What are you looking forward to?
Since I became a member, I have been attending and presenting education research at IAMSE annually, but when I was part of the planning committee for the IAMSE 2018 and 2019, I learned some of the work that happens in the background. I really enjoyed being a part of the planning committee team. Since then I have continued to be more involved with the Association including attending IAMSE café, webinars and other online sessions.

I am always looking forward to the annual meetings where many interesting people share their expertise. Several times I felt ‘illuminated’ after the main talks at IAMSE. The speakers are well informed and really interested in education. Also, I appreciate the opportunity to present at focus sessions, posters and to be able to network with other educators that share the same passion for education.

What interesting things are you working on outside the Association right now?
I am really interested in innovative teaching methodologies. Since I reinvented myself changing from basic science research to full-time educator, I’ve wanted to make a difference in the students’ learning experience. For a decade I have been developing alternative and effective teaching strategies on my teaching using dramatizations and manipulatives. Some of the successes and challenges for these innovative teaching methods have been published and more are on the way for submission. At the last IAMSE meeting in Roanoke, I presented one of my favorite original teaching strategies during which participants in the Focus Session acted out roles in a Dramatization of the Cardiac Cycle. It was fun and really well received. Another line of research I am interested in is the correlation of what faculty think about teaching and how it reflects on how they teach and the teaching methodologies they use. The manuscript is going to be submitted to Medical Science Educator.

What positive changes have you implemented in your classes post-COVID?
Teaching via Zoom has proved to be a surprisingly interesting and rewarding experience. Originally I was completely against teaching online, but the sudden change from in-person to virtual was not a problem at all. I was going to facilitate PBL when the coronavirus outbreak was still mostly in Asia, and I saw that it was spreading and potentially coming to the US. It worried me as I was about to be in a small room with 7 students for 10 hours a week. The pandemic was announced on a Thursday and the following Monday we started PBL via zoom. I was happily surprised at how well it worked. I missed meeting the students in person but we still connected well and the quality of their education was maintained. Another great experience was teaching in the Ph.D. program using Zoom break-out rooms. It is good to see everybody’s faces and stimulate their participation in the session. In summary, I feel very lucky to be teaching in a school that gives such great technical support and to have so many really engaged students.

Anything else that you would like to add?
I am involved in a project in Brazil, my home country, with COVID-19 where we are working on a platform called “Ciente” (“Aware” in English) that centralizes personal health data and adaptations to be used in the pandemic. I also volunteer in the community. I teach Physiology to middle and high school students and volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corps helping translate instructions into Portuguese and Spanish to individuals at testing sites. Finally, another very interesting and important way I use my time is being part of a VTCSOM Task Force to deal with inequality and racial disparity. It is a great opportunity for me to make a meaningful contribution.

It is very stimulating to receive this recognition from IAMSE. It shows me that the work I love is valued by this society as it has been by other societies such as the American Physiological Society that prompted a visit to Senator Mark Warner’s office due to a teaching award I received.

IAMSE Admin Offices Closed for Labor Day

In observance of the Labor Day holiday, the IAMSE Administrative offices will be closed on Monday, September 7, 2020. We will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

Turkall, Brooks & O’Shea to Present “PA and PT Admissions in the Time of COVID-19”

The 2020 IAMSE Fall Webcast Audio Seminar Mini-Series is off to a great start. The next session will begin next Thursday, September 10 at 12pm Eastern. Experts and thought leaders will discuss how different health professions programs will make informed decisions about whom to admit in the face of the challenges brought on by SARS-CoV-2. Our second session in this three-part series will feature Jeremy Turkall from the University of South Florida, Erika Brooks from PAEA and Thomas O’Shea from the University of Iowa.

Click here for information on the fall mini-series

Jeremy Turkall, Erika Brooks and Thomas O’Shea

PA and PT Admissions in the Time of COVID-19:  A Panel Discussion 
Presenters: Jeremy Turkall, MS; Erika Brooks, CSPO  and Thomas O’Shea, PhD, MEd
Session: September 10, 2020 at 12pm Eastern Time

PT – This session will cover the changes to Physical Therapy Centralized Application System (PTCAS) and Physical Therapy Admissions due to COVID-19, and also updates made to better accommodate prospective students and DPT programs.

PA – The global COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the daily lives of individuals across the globe. One area that has been greatly affected has been the healthcare industry. As Physician Assistant (PA) Programs across the country begin to recruit, assess and select individuals to start in their PA Programs since COVID-19, it is important to realize that the “academic landscape” has changed. Come learn about how the University of Iowa PA Program has repurposed their recruitment, assessment and selection process for applicants since the global pandemic.

Register your institution here

Register yourself here

Have an Announcement? Share it in Medical Science Educator!

In every issue of Medical Science Educator, we publish an announcements section. In this section, we share information that is of interest to the readership of the journal. Individual IAMSE members wishing to post medical education related announcements in the Journal are invited to send their requests to the Editorial Assistant at Announcements may be IAMSE-related, announcements from other medical education organizations, medical education conference information or international issues affecting medical education. Announcements will be published at the Editor’s discretion.

Deadline for inclusion in the next issue: October 5, 2020

Thank you,
Peter GM de Jong, PhD

IAMSE Spring 2020 WAS Session 5 Highlights

[The following notes were generated by Rebecca Rowe, PhD.]

IAMSE Webinar Series, Spring 2020

Speakers: Jed Gonzalo, MD MSc, Penn State College of Medicine and Stephanie Starr, MD, Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine
Title: “Health Systems Science is the Broccoli of US Medical Education: Tackling the Key Challenges of Implementation”
Series: Evolution and Revolution in Medical Education: Health Systems Sciences


  • Describe the phases of implementation of HSS in US medical schools
  • Identify the “TOP 7” – selected key challenges to HSS education
  • Explore three vignettes related to HSS education in US medical schools, with articulation of potential solutions or “take-aways”
  • Commit to one action to address challenges at your school

The Phases of Change: Where is your Medical School?

  • Exploration Phase – Just beginning to think about HSS
  • Decision and Planning Phase – Have decided to incorporate HSS and are now in the planning phase.
  • Implementation Phase – We launched! Now What?
  • Maintenance and Continuous Improvement Phase – Have been doing this for a while but are still experiences challenges that exist along the continuum.

The “TOP” 7 Challenge Areas for HSS Education (There are many more but these are the top challenges across some of the phases.

Issue 1: The Nomenclature and Language

  • The evidence around any one of the 12 different areas of HSS have been around for decades, for example Patient Safety has been around for decades, Quality Improvement has been around for decades as well.
  • With this said, the last 7 years have seen all of these areas coalescing into 1 strategic and comprehensive framework.
  • The definition that we typically assign to HSS includes “The methods, the processes and the principals involved with improving outcomes, the quality and cost of care of patients of populations within a larger context of systems of care.”
  • The nomenclature issues involves some schools stating they may integrate the Social determinants of health or quality care, but these are only two components of HSS. In order to fully integrate HSS in to medical education all 12 components must be integrated.
  • This led to a study (Gonzalo, et. al. HSS in Med Ed: Unifying the Components to Catalyze Transformation. Acad Med, 2020) that mapped the 12 different areas of HSS with the different resources, expectancies, competencies, curriculum recommendations that exists and milestones that are used in medical education, that would show and demonstrate the areas of overlap and where there may be gaps across the different components of HSS.
  • HSS is not equivalent to some of the finite pieces but is more comprehensive framework balancing all 3 pillars of medical education.

Issue 2: Curriculum Timing, Sequence, Integration

  • Includes the total footprint of incorporating HSS
  • Lack of consensus of HSS competencies (pieces in AAMC core EPAs, LCME, DC)
  • Curriculomegaly – where can we find more space to add content?
  • Drip vs bolus method— Drip method where add in several HSS topics into the preexisting system blocks with the basic and clinical sciences. Bolus method have several stand-alone intensive 2 week courses
  • Development sequence – what is the right order of business for folks to learn these topics?
  • Integrating well with the basic and clinical sciences. Want the students to experience a seamless three science strands across all four years. To be able to do this is a challenge!

Issue 3: Student Perceptions

Adding HSS into existing curricular is not an easy thing to do, especially in the area of student perceptions and student engagement.  In a study that was done prior to implementing HSS into the curriculum to determine the pedagogical challenges, which are the issues that need to be identified before starting the work of adding HSS to make sure you are able to overcome these issues in order to have everyone engaged in your educational program.

Current medical student priorities (includes two pillars of medical science, basic and clinical science) vs alternative medical students priorities that includes the HSS along with basic and clinical sciences.

Current Medical Student                                           Alternative Medical Student

Best Residency Program                                             Best Doctor Possible

Grades and Board Exams        ←AT ODDS→            Patient-Centered Skills

Basic and Clinical Science Courses                            Balance of Basic, Clinical and HSS

  • Look at student perceptions of the two-pillar model to medical education to the three pillar approach to medical education. And these two areas are at ODDS.
  • In another study (Gonzalo, JD, et. al. Unpacking Medical Students’ Mixed Engagement in HSS. Teach Learn Med, 2019), where a qualitative analysis was done from all of their students’ comments at the end of sessions and courses. These are the themes that emerged:

Issue 4: Faculty Role Modeling and Skills

Comes from the study (Gonzalo, Concerns and Recommendations for Integrating HSS into Medical Student Education, Acad Med, 2017) that looked at faculty comments and issues shown below:

Importance of Learning HSS

  1. “If medical education isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”
  2. “HSS is too complex and best learned in residency or practice.”
  3. “Early students do not have skills to contribute to health care, and the value added roles already exist.” The roles of medical education is not for the future. The roles of medical education is now and can make a difference today!
  4. “Health Systems Science is not yet a true science.”  All of the components of HSS have been around for a while. What is new is bringing them all together in a comprehensive framework. Basic and Clinical Sciences are not enough.

Practical Concerns

  1. “There is limited space in an already packed curriculum.” Most of HSS may be already present in our curriculum. It just needs to be relabeled.
  2. “Few faculty have the knowledge and skills to teach HSS.”
  3. “Accreditation agencies and licensing boards do not support medical education transformation.”
  4. “Evolving health systems are not ready to partner with schools with HSS curricula.”
  • May be that some of our pre-clinical and clinical faculty are already teaching components of HSS but the topics are not labeled as such.
  • May need to develop new educator roles for HSS as documented in the paper by Gonzalo, et. al. New Educator Roles for HSS: Implications for US Medical School Faculty: Acad Med, 2019, where three new or reimagined types of educator roles in HSS were discussed. These are:
  1. Classroom or Zoom Instructors
  2. Clinical Supervisors or Educators
  3. Curriculum leader/evaluator
  4. Mentor/advisor (projects, scholarship, career path)

In Summary:

  • “New” educators are here.
  • Need to advance skills based on education science with attention to learning environments (classroom, online or clinical learning environments).
  • Need to acknowledge and reward these roles and work on faculty development.

Issue 5: Assessment of Learners

How do you assess? This is not always an easy thing to do. Start by looking at Miller’s pyramid.

  • Learner triangle has four components at the base are cognition and at the top or apex is behavior.
  • Base of the triangle is KNOWS: Fact Gathering
  • Next level is KNOWS HOW: Interpretation/Application
  • These two areas make up ~ 80% of where medical students are.
  • Third level is SHOWS: Demonstration of Learning
  • Top level or apex is DOES: Performance Integrated into Practice
  • Top two levels is where 20% of medical students are.
  • The bottom two levels make up the Cognition portion of the triangle and the top two levels make up the Behavior portion of the triangle.
  • The percentages are the opinion of Dr. Gonzalo.

Where does HSS appear on the USMLE Board Examinations?

  1. Behavioral Health
    • Patient Adherence
  1. Epidemiology/Population Health
    • Epidemiology/population health
  1. Social Sciences
    • Communication/cultural competence
    • Death/dying and palliative care
  1. Systems-Based Practice
    • Complexity/systems thinking
    • Quality improvement
    • Patient safety
    • Health care policy and economics

Content Analysis of HSS Content on NBME USMLE Examinations: (Please note most of this data is anecdotal and should not be quoted!)

  • Before 2020 ~7%
  • After 2020 estimated that Step 1 and Step 2 would include more HSS ~10-15%
  • It is possible that Step 3 could contain as much as 20%.
  • What this is showing is HSS is appearing on the Board Exams more frequently.

Issue 6: Clinical Learning Environment

“The learning environment refers to the social interactions, organizational culture and structures, and physical and virtual spaces that surround and shape the learners’ experiences, perceptions, and learning.” (Macy Foundation Conference on the Clinical Learning Environment (Gruppen, Irby, Durning, Maggio, van Schaik)

  • Closer gradient of HSS concept knowledge, skills between faculty and learners. Therefore, the students are teaching the faculty, as well as, faculty teaching students
  • Practice and education silos
  • Practice pressures
  • Faculty development
  • Insufficient UME structures, processes to ensure reliable ongoing horizontal and vertical integration of HSS

Issue 7: Program Evaluation

This is looking beyond level of the individual learner, but from also the programmatic standpoint.

  • Level 1 Reaction: Satisfaction Engagement Relevance (Surveys and Course Evaluations)
  • Level 2 Learning: Knowledge, Skills, Attitude Confidence Commitment (NBME HSS Exam Grad. Questionnaire)
  • Level 3 Behavior: Application Drivers (Course Assessment, Clinical Assessment, AMA-GME Milestones)
  • Level 4 Results: Outcomes Indicators (Patient Outcomes Big Data)

Completed the TOP 7 areas of challenges of the different phases of where institutions might be!

At the end of the Webinar, the speakers took us through a few vignettes from institutions at various stages of bringing HSS into their curriculum that reached out to them for consultation. The title of the vignettes and the specific phase of change are:

Vignette 1: “We’re Thinking about HSS!” – Exploration Phase
Vignette 2: “Our Student Satisfaction Scores are So Low!” – Implementation Phase
Vignette 3: “How Do We Integrate with Our Health System?” – Implementation Phase

Please refer to the archive to listen to the discussion of these vignettes about these implementation challenges.

Lastly, HSS is not just an education framework. It is actually a framework that unifies all health care.

IAMSE to Present at AMEE 2020: The Virtual Conference

AMEE 2020: The Virtual Conference will be taking place around the globe from September 7 – 9. The IAMSE virtual exhibit booth will be present at the conference exhibit, so if you plan on attending this meeting, do not forget to swing by and say hello!
IAMSE members will also be presenting a Round Table discussion session titled, “New Directions in Health Sciences Education” on Tuesday, September 8 at 4:45pm BST/11:45am ET. Presented by Peter de Jong (Moderator, the Netherlands), Cortny Williams (USA), Kelly Quesnelle (USA), and Emily Bird (USA) this session will highlight a few current developments in health sciences education with a specific focus on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing new and innovative ways for curriculum delivery. If you are at the meeting you are invited to join the session.

For more information on the AMEE conference, please click here.

We look forward to seeing you there!

IAMSE Fall 2020 Webinar Series Session 1 with Christina Grabowski and Leila Harrison

Christina Grabowski and Leila Harrison to Present “Medical School Admissions in the Time of COVID-19”

The 2020 IAMSE Fall Webcast Audio Seminar Mini-Series will begin next Thursday, September 3 at 12pm Eastern! Experts and thought leaders will discuss how different health professions programs will make informed decisions about whom to admit in the face of the challenges brought on by SARS-CoV-2. Our first session in the series will feature Christina Grabowski from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and Leila Harrison from Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

Click here for more information about the Fall 2020 Mini-Series!

Christina Grabowski and Leila Harrison

Medical School Admissions in the Time of COVID-19: Maintaining the Integrity of Holistic Review 
Presenters: Christina Grabowski, PhD and Leila Harrison, PhD
Session: September 3, 2020 at 12pm Eastern Time

The COVID pandemic is not only impacting educational delivery, it is also impacting how we select future physicians. This webinar will include an overview of changes to medical school application screening and interview processes. Social distancing and safety concerns are pushing interviews to virtual forums which accommodates changing economic circumstances of applicants, while also highlighting concerns about disparities in access to needed technology and interview-ready environments. Presenters will discuss unique considerations along with potential unintended consequences on holistic review and, therefore, diversity in the physician workforce.

Click here to register your institution

Click here to register yourself

APMEC 2021 Registration Now Open!

As a participating partner, IAMSE is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 2021 Asia Pacific Medical Education Conference (APMEC) to be held January 22 – 24, 2021. The meeting will be conducted online. The theme of next year’s meeting is “Continuing Medical Education: Building Resilience in Challenging Times – Trends ● Issues ● Priorities ● Strategies (TIPS).”

More information regarding the meeting can be found here.

The conference focus will be to explore and share expertise on how best to develop a holistic healthcare practitioner who will be able to effectively and efficiently manage future practice challenges during challenging times. The conference tracks and interprofessional activities to cover undergraduate, residency and specialty training and Continuous Professional Development.

Early bird registration ends September 30. Reserve your spot today!

To read the full flyer click here.

Last Call – #IAMSE21 Call for Focus Sessions – Due September 1

Time is still available to submit a focus session abstract for the 25th Annual IAMSE Conference to be held at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa from June 12-15, 2021. The IAMSE meeting offers opportunities for faculty development and networking, bringing together medical sciences and medical education across the continuum of health care education.

Submit now

All abstracts must be submitted in the format requested through the online abstract submission site found here.

The submission deadline is September 1, 2020. Abstract acceptance notifications will be returned by November 1.

Please contact for any questions about your submission.

We hope to see you next year!