News Vice Chair of Education

An update from the Office of the Vice Chair of Education

Abby Spencer, MD

Now several months into the new role of Vice Chair of Education for the Department of Medicine, I am thrilled to continue to get to know you, your programs and your trainees! The Department of Medicine residency and fellowship program directors and coordinators continue to impress at our monthly meetings where we share best practices, problem-solve, share updates, celebrate education, and build community. To follow are some exciting DOM Fellowship Program accomplishments to highlight this quarter:

From Allergy & Immunology:

Over the past few months, we have been really excited about welcoming our new fellows to the fellowship program.

We want to highlight our 3rd and 2nd year fellows for the great work they are doing on their research projects. Liza Kalaidina, (3rd yr) is working in Dr. Ellebedy’s lab on humoral immune response to allergy shots. Rebekah Browning, MD, PhD is working in Dr. Kendall’s lab on immune cell populations in those with food allergy. Dayne Voelker, MD is working in Dr. Kau’s lab evaluating H. flu colonization in asthmatics. Alex Patterson’s research is focused on hypersensitivity reaction to COVID vaccine and Lexie Doss is working on the memory response in those with primary immunodeficiency receiving COVID vaccine.

We are most looking forward to ACAAI meeting in November where our fellows have been selected to give oral presentations on their posters.  Our educators can be described as dedicated to the fellowship and currently participating in our fellowship interview season recruiting next year’s fellows.

From Infectious Diseases:

Over the past few months, we have been really excited about achieving/accomplishing:

  • Using social media as a strong platform for medical education, networking, and advocacy for our fellows (and fellowship program)
  • We want to highlight Dr. Miguel A Chavez and Dr. Nathanial Nolan for the great work they are doing with The ID Fellows Network. It is a network of fellows from different training programs who are passionate about ID teaching and learning using digital media. Through live Twitter chats, interactive case discussions, and curated digital contents, it has become a popular resource for trainees all over the country. It was founded and now led by two Wash U DOM ID fellows, who are now current faculty, Miguel A. Chavez, MD, MSc and Nathanial Nolan, MD, MPH. Check out their website for more information.
  • Women In Infectious Disease (WIID). Founded by ID fellow, Gayathri Krishnan, MD, it serves as a platform to support, nurture, and uplift women in infectious diseases. Check out their Twitter account, @Women_in_ID for more information.
  • We are looking forward to collaborating with fellows/trainees from other specialties who are interested in leveraging social/digital media for medical education.
  • Our educators can be described as passionate, collaborative, and innovative with a deep sense of community and leadership.
From Palliative Medicine:

Over the past year, we’ve been really excited about joining the Competency-based, Time-variable HPM fellowship curriculum project for mid-career learners. This is a project sponsored through the ACGME Academic Innovation in Residency Education program, and led by The University of Pennsylvania. The UPenn HPM PD, Laura Dingfield MD, is the PI on the study.  Currently, our fellows and faculty get to work with fellows and faculty from UPenn, Mt. Sinai, Kaiser of So Cal, MGH, UMinnesota, and GW.  It’s been really fun and inspirational to work with this crew, and we look forward to the next couple of years. It will provide a great option for mid-career professionals interested in HPM training, and really improve our existing traditional curriculum.

From Rheumatology:

Over the past few months, we’ve been really excited about recruiting for our fellowship program. We’ve had a record number of applicants for our program which makes us proud to know that Rheumatology is a sought-after specialty.

  • We are most looking forward to the new educational collaborations we have planned among our fellowship training program, the Infectious Diseases and Nephrology training programs, our interprofessional colleagues​, and Rheumatology fellowships at other institutions.
  • Our educators can be described as passionate about patient care and training future rheumatologists.
  • Dr. Lisa Zickuhr was appointed as APD and will lead the new Clinician Educator program within the Rheumatology Fellowship
  • Dr. Andrea Ramirez-Gomez and Dr. Atinuke Aluko chosen as inaugural Ben Schwartz Distinguished Fellows
  • Dr. Roseanne Zhao was chosen as 2021 ACR Distinguished FellowShout-out to the Inaugural DOM Fellowship Multidisciplinary Health Equity Case Conference. 
  • The Infectious Diseases, Nephrology, and Rheumatology Fellowship Training Programs partnered with their associative health professionals and community allies to create a multidisciplinary, interprofessional Health Equity Case Conference.  The conference, scheduled to occur four times a year, introduces fellows to the social and political history of St. Louis that sets the context for clinical practice in our region and fosters discussion about cases in which social and structural factors impacted patient.  Attendees share their experiences, resources, tools, and techniques with one another to bolster awareness, knowledge, and skills for managing such challenges in the clinical setting.

Recent publications:

  • Zickuhr L, Kolfenbach J, Bolster MB. Applying Educational Theory to Optimize Trainee Education in the Ambulatory Virtual Care Environment. Med Sci Educ. 2021 Aug 17:1-8. doi: 10.1007/s40670-021-01365-0. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34422453; PMCID: PMC8370462.
  • Zickuhr, L., Jones, H.A. Rheumatology resources need reform to represent all patients. Nat Rev Rheumatol 17, 447–448 (2021).
  • Rana A, Witt A, Jones H, Mwanthi M, Murray J, Zickuhr L. The Representation of Skin Colors in Images of Patients with Lupus Erythematosus. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2021 May 31. doi: 10.1002/acr.24712. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34057307.
From Internal Medicine Residency:

Special thanks to IM Residency Chief Resident, John Hickman, MD, who is working with a small team of us to revamp and enhance our Grand Rounds series.  Congratulations to our amazing 3rd year residents who have kicked off the year with outstanding Grand Round presentations. If you missed them, no worries, check out our new Grand Rounds website Grand Rounds – John T. Milliken Department of Medicine where you can see upcoming and past presentation recordings. The residency also just completed their recent PEC (program evaluation committee) meeting and kicking off the new academic year with many exciting projects and curricular innovations.

Division of General Medicine:

Deptola Published in Journal of Graduate Medical Education

WUSM’s Amber Deptola, MD was recently published in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education discussing resident well-being. The article specifically highlights motivation as an integral component of resident well-being, including what existing literature says, and actionable recommendations. Her article was also featured in a post from the International Clinical Educators blog.

DOM UME Celebrations

  • The Gateway Curriculum will reach Phase 2 in January 2022 when students begin to rotate through the six core clerkships of internal medicine, neurology, pediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, and surgery.  The medicine clerkship was restructured to last eight weeks, beginning with one foundational week when students participate in didactic activities, continuing with two weeks of C-LIFE (an outpatient experience in primary care and medical subspecialties) and four weeks of inpatient adult medicine, and concluding with a week for assessment, reflection, coaching, and community engagement. 
  • The Medicine Clerkship will be looking for volunteers from the Department of Medicine to facilitate didactic and reflective sessions during the Foundational and ARCC weeks.  Keep an eye out for a recruitment email in the next month or so!
The Academy of Educators at Washington University School of Medicine offers participation opportunities for teachers, educators and leaders.

Academy of Educators’ Education Day is Tuesday, October 5th!  Education day is comprised of educational workshops, inducting the Academy’s new members, honoring Wash U educators with Rising Star, Honor Roll, and Lifetime Achievement awards, recognizing our TSP and FITS scholars, and networking with new and current Academy members!  Do not miss this incredible opportunity to join a community of educators to expand your network, build your skills, share your expertise, and contribute to educational excellence across WashU!

The new residents and fellows are here and would you believe it is already recruitment season for our DOM Fellowships?!  If you see a DOM fellowship PD, please offer them coffee or cookies as they are up to their smiles in applications; it’s a very competitive season. Also, offer support and treats to our IM Residents who are checking their emails non-stop for updates on their fellowship invites!

For Residency Recruitment Season– ERAS opens September 29th, please check in on our residency program directors and help get our DOM faculty and residents excited for recruitment season!

Trainee mistreatment is sadly on the rise, please don’t miss an opportunity to be kind, teach, share vulnerability, listen carefully, catch a trainee doing something great, share your own mistakes and learning journey, praise publicly, give a “next time try” to someone who asks for feedback, and be the teacher/mentor you always needed!

Drs. Spencer (left) and Fraser
Drs. Spencer (left) and Fraser

Lastly, it’s Women In Medicine Month!!!  You will be seeing dozens of tweets from Forum for Women in Medicine, the Department of Medicine, and more to celebrate our WashU DOM Women in Medicine.

We are also participating in the National #GiveHerAReasonToStay in Healthcare campaign that kicks off on #twitter starting Sept 1st.  We are very grateful to our Chair of Medicine, Dr. Fraser who is sponsoring ten women in medicine from the department to attend a women’s professional development conference this academic year!

#GiveHerAReasonToStay The Give Her A Reason To Stay in HealthCare campaign is a call to action to find ways to support women in medicine at this critical time.
Learn more about #GiveHerAReasonToStay at the American Medical Women’s Association website here.

Thank you to everyone who has supported each other and our trainees throughout the latest COVID surge. Special thanks this month to all our Women in Medicine! Very proud and honored to be among you!

Take a moment to thank your educational leaders, teachers, directors, administrators, coordinators, and managers today for the amazing job they have done! Be specific!

Have other celebrations, updates, questions or challenges to share or discuss?  Please reach out to me: Abby Spencer, MD, MS, FACP, Vice Chair of Education for the Department of Medicine at