Medical Education, Med Ed Fellowship Director Interview Series

Medical Education Fellowship at ChristianaCare

The EMRA Education Committee is excited to bring you the Medical Education Fellowship Director Interview Series, which will allow Medical Education Fellowship Directors a platform to describe their fellowship program, highlight different medical education career paths, and provide resources for potential fellows. 
If you are a MedEd Fellowship Director interested in submitting a profile on your program, please email EducationCtte@emra.org.

Medical Education Fellowship at ChristianaCare

Director: Jenna Fredette, MD
Title: Residency Program Director and Medical Education Fellowship Director
Institution: ChristianaCare
Find us online: https://residency.christianacare.org/em; @ChristianaEMed; ChristianaCareEMed  

Tell us about you and your program.
The Medical Education Fellowship at ChristianaCare is a one-year fellowship aimed at developing exceptional medical educators and future medical education leaders. The fellowship has an emphasis on developing agile bedside educators, lecturers, and small group facilitators. Further skill development in competency-based education, curricular design, faculty development, and program administration is emphasized. Fellowship graduates will be well prepared for a career in academic emergency medicine and will have a foundational understanding of key educational principles. In addition, fellows will continue to refine their clinical skills working shifts, both supervising residents and independently, at all three of our sites including Delaware’s only Level-1 trauma center and our free-standing emergency department. Applicants have the option for a two-year fellowship, which includes an advanced degree with a master’s degree in medical education.

How did you get involved in medical education, and what is your career path that led you to your Fellowship Director position?
The road in medicine is steeped in teaching and learning, yet few physicians are actually taught basic teaching principles (both at the bedside and in the lecture hall). When I came out of residency, there were very few or no medical education fellowships, and only a few people were starting to get advanced degrees in medical education. When I was an early academic faculty and then Associate Program Director, I immersed myself in a world of medical educators through CORD, the ALiEM Faculty Incubator (Facubator) course, and the MERC at CORD program. Over time, I realized that the ChristianaCare EM residency offered all of the building blocks necessary to provide excellent hands-on education for a medical education fellow, and the fellowship was started in July 2015.

What are the benefits to completing a fellowship in medical education?
In order to be a versatile educator, an understanding of basic educational principles is needed, and fellowships offer an opportunity to build that knowledge base. Medical education opportunities are diverse - Do you want to teach medical students, residents, or faculty? Do you like simulation education, bedside teaching, or didactic education? Do you like curricular development or content creation? Do you like medical education research or program administration?  This large variety of medical education career paths is underpinned by the same guiding principles. Fellowship helps you learn the foundations while exploring many of the areas listed so that upon graduation you have a strong base and broad exposure to help inform your next steps.

Does your program have a particular niche within medical education or unique aspects potential fellows should be aware of?
We focus on experiential learning - we want our fellows to come and immerse themselves in many of the innovative things we are doing with competency based medical education. ChristanaCare and our residency have a broad range of experiences to offer, and we encourage our fellows to experience all of them if they do not yet have a developed area of interest. Alternatively, if a fellow has a strong interest in a particular area, we are able to craft a year-long curriculum to provide education and opportunities in that niche.

What are the different career paths that fellowship graduates from your program have taken after graduation?
We have had 3 fellows since our beginning 5 years ago. Our fellows have followed a variety of careers paths after graduation. One was mostly interested in program administration and upon graduating took a job as an Associate Program Director and is now a Program Director. Another fellow was interested primarily in content creation, didactic teaching and learning styles, and curriculum development. Upon graduation, he has continued his passion and was one of the core content creators for the widely popular “EM Foundations” curriculum. Our most recent fellow did not have a defined area of interest and spent the year gaining exposure to the wide variety of medical education niches. He accepted a job with an academic faculty position where his broad exposure will help him define his niche in the coming years. We feel that the wide variety of career paths our fellows have taken speaks to the broad experience and flexibility of our fellowship.

What advice do you have for residents who are just starting to get involved in medical education, especially residents who may not have a lot of resources at their own program?
My advice is to start small and start experimenting! There is no way to learn if you like medical education (or learn what areas you like) until you start doing it. Ask program leadership to let you give an occasional lecture, reformat a simulation case, or create a small group module for your fellow residents. JETem is an online peer-reviewed journal that focuses on curricular innovation and is a tremendous resource you can refer to in order to help guide your efforts. By starting small, you will learn what teaching methods you are most drawn to and will start to learn how you can best engage your learners.

In addition, the ACEP Teaching Fellowship is now open to residents and is a great foundational course to begin to understand what formal training in medical education has to offer.

What qualities does your program look for in potential fellows?
We are looking for curious people who are willing to think outside the box and experiment. We value self-reflection, as teaching only improves through this process. We are looking for people who are interested in what we have to offer, so we can all learn from each other.

What is the application and interview process like at your program (ie, application requirements, timeline, match process, participation in CORD universal offer day)?
We usually establish email contact with our potential fellows in late spring/early summer. Since fellowship programs are so different, we feel it takes time for residents to really get to know programs and ensure the programs they are interested in will meet their needs. We begin the interview process in late summer/early fall. We aim to have job offers out by late fall, but this is variable from year to year.

What are your thoughts on the value of a master’s degree in medical education? Does your program require it or accommodate fellows who want to pursue one?
We feel this is an individual decision based on each fellow's future goals. We do not require it, yet are fully supportive if someone wishes to pursue it.

If a resident is interested in getting to know more about your program, what is the best way for them to get in touch with you?
Potential applicants can view our website or email me directly at jfredette@christianacare.org.

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