Teaching/Scholarly Activities

601 Quality Improvement Elective I   (non-clinical elective)

Instructors: Lisa Caruso, M.D.

Administrative Contact: Jack Dalton-Program Manager      email: jpdalton@bu.edu

Telephone: 617 358-7485

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


602 Quality Improvement Elective II   (non-clinical elective)

Instructors: Lisa Caruso, M.D.

Administrative Contact: Jack Dalton-Program Manager      email: jpdalton@bu.edu

Telephone: 617 358-7485

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, 801 Albany Street, Second Floor

Telephone: (617) 414-3680

Contact: Nayab Ahmad

Email: Nayab.Ahmad@bmc.org

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  (non-clinical elective)  (course will not be offered 2022/2023 academic year)

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


605 Teaching Clinical Skills 2  (non-clinical elective)

Instructors: Christine Phillips, MD and Joseph Rencic, MD

Contact: Kerri Dooley-Lincoln       Email: Kldooley@bu.edu

Telephone: 617 358-9083

Number of Students: 40-60

Period to be offered: this rotation runs mid-November through the end of January and meets once a week for 6 weeks (deadline to drop November 4th)

Description of elective:

The Teaching Clinical Skills 2 elective provides fourth-year students with an opportunity to teach in the ward prep portion of Doctoring 2 course.  Each MS4 will mentor 2-4 MS2’s 6 times during their HPE course. On ward prep days, the MS4 will go to their assigned ward (e.g., MP 4 east) and find and consent patients for their students to interview prior to 1 pm. At 1 pm, they will meet with their MS2’s and introduce them to the patients that they will interview. MS4’s will directly observe and coach MS2’s while they interview and perform physical exams and prepare case presentations. They will provide both verbal and written feedback based on their observations. Students will sign up for either Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday afternoons from 1-3:30 pm for the 6 ward prep sessions. If a student is away (e.g. for an interview), they can make up the session covering another group of MS2’s on a different day of the week on that or another week. There will be an orientation session at the beginning of block 15 and teaching development session mid-elective.

The student must attend all 6 sessions (unless they have an excused absence) and complete the 6 weekly formative evaluations of their cohort of MS2’s to receive 2-weeks of elective credit.

This is a Pass/Fail course.  Add/Drop Form Required.  Add/Drop Form


205.3 Medical Education Curriculum Projects  (non-clinical elective)

Instructor: Molly Cohen-Osher, M.D.

Contact: Jack Dalton     Email: jpdalton@bu.edu  Telephone: 617-358-7485

Number of Students: 2 students per month
Period to be Offered: contact Jack Dalton for available blocks

Description of Elective:

The Medical Education Curriculum Projects elective provides for a MS4 student the opportunity to use a systematic instructional design process to discover, design, develop, and deploy in four weeks an instructional project on a content area of their choice. The focus of the elective is to learn and apply nontraditional curricular formats (e.g., integration of basic sciences and clinical content using technology, online modules, innovative study tools, and simulations.)  Each student meets with a Faculty member as the content expert and the Elective Director a month in advance of the elective to approve the topic, and then weekly to review the deliverables and decide how the project will be implemented.

GOAL: The purpose of this elective is to guide the MS4 student through the development of an instructional project for the current BUSM curriculum, presentation at a conference, posting to an educational portfolio, or for their future roles as physicians, educators, and researchers.


By the end of the elective, the BUSM 4th year student will be able to:

  • Prepare a content outline based on a review of literature of the project content using 3-4 subtopics (upon approval of topic and method by Faculty as a content expert and Elective Director)
  • Write a goal and learning objectives for an instructional project
  • Select the instructional and evaluation strategies for the project
  • Implement the project’s design into a developmental draft of the project for assessment by the mentors and a beta class
  • Report on the beta-test findings, revise if necessary and implement the final project


CURRICULUM– The curriculum includes this sequential weekly process:

  • Week 1: Selection of topic and instructional method and competitive analysis
  • Week 2: Writing a content outline, goal and learning objectives for project
  • Week 3: Developing a draft of project
  • Week 4: Beta-testing with a sample population, revision, and final project

This elective requires four sequential weeks to complete the project and cannot include absences due to travelling for matching interviews, weddings, or other family events.

EVALUATION – The assessment of the student’s performance of the learning objectives will be done by both the Faculty member and the Elective Director on a weekly basis of deliverables. The weekly milestone grades are:

  • Week 1: 10% Discover the topic, targeted audience, and instructional needs
  • Week 2: 10% Design the Project
  • Week 3: 30% Develop the Project
  • Week 4: 50% Deploy the Project

Both the Faculty member and Elective Director will provide weekly formative feedback and the summative evaluation will be posted as Honors, High Pass, Pass, or Fail. If the student fails to meet the weekly deliverables, then both the Faculty member and Elective Director will provide a remediation plan. Any incomplete deliverables due to unexcused absences will receive a failing grade.


313.0 Teaching Clinical Skills 1  (non-clinical elective)

Instructor: Elizabeth Ferrenz, M.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine   email: eferrenz@bu.edu

Contact: Kerri Dooley-Lincoln       Email: Kldooley@bu.edu

Telephone: 617 358-9083

Number of Students: By arrangement (Contact Kerri Dooley-Lincoln to schedule elective.   Add/Drop form is required)

Period to be offered:  this rotation runs mid-August through the end of October and meets once a week for 10 weeks (deadline to drop August 5th)

Please Note: Students will be granted only 2 weeks fourth year elective credit for this rotation

Description of Elective:

BUSM-IV medical students will learn how to observe, teach, and provide constructive feedback to BUSM-I medical students learning interviewing skills in the Introduction to Clinical Medicine Course. The BUSM-IV student instructor will be assigned a group of 4-5 first year students. The BUSM-IV instructor will be responsible for teaching these students how to conduct a basic patient interview, how to compose a basic patient write-up, and how to verbally present a clinical case in a concise manner. Prior to each teaching/interviewing session, the BUSM-IV students will meet with Dr. Ferrenz to discuss training issues. The purpose of this elective is to provide the 4th year student with clinical teaching skills and to enhance their own interviewing skills.