BVonDerPool HS1(Top: Ksneia Blinnikova, M.D., MPH, Kala Dixon, Ph.D., Jill Marsh, M.D., Bottom: Adrienne Fowler Payne, Earl Salser, M.D., Kimberly Smith, Ph.D., MIchael Wiederman, Ph.D.)

Though the pandemic brought many challenges to educators, virtual learning, virtual collaborating and the strain of a world crisis also created opportunities for faculty and staff members in the Department of Family and Community Medicine to focus on ways they could impact their students despite the distance.

For researchers like Kimberly Smith, Ph.D., COVID-19 gave her the opportunity to involve students in a research course that directly impacted their lives—studying the effects of the disease on real patients in real time. Students were invited to participate and conduct research alongside the broader scientific community they were just beginning to be a part of, and the course brought research to life for her students.

"While COVID-19 created many barriers, it also opened opportunities for our medical students to experience research, many for the first time, in an extremely timely and engaging way," Smith noted. "The students were able to join world-wide community studying this disease, and I found that it ultimately showed them the value and impact research can have."The project uses virtual tools to “move knowledge instead of people” and encourages open discussion about difficult cases to help health care teams provide even better care.

Smith and six other department team members were asked to share their takeaways from 2021 at the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine’s (STFM) annual medical education-based conference with other educators from around the country.

BVonDerPool HS1CU2RE Program Presentation (Marsh, Payne, Salser)The Virtual 2022 Conference on Medical Student Education, held in late January, extended invitations to medical student educators to collaborate, share and network with colleagues. Participants presented and engaged with relevant topics like virtual learning for medical students, research during COVID-19, recruitment and more.

Faculty who attended the virtual conference remarked on the benefit of sharing research and learning about other educational programsduring the presentations.

Ksenia Blinnikova, M.D., MPH, assistant professor and Family Medicine Interest Group advisor, noted that STFM conferences are a great place to learn and network with other leaders in the medical education space.

The conference, held via Zoom over two days, included time for group lectures, individual poster presentations and special topic discussion.

“I’ve been to STFM:MSE in person and it was really energizing to see how many people care about the things we care about,” said Jill Marsh, M.D., assistant professor and director of the rural and urban underserved pathways of CU2RE. “Even though it was virtual this year, it was encouraging to attend and hear about the innovative educational programs from other institutions.”

For Kala Dixon, Ph.D., director of the Office of Interprofessional and Continuing Education, this conference was her first experience in the family medicine world.

“I am new to the family medicine community, and, despite being held virtually, I was eager to meet new faces,” Dixon said. “Conferences always offer a rewarding experience and I was enriched by hearing about the work being conducted by others across the nation.”

Congratulations and thank you to the following Department of Family and Community Medicine faculty and staff who presented research or spoke at the event:

  • Ksenia Blinnikova, M.D., MPH, and Michael Wiederman, Ph.D., presented “Longitudinal Leadership Development for Student Leaders or the Family Medicine Interest Group.” (Additional collaborator: Trupti Nadkar, M.D.)
  • Ksenia Blinnikova, M.D., MPH, also presented a poster titled “Lectures on Lifestyle Medicine: Encouraging and Troubling Results.”
  • Kala Dixon, Ph.D., presented “The Virtual i-ER: Where Teamwork and Communication Saves Lives.”
  • Jill Marsh, M.D., Earl Salser, M.D., and Adrienne Fowler Payne, MPA, presented “The Comprehensive Urban Underserved and Rural Experience (CU2RE) Program to Inspire Students to Choose Family Medicine.”
  • Kimberly Smith, Ph.D., presented “Leveraging the COVID-19 Crisis to Teach Research in a Clinical Context” and gave a lecture on “Education vs. Assessment: Tips for Integrating Both into Academic Medicine.”
  • Earl Salser, M.D., and Michael Wiederman, Ph.D., presented “Teaching the Teachers: Connecting with Community Preceptors in a Post-COVID World.”
  • Michael Wiederman, Ph.D., presented “Medical Student Leadership Development: A Curriculum, Course, and Student Interest Group.”

Learn more about STFM here.