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Circling the Dome

A Path for Medical Educators

When Sanjay Desai was an assistant chief of service at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, he realized he had a passion for medical education. “But I didn’t have the skills to build an academic career,” he recalls. “I had to learn them myself.”

A decade later, the director of the Osler Medical Training Program and the Department of Medicine’s vice chair for education has found a way to nurture trainees’ interest in teaching the next generation of doctors: a new medical education pathway. “The goal is to identify potential mentors and develop skills early in their career,” says Desai.

The Pathways Program, which debuted in 2015, provides formal opportunities to explore specialized programs using curricula with coursework, hands-on experience and individualized mentorship. Other pathways available to residents include physician-scientist, global health and patient safety. All four programs begin during the second year of the internal medicine residency.

The medical education pathway is the first of these pathways to become available to residents who matched in the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center internal medicine residency program. Residents who complete the pathway will have a portfolio showing proficiency in teaching curriculum development, medical education and research.

“Becoming a medical educator requires learning how to develop scholarship, including curriculum design, skills assessment and survey creation, as well as teaching using newer modalities, such as social media,” says Desai.

The pathway will teach residents how to advance medical education and teach effectively, he says. That could involve creating modules that practice how to identify a rare condition, for example, or how to share difficult news with a patient.