#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
10/6/20 Technology and Education with Edgar Herrera Bastida
10/20/20 The future of education programs for residents and medical students with Lourdes Lopez
11/3/20 Teaching Race and Medicine: Unlearning what we think we know with Staci Leisman
Links from the conversation during this session can be found here.
11/17/20 Learning During and From a Crisis: The Student-Led Development of an online COVID-19 Curriculum with Abby Schiff and Katie Shaffer
Links from the conversation during this session can be found below.
12/1/20 Resiliency with the IAMSE Cafe hosts.
12/15/20 Unconventional Teaching Methods with Jon Wisco
1/5/21 Best Practices for Mentoring with an Eye and Ear Toward Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice with Heather Christensen

Resources for Educators During COVID-19

Harvard Medical School Medical Student COVID-19 Curriculum
One of the greatest difficulties facing everyone nowadays is a lack of clarity about what is going on and what lies ahead. We students especially feel a need to deepen our knowledge of the situation, as we are often viewed as resources by our friends and family. However, it soon became clear how challenging it was to process the wealth of information coming our way. A team of us at Harvard Medical School set out to quickly collate and synthesize accurate information about the pandemic to share with those who do not have the time or resources to research it themselves.
Additional resources include: Curriculum for Kids, an article written by the team discussing the curriculum and an opportunity to give direct feedback to the developers.

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 Winter 2021 WAS Session 2 Highlights

[The following notes were generated by Andrea Belovich, PhD.]

The second installment of the Winter 2021 IAMSE Web Seminar Series, “USMLE Step-1 is Going to Pass/Fail, Now what do we do?”, was presented on January 14th, 2021 by Dr. Douglas Gould, Professor and Chair of the Department of Foundational Medical Studies at the Oakland University William Beaumont (OUWB) School of Medicine. In his webinar, entitled “Pass/Fail Step 1: Implications for a Foundational Sciences Department” Dr. Gould provided an overview of how the transition of the USMLE Step 1 scoring to pass/fail (P/F) may impact biomedical/foundational sciences departments across medical schools. Throughout his presentation, he incorporated audience polling questions, enabling participants to interact in real-time.

Dr. Gould began by introducing the changes in USMLE Step 1 scoring and a poll question gauging the audience’s familiarity with the topic. Based on the response, Dr. Gould provided an abridged review of the USMLE Step exam sequence and the recommendations made by the AAMC, AMA, ECFMG, FSMB, and NBME’s Invitational Conference on USMLE Scoring (InCUS) conference in March, 2019. As recommended by the InCUS, the transition of USMLE Step 1 to P/F scoring will be implemented beginning in January, 2022, with no numeric score reported. The content of USMLE Step 1 will remain unchanged, as it will continue to focus on foundational sciences including Anatomy, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pharmacology, and Physiology. USMLE Step 2 CS will remain P/F, although it may continue to be suspended due to COVID-19, as it involves in-person interaction with Standardized Patients, and USMLE Step 2 CK and 3 will remain numerically scored.

Dr. Gould provided an overview of the anticipated impacts of the transition of the USMLE Step 1 to P/F scoring. He addressed how the loss of the numeric score eliminates a valuable tool for residency program directors to screen and filter applicants and suggested the possibility that the transition may disadvantage students from newer or less-well known medical schools. This could possibly amplify disparities for underrepresented minorities, women, and international students if they lack equitable access to the subjective components of residency applications. Later in the webinar, he would mention the likelihood for increased pressure on students to attend more prestigious medical schools and apply to greater number of residencies, both of which would contribute to increased student debt.

Next, he focused on what residency program directors may use to replace the Step 1 numeric scores in screening applications and how preclinical curricula may be generally impacted. Citing the 2018 Program Director survey results from the National Resident Matching Program, Dr. Gould identified the following top-seven criteria used to rank residency applications (in order of decreasing importance): Step 1 score, Letters of Reference, MSPE, Step 2 (CK) score, Personal Statement, Grades in required clerkships, and Failed USMLE attempts. Other factors emphasized included AOA membership (#14), ‘other’ life experience (#16), Step 2 (CS) score (#17), and finally, Involvement in Research (#26) [1]. Dr. Gould then mapped the results from a poll question administered during the previous week’s webinar asking webinar participants which factors they themselves would consider most likely to be relied upon to screen residency applications in the absence of a Step 1 numeric score. The audience results indicated the top three factors to be 1) Step 2 (CK) score, 2) Grades in required clerkships, and 3) Letters of Reference. Dr. Gould suggested that these IAMSE webinar audience response results underscore the variation and unpredictability of which factors may become most important going forward, emphasizing the need for the flexibility of medical schools as they adjust to the Step 1 P/F change. With these results in mind, Dr. Gould discussed the potential for preclinical, foundational sciences curricula to transition to P/F as well, and may experience reorientation towards preparing students for Step 2 CK, as this exam will still be assessed with a numeric score. In short, Dr. Gould anticipates further de-emphasis on basic science education going forward.

Importantly, an expose of the process of holistic review of the residency application dossier revealed opportunities for biomedical/foundational sciences to promote strong applications by providing students with research activities. Dr. Gould then presented the mission statement of his home institution, OUWB, and showcased their Department of Foundational Medical Studies (FMS), which encompasses approximately 40 faculty members, including those in basic science and medical education, medical humanities, community/public health, traditional (bench) researchers and medical librarians. As part of the department’s approach to research activities, he discussed their longitudinal, 4-year required research program (Embark). Students are paired with mentors and receive training across multiple domains of the research design and implementation process, including navigating IRB requirements, presentation skills, abstract writing, and paper publication. Dr. Gould noted the possibility of using the outcomes of student research activities as quantifiable metrics for residency application, which will favor the development of research programs.

Finally, Dr. Gould described the COVID-19 pandemic as a significant catalyst for the changes medical education has already been experiencing recently. This includes an increase in medical school and residency applications, which have not been accompanied by an increase in federally-funded residency programs. While not necessarily a novel trend, this does contribute to application inflation and makes holistic review more challenging. Other significant changes include the transition of USMLE Step 2 CS to a virtual format, along with a vast majority of medical education. COVID-19 has also forced a more rapid acceleration in the digitization of teaching materials across the literature. He highlighted factors that contributed to his FMS department’s adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic, crediting the department’s collaborative nature as well as the presence of faculty already devoted to medical education in mounting a rapid and effective response to the unforeseen changes. A robust faculty development program also enabled a quick transition to online learning and asynchronous education, while promoting evaluation of effectiveness.

While the number of traditionally-structured foundational sciences departments has been decreasing over the last two decades, Dr. Gould suggested this may be due to department name changes and combination of disciplines into single departments. In fact, according to the AAMC, overall numbers of basic/foundational science departments have increased 33% over the last five years, and the number of foundational science faculty has increased from 14,047 in 1998 to 18601 in 2018, with 21% of medical school faculty holding a PhD as of 2018 [2]. As continued changes to medical education are inevitable, Dr. Gould strongly promoted the increase and development of dedicated foundational science medical education faculty, who are invested in maintaining and innovating effective education in the face of unforeseen events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition of the USMLE Step 1 to P/F.


1. National Resident Matching Program. Program Director Survey Results. 2018.
2. Association of American Medical Colleges. 2018 US Medical School Faculty Report.

Say hello to our featured member Nehad El-Sawi

Dr. Nehad El-Sawi

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 charter member Nehad El-Sawi, PhD.

Nehad El-Sawi, PhD
Assistant Provost for Educational Innovation and Enhancement
Des Moines University Medicine & Health Sciences

How long have you been a member of IAMSE? 
I’m a charter member and have been involved with IAMSE since 1992.

Looking at your time with the Association, what have you most enjoyed doing? What are you looking forward to? Committee involvement, conference attendance, WAS series, manuals, etc.?
I have and continue to serve IAMSE in various capacities and roles including chairing the WAS Committee for seven years; publishing as a lead author a collaborative research manuscript in the Medical Science Educator about Utilization and Perceived Effectiveness of a Web-based Faculty Development Seminar for International Medical Science Educators; serving twice on the Board of Directors (1994-1996 and 1998 – 2001); chairing the conference program committee twice (2005 in Los Angeles, CA and 2012 in Portland, Oregon);  and I’ve also served on several other annual conference programs, site selection and nominations committees. 

Currently, I’m a member of the WAS committee; and the 2021 annual conference program committee. I mostly enjoy the brainstorming, collegial collaborative nature of those opportunities and connecting with colleagues at the annual meetings.

It’s a great joy to watch and be part of the IAMSE evolution from a special interest group to a world-class, robust and vibrant education organization and look forward to what is yet to come.

What interesting things are you working on outside the Association right now? Research, presentations, etc.
My current research projects focus on creating innovative faculty development approaches for preceptors in a distributed clinical teaching curricular model, simulation educators, as well as onboarding new faculty. 

I was recently invited to speak at the “First International Symposium in Health Educational Technologies” on November 27, 2020, hosted by Unichristus Centro Universitarioo Christus, Brazil.

How have your years with IAMSE impacted your teaching? 
I have been actively engaged in teaching medical students for more than 20 years and IAMSE influenced my educator development at the level of teaching fundamental content knowledge within my discipline (microbiology) to the bigger picture of medical education. Active teaching/learning methodologies, pedagogy, formative/summative assessment, integration, curriculum reform, change cultures, immunity to change, leadership and many other related topics have been presented and discussed with colleagues. They enhanced my teaching, expanded it beyond my discrete discipline and assisted with leading a range of education ventures including curriculum development, simulation centers and libraries at both established and new medical schools.

IAMSE is a very core and essential part of my past and continued professional development. Every time I am in the presence of other IAMSE colleagues I am blessed and privileged to continue learning.

Anything else that you would like to add?
I am very grateful that my IAMSE network circle of professional colleagues also created a circle of personal friends. My kids (now a physician and cybersecurity analyst) grew up in IAMSE and have fond memories of the annual meetings and still enjoy seeing people they know when they occasionally attend a meeting.

Jonathan Amiel to Present “USMLE Step 1 P/F: A UME Curriculum Dean’s Perspective”

The 2021 IAMSE Winter Webcast Audio Seminar Series is underway! In this five-part series, recognized experts from various stakeholder groups will present and discuss the impact of the decision to make Step 1 P/F, identify challenges to their respective programs and explore creative ways to address the consequences of this important medical education milestone. Our third session in the series will feature Jonathan Amiel from Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons.

Jonathan Amiel

USMLE Step 1 P/F: A UME Curriculum Dean’s Perspective 
Presenter: Jonathan Amiel, MD
Session: January 21, 2021 at 12pm Eastern Time

This session will review the anticipated impact of the shift of USMLE Step 1 on the undergraduate medical education curriculum and on medical students’ experience of the residency application process.

IAMSE Winter 2021 WAS Session 1 Highlights

[The following notes were generated by Andrea Belovich, PhD.]

The opening seminar for the Winter 2021 IAMSE Web Seminar Series, “USMLE Step-1 is Going to Pass/Fail, Now what do we do?” was co-presented on January 7th, 2021 by Dr. Mark L. Jordan, Professor of Urology and Residency Program Director at the University of California, Irvine and Dr. Justin La, Chief Resident of Urology at the University of California, Irvine. In this presentation, entitled “USMLE Transition to Pass/Fail: Implications for Resident Candidate Assessment and Selection,” Dr.’s Jordan and La provided an overview of how the USMLE Step 1 exam’s transition to pass/fail may impact residency applications from both the Program Director and Resident perspectives.

Dr. Jordan began with an overview of the current role of the USMLE Step 1 as a screening tool for residency program applications and the impetus behind its transition to a pass/fail assessment. He emphasized that the initial purpose of the USMLE was to determine the minimal competency of physicians to enter practice, rather to gauge an applicant’s qualifications for a residency program. Despite this, the Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 components of the USMLE exam have all been assessed using a 3-digit numerical score, while the Step 2 CS exam is assessed on a pass/fail basis. In 2008, the Committee to Evaluate USMLE Program (CEUP) did consider converting the Step 1 exam to pass/fail, though, at the time, the 3-digit scoring system was upheld. However, several points of discussion emerged regarding the benefits and drawbacks of using a numerical scoring system, which Dr. Jordan then addressed.

The predominant argument in support of a 3-digit USMLE Step 1 score has been that the exam is standardized, and therefore offers a “level playing field” for all test-takers. This serves as a reliable source of “hard data” which residency program directors can use to screen and filter residency applications. In contrast, other parameters such as grades, class rank, letters of recommendation, etc. often lack uniformity between schools and are difficult to compare. Dr. Jordan also discussed the disadvantages of utilizing a numerical score for the USMLE Step 1, and placed emphasis on the developing consensus that holistic evaluation of resident candidates is no longer best-served by utilizing a high-stakes exam. Dr. Jordan also explained that the focus on numerical scores of the USMLE often results in “USMLE mania,” where achieving high scores becomes the predominant goal of preclinical medical education. This phenomenon contributes to increased student anxiety as well as the development of parallel curriculum, or “teaching to the test.” Furthermore, as Dr. Jordan addressed in detail towards the end of the seminar, the 3-digit score introduces an inherent bias against diverse applicants during recruitment and does not promote equitable distribution of residency positions.

Ultimately, the Invitational Conference on USMLE Scoring (InCUS) convened in March 2019 by the AAMC, AMA, ECFMG, FSMB and NBME concluded that the USMLE Step 1 no longer served its stakeholders and recommended a transition of the USMLE Step 1 to pass/fail after January 2022.

During the next segment of the presentation, Dr. La presented the perspective of current residents in context of the USMLE transition to pass/fail. While no data has yet been published on the impact of resident input in the application evaluation process, Dr. La hypothesized that current resident input contributes greatly to building a successful and collegial team and environment that facilitates learning and sound patient care. Regardless of COVID-19, the majority of residency applicants to a urology residency program reported interactions with current residents as the most important component of their interview day [1]. Current residents also are able to assess the “fitness” of applicants for residency as well as their overall “fit” amongst the cohort by using non-USMLE components of their application [2]. As mixed data exists regarding the ability of the USMLE Step 1 to predict resident success, Dr. La presented scoping literature reviews demonstrating that other selection criteria are heterogeneously studied, with publications differing even in definition and assessment of resident success [3, 4]. In light of these data, Dr. La concluded that there is no single factor predictive of success in residency.

During the final section of the seminar, Dr. Jordan discussed the challenges the USMLE Step 1 pass/fail transition poses for program directors and the implications for applicants, along with a wide range of studies to demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of other evaluation metrics. With the loss of an objective evaluation tool for screening and evaluating residency applications, program directors face an increased burden in reviewing applications, raising some concern that applicants could be disadvantaged, as individual applications may receive a less in-depth review. Applicants are then left with uncertainty about how to distinguish themselves from their peers when applying for competitive specialties, particularly if they are apply from newer, international, or less well-known medical schools. There is also uncertainty over whether greater emphasis will now be given to the numerical score of the Step 2 CK exam.

Finally, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are also anticipated to be felt during the transition of the USMLE Step 1 to pass/fail, as many in-person tools for assessment of residency candidates (such as visiting rotations and in-person interviews) have not been feasible. Evaluation of qualities and factors such as professionalism, accountability, social responsibility, team performance, peer interactions, and technical skills cannot be effectively assessed by an electronic application. Prior to COVID-19, visiting/away clinical rotations were heavily relied upon to assess applicants, as they allow the most important determinants of future success to be observed. The COVID-19 pandemic therefore introduces greater uncertainty in terms of how candidates are not only assessed for residency, but also how they are able to gain consideration for interviews.

Dr. Jordan also polled the live audience to gauge which tools they would now primarily rely upon for resident selection, what positive changes they anticipated could result from Step 1 transitioning to pass/fail, and what greatest challenges they faced for residency selection during the pandemic. He then concluded the presentation with a summary of potential solutions to the challenges he had outlined during the seminar:

  • Standardized Candidate Assessment Tools such as clinical skills assessments based on specialty, nontraditional assessments (e.g., Jefferson Empathy Scale, Grit Scale), predictors of self-control, wellness and conscientiousness, etc.
  • Standardized MSPE, rotation evaluations, grades, letters of recommendation, and transcripts
  • Increased medical school transparency on applicant strengths, professionalism, performance
  • Program director-driven development of mission-based holistic criteria for application review
  • ERAS modification to permit extraction of information for holistic review
  • Early application cycle to demonstrate program interest


1. Kenigsberg AP, Khouri Jr. RK, Kuprasertkul A, Wong D, Ganesan V, and Lemack GE. Urology Residency Applications in the COVID-19 Era. Urology. 2020
2. Nemani VM, Park C, and Nawabi DH. What makes a “great resident”: the resident perspective. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2014.
3. Yang A, Gilani C, Saadat S, Murphy L, Toohey S, and Boysen-Osborn M. Which Applicant Factors Predict Success in Emergency Medicine Training Programs? A Scoping Review. AEM Educ Train. 2020.
4. Bowe SN, Laury AM, and Gray ST. Associations between Otolaryngology Applicant Characteristics and Future Performance in Residency or Practice: A Systematic Review. 2017.

Doug Gould to Present “Pass/Fail Step 1: Implications for a Foundational Science Department”

The 2021 IAMSE Winter Webcast Audio Seminar Series kicks off today at 12pm Eastern! In this five-part series, recognized experts from various stakeholder groups will present and discuss the impact of the decision to make Step 1 P/F, identify challenges to their respective programs and explore creative ways to address the consequences of this important medical education milestone. Our second session in the series will feature Doug Gould from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.

Doug Gould

Pass/Fail Step 1: Implications for a Foundational Science Department 
Presenter: Doug Gould, PhD, FAAA
Session: January 14, 2021 at 12pm Eastern Time

This session will explore the impact of the USMLE Step 1 exam moving to pass/fail on a foundational science department. Focus will be on the potential and expected impacts on our faculty, curriculum and students.

Save the Date for the Spring 2021 Webcast Audio Seminar Series

Join us Thursday, March 4, 11, 18, 25 and April 1 for the IAMSE Spring 2021 Webcast Audio Seminar Series titled: 

Strategies for Promoting Inclusivity in Health Sciences Education

The IAMSE 2021 Spring webinar series will explore strategies for inclusive teaching. Recognizing that unconscious bias is a crucial and contributory step in this endeavor, this series will begin by exploring how to recognize unconscious bias and create diverse, inclusive and equitable content for both the basic science curriculum and the clinical learning environment. Dr. Brown will describe how to systematically analyze the basic science content for unconscious bias and will offer hands-on examples addressing them. Similarly, Drs. Hauer and Teherani will explore the clinical curriculum. They will review bias in performance recognition as well as awards selection and provide strategies to promote equity. Dr. Baker and her team will utilize a case-based approach to discuss approaches for managing difficult situations in interactive teaching sessions, such as small group learning. Ms. Fleming, Dr. McGee and Dr. Poll will describe Physician Assistant, PhD, and MD pipeline programs for increasing diversity in the health sciences. The presenters will examine program outcomes and impediments to success. The series will conclude with Drs. Caruthers and Hicks sharing their experience in both Physician Assistant and MD programs supporting wellness and well-being amongst students underrepresented in the health professions and students from diverse backgrounds, including challenges posed by COVID-19 related increases in on-line learning, evaluation, advising, and mentoring. By the end of the series, the audience will have acquired skills to create inclusive and equitable content and learning environments.

As always, IAMSE Student Members can register for the series for FREE! Email for more information.

Further details about the Spring 2021 series will be coming soon, so keep an eye on your inbox. For more details on the current Winter 2021 series or our archives, please visit

ASME Free Event: Building Caring and Character in Students

ASME, the Association for the Study of Medical Education, is offering a series of webinar events for medical educators. On January 14, the session will be organized in collaboration with IAMSE. Join Dr. Peter GM de Jong (Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands), Prof. Neil Osheroff (Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, USA), Prof. Aviad Haramati (Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, USA) and Dr. Jo Bishop (Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia) for this ASME Bitesize session focusing on Building Caring and Character in Students.

ASME BITESIZE: Building Caring and Character in Students
Thursday 14th January 2021, 12:00 GMT (Please note time is UK local)
To register for this free event, please click here .

Medical School is not only about learning science and clinical skills, it also provides an excellent opportunity for character-building and developing professional values in our students. Educators are role models for students and provide examples of good character every day. With their classroom activities they can encourage students to develop ethical principles and foster compassionate behaviours to be successful in their future careers. One of the requirements for this character building is a safe and comfortable community where students experience a caring attitude with their mentors and peers. Creating such a learning environment will promote professionalism and enhance well-being and mental wealth for all.

The session will include the following presentations followed by a moderated discussion:

• Using Competencies to Build Professionalism and Character in Early Medical Students
• Creating Caring Communities: Innovation during the COVID-19 Pandemic
• Mental Wealth for allFor more information about this session, and to register, please visit the ASME event page here.

IAMSE at Virtual APMEC 2021

The 18th Asia Pacific Medical Education Conference (APMEC) will be taking place virtually from January 22-24, 2021. IAMSE is proud to be included in APMEC 2021 as participating partner reflecting the strong collaboration we have built over the years. The IAMSE virtual booth will be present at the conference to exhibit, so if you plan on attending this meeting, do not forget to swing by and check out our page!

There will also be several workshops, discussions and a symposium with IAMSE involvement for you to consider:

Workshop: Strategies and Approaches to Build Resilience in The Early Years of Health Professions Education (W1A5)

Workshop: Tips and Tricks for Successfully Publishing Scholarly Work in an International Journal on Medical Education (W1P1)

Symposium: Building Resilience Starts on Day 1 in Medical School: Tips and Insights (Symposium 11)

Panel Discussion: What is Resilience and How Does it Look Like? An International Perspective (Panel Discussion 5)

For more information on the APMEC Meeting, please click here.

*Last Call* Call for IAMSE-ScholarRx Educational Research Grants

The deadline is quickly approaching to submit an application for the IAMSE-ScholarRx Educational Research Grant Program.

All IAMSE student members are eligible to submit a grant proposal. Applications are to be submitted on the submission page found here by January 15, 2021

All information regarding the IAMSE-ScholarRx Educational Research Grant Program, including the application process, eligibility, proposal format, and evaluation criteria, can be found on the IAMSE website here.

Thank you,
IAMSE Student Professional Development Committee

Mark Jordan and Justin La to Present “The Challenges of Resident Candidate Assessment and Selection”

The 2021 IAMSE Winter Webcast Audio Seminar Series will begin next Thursday, January 7 at 12pm Eastern! In this five-part series, recognized experts from various stakeholder groups will present and discuss the impact of the decision to make Step 1 P/F, identify challenges to their respective programs and explore creative ways to address the consequences of this important medical education milestone. Our first session in the series will feature Mark Jordan and Justin La from the University of California Irvine.

The Challenges of Resident Candidate Assessment and Selection 
Presenters: Mark Jordan, MD, FACS and Justin La, MD
Session: January 7, 2021 at 12pm Eastern Time

The original intention of the USMLE was to serve as the primary assessment tool for state medical board physician licensing. Gradually, USMLE (in particular reliance on Step 1 scores) has been adopted as the primary screening and selection tool for the transition of candidates from UME to GME by residency directors and selection committees. Consensus has been developing that the current UME-GME transition reliance on USMLE Step 1 is inherently flawed since the results of a high stakes exam designed to qualify physicians for state licensing is not relevant in either holistically evaluating residency candidates or in providing an equitable means fairly distributing residency positions. This culminated in the Invitational Conference on USMLE Scoring (InCUS) conference in March 2019, where it became clear that USMLE Step 1 was no longer serving the stakeholders in what has become a flawed UME-GME transition system. Although the was a general consensus of inCUS was that changes were needed, USMLE alone would not be the only component requiring a “fix”. However, several suggestions included implementing a “pass/fail”, composite, or categorical USMLE scoring system, as well as minimizing racial demographic difference affecting USMLE performance, among others.

From the program director’s perspective, it is unclear that changes in USMLE scoring alone would provide significant additional guidance in residency selection. Equitable selection of residency applicants has become a major challenge, in view of the absence of hard data to reliably predict residency performance. In addition to USMLE part 1, our traditional tools have included letters of reference, medical school grades, election to AOA, Dean’s letter, and clinical course evaluations. Unfortunately, notwithstanding the MSPE and Dean’s letter, critical factors such as professionalism, accountability, social responsibility, team performance, peer interactions, and clinical skills cannot adequately be assessed. For many candidates, the most important determinants of future resident performance are observed during clinical rotations in the chosen subspecialty, either at the home school or as away rotations. Unfortunately, most students are faced with the challenge of a limited number of clinical elective rotations, and hence exposure to potential residency programs. As a consequence, most residency directors overly rely on the USMLE part 1 as a surrogate of clinical performance for students that have not rotated with them. During the COVID pandemic, the absence of in-person away rotations has made the clinical assessment of resident candidates even more challenging for programs. 

Potential solutions could include incorporating a standardized residency assessment tool (RAT) utilized by all medical schools, that may include milestone – type assessments that correlate to the six core competencies, as well as evaluation of skills relevant to the type of residency applied to ( e.g spatial coordination, technical ability for surgical specialties). Other tools such as the Jefferson Scale of Empathy and Crowdsourcing of clinical skills to assess potential candidates are being piloted in some programs. 

This webinar will review the current challenges of resident candidate assessment and selection. The pandemic coming on the heels of the planned conversion of USMLE conversion to Pass/Fail has magnified the importance of developing alternative and viable candidate assessment tools and will be a major factor informing our discussion.”

End of the Year Message From IAMSE President, Neil Osheroff

Dear Members of IAMSE, I hope that you are all doing well. This is a time of year when we traditionally take a few minutes out of our hectic lives to reflect upon all of the good things that bring us happiness and joy and give thanks for them. 

Thus, on behalf of IAMSE, I wanted to thank all of you for your dedication, flexibility, and hard work, and to congratulate you for your many achievements during this particularly challenging year.  

As President, I would like to recognize the efforts of the Officers, Board members, and all our Committees, who together with the incredible work of Julie Hewett and the JulNet staff, are the engine that drives IAMSE forward. As a result of everyone’s efforts and the continued engagement of our membership, IAMSE has not only survived 2020, but has thrived. As an association, we can celebrate a number of remarkable and exciting successes in 2020. I wanted to share several of these with you:

  • Our membership has grown since the beginning of the year, while many other organizations have lost members, and financially we are in great shape.
  • We successfully ran our first in-person meeting outside of our annual conference. The meeting, Integration in Medical and Health Science Education, was held in Kuala Lumpur in February.
  • We successfully ran our first virtual annual conference in June. The conference, which included our first student-led plenary session, garnered an amazing 2,300 registrants and was very well received by attendees. Kudos to the Program Committee, who faced an extremely compressed timeline in which to design the meeting.
  • We successfully ran our first stand-alone virtual workshops, the Basic and Advanced Reviewer workshops for Medical Science Educator and a student and new faculty version of the New Educator Scholars Training (NEST). Many thanks to our colleagues from ScholarRx for their work on the NEST workshop.
  • We successfully launched the IAMSE Café in March. The Café was initiated as a way to help members stay connected during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its inception, the Café has been informative, entertaining, and well attended. Thus, we plan to keep the Café as an ongoing IAMSE program for the foreseeable future.
  • We enhanced the IAMSE Fellowship Program with online mentoring groups and anticipate launching a fully online version of the Program (to complement our in-person version) in 2021.
  • We are preparing to launch an online version of the ESME Course (to complement our in-person version) in 2021.
  • Medical Science Educator had a record number of submissions and downloads in 2020! Consequently, IAMSE and Springer have decided to convert the journal from its current quarterly publication schedule to a bi-monthly publication schedule in 2021. 
  • Medical Science Educator also announced the establishment of its inaugural Distinguished Reviewer Panel.
  • Our revitalized Manuals Program is being unveiled in early 2021 with the release of the first Springer editions of our two previous manuals. Two additional manuals are slated for publication later in 2021, and an additional four manuals are under development for 2022. 
  • The IAMSE Toolkit Program is successfully underway. More about this is coming in 2021!
  • The IAMSE Ambassador Program is going well, with our Ambassadors working to promote IAMSE throughout the world in their home countries of Australia, China, Curaçao, Estonia, Finland, Mexico, and Pakistan.
  • We have formalized, or are in the process of formalizing, new relationships with several educational groups from all over the world. Be on the lookout for some exciting announcements in 2021. 
  • We have successfully launched an Asian version of our Webcast Audio Seminar Program in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Biomedical Science Educators Association (APBSEA).
  • The IAMSE EnGAGE Committee is moving forward with important diversity, equity, inclusion and racial justice initiatives. More to follow in 2021.

IAMSE owes you all a great debt of gratitude. I consider it a privilege to be your President and I look forward to working with you as we continue our exciting path forward in the coming year. Please remain engaged with IAMSE and consider attending an upcoming Café session, a Webcast Audio Seminar session, the Virtual Annual Conference in June, or any of our other events happening throughout the year. Let us know if you would be interested in serving on one of our committees. Think about how IAMSE can best serve you in 2021.

Regardless of what holiday you celebrate or what traditions you follow, I wish you all the joy of the season and the very best for the coming year. Stay safe and well.

Sincerely yours,

Neil Osheroff
President, IAMSE

Check out the IAMSE Webcast Audio Seminar Series Archives!

The International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) is pleased to announce that the archives for “How is Health Science Education Tackling the Opioid Epidemic,” the 2020 Winter series of the Webcast Audio Seminars are now online!

The Webcast Audio Seminar archives are located on the IAMSE website under the Events heading as Web Seminars. Here, you will be able to search the archives or browse by year and series.

Registration for the Winter 2021 series is now open! Join us in January and February for this five-part series where recognized experts from the various stakeholder groups will present and discuss the impact of this decision, identify challenges to their respective programs and explore creative ways to address the consequences of this important medical education milestone. 

If you have any issues accessing the archives, or if you have any trouble registering for the Winter 2021 series, please just let us know at