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What is Clinical Excellence?

As defined by the Miller-Coulson Scholars' paper, " Clinical Excellence in Academia: Perspectives from Masterful Clinicians", published in the September 2008 issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings:

The clinically excellent academic physician has achieved a level of mastery in communication & interpersonal skills, professionalism & humanism, and negotiation of the healthcare system.  Such physicians are exemplary with respect to diagnostic acumen, knowledge, and their scholarly approach to clinical practice. They exhibit a passion for patient care, and they explicitly model all of the above to medical trainees, earning them a reputation for being exceptional.

Why Should Clinical Excellence be Recognized and Rewarded?

It is the right thing to do, because:

  • Academic medical centers risk losing the best clinicians if they are not recognized for their work.
  • If these clinicians are not recognized, academic medical centers will not be able to attract new great clinicians.
  • The next generation of physicians will not be trained in clinical skills to the standard that doctors in the past have been without these exceptional role models and teachers

Applying to the Miller-Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence


Please note: we will be accepting nominations for the 2015 class of the Miller-Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence from September 8, 2014 – September 23, 2014.

Physicians from all departments at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center are eligible, and should be nominated by at least four physician peers in order to be invited to apply.

In keeping with the Academy’s focus on patient care, physicians who are spending less than 25 percent of their effort in clinical settings may not be ideal applicants. Additionally, nominees who have been on faculty for less than 4 years may not have had time to establish a track record for clinical excellence.

To nominate a physician, please simply send their name in an email to Kimberly Williams ( A formal nomination letter is not necessary. We also request each person nominate no more than 3 physicians.

Application Process

Please note: we will be accepting nomination for the 2015 class of the Miller-Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence from September 8, 2014 - September 23, 2014.

After receiving all nominations, nominees will be notified by the Academy and asked to:

  • Prepare and submit a clinical portfolio
  • Submit email addresses for 40 referees – (10 patients, 10 learners, 10 physician-colleagues, and 10 non-physician colleagues [e.g. nurses, MA’s, patient care technicians…]). These referees will be sent a survey electronically and asked to evaluate the nominee along clinical parameters that they might be expected to know. This will be completely confidential, and results will be compiled into an aggregate measure. This data will be included as 1 component of the ‘clinical portfolio application’.

Review Process

The finalized clinical portfolio will be reviewed by an internal panel and an external board who will decide whether the material supports the premise that the applicant has achieved clinical excellence. The reviews of the portfolios will form the basis as to whether the applicant is offered membership in the Academy. If the reviewers are not convinced that the physician has achieved or demonstrated clinical excellence, specific feedback will be given so that they might reapply more successfully in the next application cycle.

Academy Membership

Membership in the Miller-Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence is an honorific achievement that is recognized throughout the institution.

It is expected that members will devote approximately 20 hours per academic year to the Academy.  The members meet approximately 4 times per academic year for a 2 hour long dinner meeting.  Additionally, Academy members attend the ‘Excellence in Patient Care Symposium’, the annual event where new members are inducted.  Other Academy programs that members may become involved with are:  Academy Working groups, the Reflections on Clinical Excellence Blog, clinical mentoring, the Clinical Excellence Elective for medical students, scholarship related to clinical excellence in various fields, Academy-hosted Medical Grand Rounds, Clinical Excellence Curriculum that will be offered through faculty development to help clinicians move toward clinical excellence, and other programs. Activities that serve to enhance the quality of patient care that is delivered to our patients will count as Academy-related effort.