Say hello to our featured member Laura Bauler

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 Laura Bauler, PhD.

Laura Bauler, PhD
Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine
Assistant Professor in the Department Biomedical Sciences and Department of Medical Education

How long have you been a member of IAMSE? 
I only recently joined IAMSE, starting in 2020 after transitioning my career to a medical education focus. 

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.? 
Joining IAMSE during the pandemic was one of the best things that I did for my career. I have greatly enjoyed learning from the Winter and Spring Seminar series as well as participating in the IAMSE Café discussions. IAMSE has such a vibrant, active community that is so welcoming to new educators and new ideas. I also look forward to my first IAMSE conference and to finding an opportunity to become more involved in the IAMSE community. It is so nice to have finally found a group of like-minded colleagues, that I can learn from and collaborate with. 

What interesting things are you working on outside the Association right now? Research, presentations, etc.
One of the projects I am currently working on explores the impact of peer evaluation on medical student learning and growth. As educators we have very structured interactions with our students, limiting our feedback for learners to the aspects that we can directly observe. In contrast, peers often interact in diverse settings (both in and out of the learning environment), giving them unique and valuable perspectives that can be used to help each other grow professionally. 

Another project I am working on that enables me to use my Microbiology knowledge, is a research study examining the impact of Chlamydia infection on birth outcomes. Chlamydia is one the most prevalent bacterial sexually transmitted infections worldwide but is largely asymptomatic. Thus, unless we test for it, many people don’t know they are infected. For individuals with limited access to or distrust of the healthcare system, an undetected infection with Chlamydia can have lasting impacts, especially on fertility and birth outcomes. Better understanding of the factors that impact infection and the outcomes that result can help us re-think how we take care of our community and improve healthcare.

Tell me a little bit about the oral presentation that you will be presenting at the Annual Meeting in June titled “FACTORS IMPACTING THE RAPID TRANSITION OF ANATOMY CURRICULA TO A VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT.” What really excites you about this topic and about presenting it at #IAMSE21?
In collaboration with Dr. Wendy Lackey-Cornelison and Dr. Kate Lesciotto, we conducted a survey of anatomy educators to better understand how anatomy education and the educators themselves were impacted by the rapid transition to online learning. Since anatomy is largely taught in a hands-on, interactive manner, shifting to a mandatory virtual environment had huge impacts on how we deliver that education. Our research explored factors in the pre-COVID environment that impacted how difficult the transition to online learning was for educators. A couple of factors identified that impacted the transition difficulty include the educational pedagogy used by educators as well as their length of teaching experience. COVID has presented us with challenges that will have a lasting impact on the teaching environment. We are excited to share this study with the IAMSE community because the lessons we have learned in this study will help educators to better design and prepare for the future of medical education. We look forward to all the wonderful feedback and discussion that will result from sharing our research with the IAMSE community.

Anything else that you would like to add? 
I want to thank all my IAMSE colleagues. For me, participating in IAMSE over the last year has been incredibly valuable, helping me learn, grow, and connect with fantastic people, especially valuable during a time when traditional social interactions have been so limited.

For more info on sessions, presentations and to register for #IAMSE21 visit