March Matchness 2016

In just five days, a lot of future doctors will learn where they will do their first doctoring —

Each year, at precisely the same moment – noon on the east coast, 9 a.m. on the west – thousands of graduating medical school students across the country simultaneously tear open an envelope. Inside, there is a single sheet of paper and on it, a handful of words. Those words will inform each graduate where he or she will do their residencies, where each will spend the first several years of their careers as working doctors.

It’s called Match Day. Started in 1952 and operated by the non-profit National Resident Matching Program, the event culminates months of applications and interviews by fourth-year medical school students, each of whom may have visited a dozen or more hospitals and institutions across the country in search of their perfect match. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

UC San Diego Student Satisfaction Survey Includes Special Raffle for Graduate Students

Don’t forget – the 2016 Student Satisfaction Survey is open and it continues until March 11. Upon completion of the survey, students will automatically receive a 20% off coupon to the UCSD Bookstore and be entered into a raffle for an iPad Mini 4 or one of ten $30 UCSD Bookstore gift cards!

All graduate students — including medical students — who complete the survey will be entered in a special raffle for a $50 Amazon gift card.

To participate in the survey, please visit studentsat.ucsd.edu and contact studentsat@ucsd.edu with questions or concerns.

Student Satisfaction Survey Flyer.

Medicine 401 Teaching Award Winners Announced

The winners of the 2015 Medicine 401 Teaching Awards were announced at an awards ceremony on May 27. Granted by the third-year medical students each year, the awards go to residents and attending physicians for their excellence in teaching on the wards at the Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System and the UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest.

The winners:

VA Wards Resident Award: Dr. Tyler Woodell
Hillcrest Wards Resident Award: Dr. Michelle Pearlman

VA Wards Attending Award: Dr. Mara Zulauf
Hillcrest Wards Attending Award: Dr. Darcy Wooten

“There were many kind words of praise and admiration in the comments from the students who worked with Drs. Pearlman and Woodell,” said residency program director Simerjot Jassal, MD. “Congratulations to these outstanding doctors!”

The medical students’ comments included the following.

Dr. Michelle Pearlman

Dr. Michelle Pearlman

Of Michelle Pearlman, MD: … Really focused on teaching … worked hard during the rotation to make sure we were achieving our own goals and learning as much as possible … gave excellent feedback … made great teaching points during rounds … great example of professionalism … will make an excellent teacher … great role model … clear and detailed expectations … we knew exactly what to work on and how to succeed … one of the best residents with whom I have worked … gave frequent feedback enabling me to improve daily … strong leadership skills, a positive attitude, and a great work ethic … will make an amazing GI fellow and attending.

Dr. Pearlman has matched to a fellowship program in gastroenterology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Dr. Tyler Woodell

Dr. Tyler Woodell

Of Tyler Woodell, MD: Always made it a priority to have a teaching point every day … always willing to make sure all of our questions were answered and that we were engaged in patient care … went out of his way to make sure we had a good learning experience … an exceptional model physician who I would recommend to any student as a preceptor and any patient as a doctor … focused on making sure that we learned as much as possible … carved out time to talk through our assessment and plans with us … took time on rounds to talk through key issues with us …both a fantastic role model for compassionate patient care and bedside manner as well as an engaging teacher … clearly loved to teach … not only an outstanding teacher, but also very compassionate with patients.

Dr. Woodell has matched to a fellowship program in nephrology at Oregon Health & Science University.

Faith Fitzgerald Speaking at Medicine Grand Rounds May 1

Presenting at Medicine Grand Rounds on May 1 is Faith T. Fitzgerald, MD, a UC Davis internal medicine clinician and master teacher who is widely recognized for highlighting components of the doctor-patient interaction — from curiosity to storytelling — and demonstrating their importance in medical education and medical care.

She will present on the topic, “Ceremonies of Death.”

Fitzgerald is professor of medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC Davis School of Medicine. She co-directs the UC Davis Medical Humanities Research Group.

One of her most well-known publications is a 1999 essay on curiosity in the “On Being a Doctor” column in Annals of Internal Medicine.

In it, she said, “To participate in the feelings and ideas of one’s patients—to empathize—one must be curious enough to know the patients: their characters, cultures, spiritual and physical responses, hopes, past, and social surrounds…. Both the science and the art of medicine are advanced by curiosity.”

Speaking in the “Great Teachers” series in Grand Rounds at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in 2002, Fitzgerald revealed that she had wanted to be Sherlock Holmes when she was a child. She is recognized for her genius in diagnosis today.

Fitzgerald earned her MD and trained in internal medicine at UC San Francisco and San Francisco General Hospital.

In a statement honoring her in the Department of Internal Medicine Pass the Torch Newsletter in 2009, American Board of Internal Medicine director emeritus Michael A. LaCombe, MD, called Fitzgerald “the single most sought-after visiting professor in the world.”

Recently, the UC Davis School of Medicine Class of 2013 students voted to honor her with their 2013 Outstanding Instructor Award.

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Meet the Incoming Internal Medicine Interns for 2013-2014

On Friday, March 15, graduating medical students across the United States found out which residency programs had accepted them for their advanced medical training. Of those, 38 are the incoming interns in the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Training Program.

The majority of the interns, 26, are beginning the categorical or traditional internal medicine training track, 6 are in the one-year preliminary medicine program, 4 are entering the Combined Medicine/Pediatrics program and 2 are entering the Physician-Scientist Training Program.

Dr. Elaine Muchmore

“I couldn’t be more proud of the interns in the entering class!” said program director Elaine Muchmore, MD (left).

“They will be coming to UCSD from all around the country. They have had unique and diverse experiences and will significantly enhance our current group of outstanding residents.”

Dr. Muchmore, professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology, is vice chair for education in the Department of Medicine.

  • See the photo gallery of the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program’s interns for 2013-2014
  • View a video about Match Day 2013 at the UCSD School of Medicine
  • Find out more about the Department of Medicine residency and fellowship training programs

Medical Students Use Video and Peer Feedback to Refine Their Communication Skills in the Clinic

In a UC San Diego clinic, a patient is describing his symptoms to a medical student. The student asks questions and listens closely to discover the patient’s chief concern.It’s a normal part of her fourth-year clinical training – except that another medical student is observing and filming the entire encounter.

When the visit is over, she’ll watch the video and listen to the other student’s comments about her communication skills.Then he’ll hand her the camera. He’ll interview the next patient, and she’ll do the filming and the feedback.They’re taking part in the Paired Observation and Video Editing (POVE) project at UC San Diego.

The project is testing a new method for teaching and learning the skills that make a doctor a good communicator.

Kristin Bell, MDUC San Diego is one of 10 centers participating in the 3-year POVE project. The project is conducted as a fourth-year elective, MED 472, in the School of Medicine curriculum.

Peer learning is powerful

Year 1 of POVE has just ended, with medical students Christine Lee and Ninad Athale completing the elective last December.“The feedback they gave one another was amazing,” says Dr. Kristin Bell, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine. “They taught each other.”

As Principal Investigator of the POVE Project site at UC San Diego, Dr. Bell is the course director.“It was really great to watch their progress, and it was a unique learning experience for me as well,” she says.“I think it’s very powerful to learn from your peers.”


The goal is to teach the skills that make a doctor a good communicator.


Students produce a “before and after” video

The POVE course is a four-week, full-time intensive in doctor-patient communication. The medical students work in pairs, taking turns at filming and critiquing.All of the filming is done with the patients’ consent.The students meet with Dr. Bell and Ellen Lavin, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, in weekly video review sessions to talk about the interactions they find challenging.

The film footage records their progress.

At the end of the course, the students extract the best “before” and “after” clips and produce a video essay that highlights the interactions they found difficult and the ways they addressed them.


“You can learn a lot from your medical student peers.”


On December 7 of last year, POVE students Lee and Athale presented their video essays at an interactive seminar for fellow students, residents, and faculty.“They did an amazing job,” Dr. Bell says.The students’ videos will become resources for medical centers across the nation after the study is concluded.

UC San Diego part of “a nationwide learning community”

Seeing the videos and having the immediate peer feedback, which Dr. Bell says was delivered with great sensitivity, helped the medical students pinpoint the interactions they found challenging.The goal is to train the students to be their own observers. Once they are able to recognize precisely the communication skills they want to refine, they are better equipped to improve their interactions with patients.

Studies show that when a doctor communicates in an effective and caring way, patient satisfaction goes up and the average length of a clinic visit actually goes down. Both doctor and patient find the experience more positive.


A University of Washington therapist and educator is the POVE project leader.


A total of 4 students from UC San Diego will be part of the POVE study, but more may enroll in the course if they are interested. Dr. Bell is now recruiting two students for the Fall 2008 session.The POVE project is headed by the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington. Larry Mauksch, M.Ed., a University of Washington family therapist and the overseeing investigator, calls it “a nationwide learning community.”Funding for the POVE study comes from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, whose healthcare grants are devoted to advancing caring attitudes in medical professionals.

The participating centers include community-based clinics as well as academic Family Medicine and Internal Medicine departments.

Dr. Bell credits many individuals who have worked to make the POVE project possible here. Many School of Medicine colleagues have been greatly supportive, she says, including Jess Mandel, MD, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME), and the UGME Electives Committee.

Looking to the future

Dr. Bell considers how the POVE experience will influence the medical school curriculum in the future.

“Can you do more peer learning?” she says. “I think you can. You can learn a lot from your medical student peers. It’s instruction from someone you can relate to.”


“It’s powerful to see a video. As a teaching tool, it’s just limitless.”


She hopes that the POVE course concept will eventually be incorporated into the new curriculum in a different form.“As it is, the course is very time consuming,” she says. “When we design a course for the new curriculum, we need to set aside enough time to make it effective for student learning, and at the same time keep it sustainable with the faculty resources available.”“It’s powerful to see a video. As a teaching tool, it’s just limitless.”

More about Kristin Bell, M.D.

Dr. Kristin Bell has been a primary care physician and educator at UC San Diego since 2001. She is based at the VA San Diego Healthcare System’s Vista Clinic, where she is Physician Site Leader.Challenged to help veterans manage chronic pain conditions, she has trained as an acupuncturist and founded an acupuncture clinic at the VA.

A grateful patient nominated her for the American Medical Association’s Young Physician Award, which was granted to her last fall.An emphasis upon doctor-patient communication was built in to her own residency training, she says. She’s a graduate of the Primary Care track in the Medicine program at UC San Francisco.


“For me, the POVE project
is a great learning experience.”


She’s relatively new to video production, but she has a longtime passion for medical education.She chose to develop a new behavioral medicine curriculum in her project for her National Center of Leadership in Academic Medicine (NCLAM) course.It grew into an addition to the third-year Medicine Core Clerkship.

That course also uses video, among other teaching methods, to teach medical students behavioral change counseling and motivational interviewing. The goal is to help patients make healthy lifestyle changes.

It has been a required part of the curriculum here for the past three years.

Dr. Bell acknowledges and thanks her mentors Shawn Harrity, M.D., and Peggy Wallace, Ph.D., for encouraging her and helping her attain success in this area of education.

Dr. Harrity is Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Wallace is Associate Adjunct Professor of Medicine and Director of the Professional Development Center in the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education.

“For me,” Dr. Bell says, “the POVE project is a great learning experience. I learn from the other POVE faculty, and especially from our students.”

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