Teaching/Scholarly Activities

601 Quality Improvement Elective I

Instructors: Jodi Abbott, M.D.

Contact: Makeba Kent   email: makeba.kent@bmc.org    telephone: 617 414-7481

Number of Students: one-three per assigned faculty member

Period to be offered: One month

Description of elective:

In the current context of health care today and into the foreseeable future, health care professionals have two overarching responsibilities:

o Delivering high quality care and constantly undertaking efforts to improve the care they deliver
Medical students who are completing their undergraduate medical training must be equipped with the knowledge and skills that form the foundation for improving care within this context. Students on this elective will work with a faculty advisor with quality improvement expertise to:

o Identify a quality problem in a specific clinical area
o Assess and systematically analyze the problem using quality improvement tools and
o Complete a quality improvement project proposal.

To initiate the knowledge and skills development needed for future quality improvement efforts that will be required in graduate medical education and professionally after training. At the completion of the elective the expectation is that the student will have completed a QI project proposal that can be used to initiate and complete a quality improvement project defined in the Quality Improvement II Elective

Students will have weekly didactics every Monday at 1:30pm. Students are expected to attend. Alternative arrangements can be made (skype) for students unable to attend due to appointment, resident interview, etc.

** Students need to have project and preceptor before submitting an add.  This information should be sent to Makeba Kent before adding the course.  All adds and drops must be approved/signed by Makeba Kent**


602 Quality Improvement Elective II

Instructors: Jodi Abbott, M.D.

Contact: Makeba Kent   email: makeba.kent@bmc.org    telephone: 617 414-7481

Number of Students: one-three per assigned faculty member

Period to be offered: One month

Description of elective:

Students on this elective will work with a faculty advisor with quality improvement expertise to:
• Assess and systematically address a problem previously identified in QI Elective I using quality improvement tools and
• Actively participate and/or lead the design and implementation of a quality improvement project to address that quality problem
• Complete a quality improvement project abstract and summary

To provide the knowledge and skills needed for medical students to develop future quality improvement efforts that will be required for residency. At the completion of the elective the expectation is that the student will have completed a quality improvement project involving two tests of change (PDSA). QI projects will be used to create an abstract and project summary that can be submitted for presentation at a local/national meeting, funding for further support of QI project, and/or certification from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School’s QI Practicum Certificate.
Pre-requisite for Quality Improvement Elective II is successful completion of the requirements for Quality Improvement Elective I including the assigned IHI Open School modules (QI 101-105).


603.1 Patient Advocacy and Community-Based Resources in Clinical Medicine

Course Director: Megan Sandel, MD

Department of Pediatrics, Vose 3

Telephone: (617) 414-3680

E-mail: Megan.Sandel@bmc.org   (contact Dr. Sandel via email regarding scheduling)

Location:  Boston Medical Center

Number of Students: 1-2 students per block

Period to be offered: Blocks 9-20

Description of Elective:

During their time at Boston Medical Center, BUSM students are allowed the unique opportunity to serve a patient population that is reportedly 70% underserved and includes patients who may be low-income, immigrants, non-English speaking, or some combination of all three. The health of these patients is often intimately tied to social, economic, or other non-biomedical circumstances, requiring their medical teams to craft a treatment plan that accommodates these social needs. While health care providers are well trained to address medical issues, this elective is designed to provide more intensive training around social determinants of health and the various ways physicians can advocate for social change to improve the lives of their patients.

This elective will focus on helping medical students explore the social determinants of health and how physicians can assess and manage these social determinants of health as part of an inter-professional team. The main faculty mentor will be Dr. Megan Sandel, MD, MPH, who will meet with each student and help to coordinate the clinical setting in which the student will spend the four week block.  Students will spend 50-75% of their time in this clinical setting or community based organization devoted to underserved patients (examples include Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program; GROW clinic, or Project RESPECT Clinic).  Students, in collaboration with Dr. Sandel, will choose a BMC faculty mentor at their clinical site who is invested in patient advocacy and a subject expert in the student’s area of interest.  The other 25-50% of time will be spent doing an advocacy focused research or intervention project. Details of the elective must be worked out in a meeting with Dr. Sandel at least 1 month prior to the start of the elective block.


604 Illness Narratives

Instructors: Sarah Wingerter, M.D.   email: sarah.wingerter@bmc.org

Contact: Therese D’Agostino   email: therese.d’agostino@bmc.org    telephone: 617-414-5576

Number of Students:  12

Period to be offered: This is a longitudinal course offered once per academic year.  Please contact the course instructor and course coordinator to get a detailed list of the dates, so you can match these against your schedule, and ensure that you will not have any course conflicts which will prevent you from meeting this course’s requirements for preparation and attendance.

  • You will not be fully enrolled in the course until you have received approval from the course instructor and course coordinator, even if this shows up on your schedule from the Registrar’s office. Failing to get approval for this will result in your not receiving credit for this learning experience.
  • Students must submit a signed letter of commitment, stating they will attend the requisite number of sessions to participate and receive credit. The course coordinator will send this document to students, and it must be signed and returned prior to the first session.
  • Students are expected to be physically present for at least three sessions; those who are offsite may opt to Skype/Zoom into sessions for up to three classes.

Please note that this is a (2) credit course

Description of elective:

The Illness Narratives elective is intended for fourth-year medical students to engage in reading illness narratives and to reflect on patient encounters and experiences through writing exercises done in a supportive group setting. Students will come away with increased comfort in reflecting on and experiencing patient narratives on illness.

It is an opportunity for student to engage with peers in a space dedicated to reflection. Conversation will be facilitated by readings (books read outside of class and shorter pieces read during class), as well as in-class writing exercises that will be discussed as a group. These exercises are intended to teach the student ways to reflect on experiences within medicine, such as patients’ experiences with illness, as well as fundamental, but often under-discussed, topics such as grief, loss, death and dying. Unlike other courses, the elective will be longitudinal, meeting regularly over a period of months so as to encourage students to reflect on clinical experiences as they are happening.

It will take place at BUSM. Students will meet in a group setting once a month, and classes will be facilitated by the course instructor as well as occasional guest faculty facilitators. There will be no patient encounters directly related to the elective. The expected teaching hours will be 12 hours (six sessions, each two hours long). Students will be responsible for completing outside readings that will account for 30 hours outside of direct class time. The elective will be a valuable experience for students as it will provide a space for students to reflect in a group setting during the final formative clinical year of medical school. During the clinical years, students often accumulate patient encounters that lend themselves to deeper conversation and reflection. Our goal is to use the illness narrative as a tool to (1) encourage a greater appreciation for the patient narrative overall, and (2) facilitate conversation among students about their clinical experiences.

Students will be assigned to read a number of books outside of class time. Books have been requested from the BU Library Course Reserves. The majority of writing exercises will take place during class time; however, students will be encouraged to maintain their writing practice outside of class. Students will also be responsible for handing in a final compilation of their writing (or other creative project demonstrating their understanding and appreciation for the illness narrative) at the end of the elective. The final assignment will also allow for evaluating students’ skills in writing as a means of reflection.