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

Number of Students:  2 sections, maximum 16 students per sections

Period to be offered: This is a longitudinal course offered once per academic year.  Please contact the course instructor for class dates.

  • Students are expected to attend at least four of the six scheduled sessions. Students will be assigned to 1 section and must attend sessions within their own section only.
  • Students must submit a paper add/drop form, as well as a signed letter of commitment, stating they will attend the requisite number of sessions to receive credit. This document will be available from the course instructor, and it must be signed and returned to receive approval for enrollment in the course.
  • Students will not be officially enrolled in the course until they have received approval from the course instructor, even if this course appears on their schedule from the Registrar’s office. Failure to get approval for enrollment in the course will result in not receiving credit for the course.

Please note that this is a (2) credit course

Description of elective:

The elective is an opportunity for fourth-year students to read published illness narratives and to investigate their own experiences through writing.  Students will gain proficiency in examining, discussing, and responding to topics related to illness, death, and dying as experienced by patients, families, and medical practitioners.

The elective offers a space in which to engage in self-reflection and discussion with peers. Discussion will center on selected readings (longer works read prior to class and shorter pieces read during class), as well as in-class writing exercises shared within the group.  Writing prompts will serve as entry points for exploring experiences ranging from patients’ encounters with illness to grief and loss, topics that frequently arise in medical practice but tend to receive little attention in standard medical-school curricula.

In the third and fourth years of medical school, students begin to amass a variety of clinical experiences that warrant but often fail to receive deeper examination and contemplation.  A primary objective of the elective—and one of its unique features–is to provide a venue for fourth-year students to begin to excavate and articulate some of these experiences. This elective employs the illness narrative to (1) encourage a greater capacity for receiving and interpreting stories of illness, death, and dying, and (2) facilitate conversation among students about their own clinical experiences.

Unlike other courses, this elective is longitudinal, meeting regularly over a period of months and thereby offering students time to integrate their clinical experiences as they occur.  The course takes place at BUSM in a monthly seminar format.   Classes are facilitated by the course instructor.  There may be occasional guest faculty facilitators.  There will be no direct patient encounters during this elective. The course includes 12 hours of in-class teaching (six sessions, two hours each).  In addition, students will be responsible for completing approximately 30 hours of preparation including outside readings and a final project, which may be a compilation of writing or other creative project that demonstrates competence in understanding the illness narrative.

Some assigned readings will be available via the BU Library Course Reserves. The majority of writing exercises will take place during class, but students are encouraged to maintain their writing practice between sessions.

Grading: Pass/Fail