Medical Education, Med Ed Fellowship Director Interview Series

Emergency Medicine Education Scholarship Fellowship at Washington University in Saint Louis

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.

Emergency Medicine Education Scholarship Fellowship at Washington University in Saint Louis

Director: Albert J. Kim, MD, MACM, FACEP
Title: Assistant Professor, Education Scholarship Fellowship Director, Assistant Residency Director, Residency Recruitment Director, EMIG Assistant Coordinator
Institution: Washington University in Saint Louis
Social Media Tags:Instagram: @wustl_em; Twitter: @WUSTL_EM

Tell us about you and your program.
Our SAEM-approved fellowship is a 24-month experience designed to provide junior faculty the knowledge, skills, and abilities to succeed as a future leader in academic emergency medicine. We offer dedicated experience in both Undergraduate and Graduate Medical Education with five core objectives:

  1. Program level development, implementation, and evaluation
  2. Personal development to lead both self and others in a leadership role
  3. Designing educational curricula to both instruct and assess learners
  4. Understanding national policy and accreditation issues and opportunities
  5. Education scholarship design, implementation, and research of educational innovations

Within this framework, we provide flexibility to adapt the curriculum to the learner’s particular interests and ultimate career goals.

Fellows will receive full financial tuition support to pursue a master’s degree of the fellow’s choice with a focus on Education, as well as full support for the ACEP Teaching Fellowship, and attendance at the annual CORD Academic Assembly.

Fellows will be non-voting members on the Washington University School of Medicine Committee on Medical Education, Pre-clinical Curriculum Committee, and Clinical Curriculum Committee. They will also be members of the EM Residency Clinical Competency Committee, as well as the EM Residency Program Evaluation Committee. During the second year of fellowship, fellows will serve as a Junior Assistant Residency Director and mentor to the PGY-1 class under guidance by a supervising Assistant Residency Director. In addition, fellows will be strongly encouraged to pursue the numerous optional leadership opportunities at the local and national level.

How did you get involved in medical education, and what is your career path that led you to your Fellowship Director position?
Like many other educators, and like many of you, I’ve had a longstanding interest in teaching and mentorship. During my residency, I often sought out opportunities to teach our medical students and was fortunate enough to be elected as one of our Chief Residents during my final year. Though I had a passion for education and years of practical experience, I recognized that I was gathering these skills in a rather inefficient manner.

Upon finishing residency, I designed and enrolled as the inaugural trainee in our Education Scholarship Fellowship. My goal was to obtain formal training in Medical Education and secure dedicated protected time for educational innovations. This new program found success thanks to the strong support of our departmental leadership and numerous mentors, both locally and nationally, who helped guide our efforts.

At the same time, I pursued a joint Ultrasound Fellowship, as my early attending career focused on ultrasound and procedural training. Ultimately, I navigated my career towards my interests in program leadership and learner mentorship, becoming an Assistant Residency Director while continuing my role as Education Fellowship Director. My education interests include bedside teaching, procedural training, and career mentorship. This last piece is the most rewarding part of my career; getting to watch learners grow, develop, and achieve success. Finally, my other roles within EM include Residency Recruitment Director and EM Interest Group Assistant Coordinator.

Outside of the hospital, you’ll find me spending time with my wife, Laura, who is one of our EM Ultrasound Faculty and is the Ultrasound Rotation Director. We’re both active people so you’ll likely find us outside running, climbing, or ticking off another National Park we’ve yet to visit. My current goals are to perfect my steamed milk game for lattes on our espresso machine, complete the final repairs on my father-in-law’s meticulously restored ’67 Ford Mustang convertible, and finish the garage renovation on our home climbing wall and Tension Board.

What are the benefits to completing a fellowship in medical education?
A fellowship in medical education will provide you the knowledge, skills, and abilities to succeed as a future leader in academic emergency medicine. Though one may acquire these same skills throughout their career, it will likely occur in a self-directed and inefficient manner. Instead, with formal training and dedicated protected time one has the ability to avoid common pitfalls and mistakes often made by early career educators. This will ultimately benefit your teaching, scholarship, and mentorship efforts. Finally, the career development segment of the education fellowship will help tailor your educational efforts towards your ideal career path and position.

Does your program have a particular niche within medical education or unique aspects potential fellows should be aware of?
Our program is designed to give learners a broad background in both Undergraduate and Graduate Medical Education, with the specific goal of training fellows for leadership and mentorship roles. Though my personal focus is in Graduate Medical Education, the Associate Fellowship Director, Dr. Joan Noelker, has a focus on Undergraduate Medical Education and is active in numerous leadership roles within the medical school. Though I require fellows to have dedicated experience in both domains, we have the resources and flexibility to tailor your training towards your individual career goals and needs.

What are the different career paths that fellowship graduates from your program have taken after graduation?
As the inaugural graduate, my career path has been outlined above. In my tenure as Fellowship Director we have produced numerous Assistant Residency Directors upon graduation from the Education Scholarship Fellowship, and an EM Clerkship Director with a focus on Undergraduate Clinical Curriculum Design and Remediation.

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?
Be active and reach out! There are many faculty, either locally or nationally through CORD, who would gladly mentor a resident interested in medical education. If your program is not associated with a medical school, reach out to your regional SAEM, AAEM, or ACEP student interest groups, as they are often looking to connect students with resident mentors. In addition, there is no reason you cannot be active as an educator within your own residency program. Look to improve your bedside teaching with your junior or off-service residents. Become involved in your intern orientation/onboarding or intern boot camp, if one exists. If one does not, why not create your own?

Finally, seek out leadership opportunities. Though many who pursue an education fellowship serve as a Chief Resident, it is certainly not a prerequisite. Leadership may be shown by becoming a resident chair of your Social Committee or a resident leader during your program’s residency interviews. It might be serving on departmental or hospital-wide committees or resident roles within your local GME.

What qualities does your program look for in potential fellows?
The Education Scholarship Fellowship is looking for applicants with a background in education, teaching, research, or mentorship. Experience as a Chief Resident or a similar leadership role is encouraged but not required. I encourage applicants to have a tentative career plan in mind, with the understanding that these plans may be shaped or altered during their training. Ultimately, we are looking for applicants with a dedication to teaching and a motivation to become a leader in the area of medical education.

What is the application and interview process like at your program (ie, application requirements, timeline, match process, participation in CORD universal offer day)?

Eligibility:

  • American Board of Emergency Medicine Eligible or Certified by the start of Fellowship
  • Active and unrestricted Missouri Medical License at the start of fellowship

Requirements:

  • Updated Curriculum Vitae
  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
  • If neither LoR is from the Residency Program Director, a Letter of Good Standing from the PD
  • Letter of Interest
  • Clinical Educator Portfolio is optional

Timeline:

  • July 1: Applications open
  • October 1: Final day of application submission
  • August – October: Interview season
  • November 1: Education Fellowship Common Offer Date (subject to change in 2020)

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?
Our program requires completion of a master’s degree at a program of the fellow’s choice, with a focus on education. Historically, we have used the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine Master of Academic Medicine, but we are open to a number of degree programs depending on the interests and needs of the trainee. Tuition and travel associated with a degree are fully funded by the Education Scholarship Fellowship.

We believe that in addition to the practical experience and training provided in the role of Education Fellow, formal training in medical education is essential in developing academic leaders. This skill set will allow you to be leaders not just within EM but throughout the entire field of medical education.

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?
Interested residents should contact our Fellowship Coordinator, Lindsey Wasser (wasserl@wustl.edu), or reach out directly to the Fellowship Director by email (ajkim@wustl.edu).

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