Concentration in Medical Education

Concentration Director

Richard Dollase, EdD, Director, Office of Medical Education 
Email Address:
Phone:  401 863-3198
Mailing Address:  Box G-B 215, Providence, RI  02912

Other participating faculty:
Luba Dumenco, MD, Department of Pathology and Office of Medical Education
Paul George, MD, Department of Family Medicine and the Office of Medical Education
Thais Mather, PhD, Office of Medical Education
Dale Ritter, PHD, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Students participating in the Scholarly Concentration in Medical Education develop an interdisciplinary perspective on the teaching and learning processes related to patient-centered health care. Specifically, the concentration program integrates the study of education, philosophy, and psychology to enable students to gain a holistic view of medical education in the context of academic medicine and clinical care. The seminars and workshops focus on active teaching-learning processes including current assessment strategies in the field of psychometrics.  Concentrators gain competence in lecturing, leading small groups, tutoring, motivating and counseling students, and assessing individual student progress and a student’s small-group and class performance.

Moreover, in developing an educational philosophy that is based on moral and ethical standards related to clinical practice, students draw upon the literature in the field of philosophy and clinical ethics.  Students also gain perspective on the underlying principles related to information technology and its impact on teaching and learning in the classroom and in medical practice. 


Timeline of Activities

Summer after Year I:  Students are involved in curriculum-development activities related to developing or revising first- or second-year preclinical courses. Students may also be engaged in developing preclinical electives or constructing self-learning modules related to the first-year or second-year curriculum.

Year II:  Students participate in teaching and learning seminars on Wednesdays that address such topics as students’ various learning styles; how to lead a small group or how to effectively use technology in teaching and in patient care. In the second-year, students are expected to assume a leadership role in teaching and mentoring other preclinical students. They often serve as coordinators and tutors  in  the Doctoring Teaching Academy, the Content Tutoring Program or a preclinical elective they have created. Medical Education Concentrators may also give workshops related to such topics as health disparities or aged-based stereotyping or serving as small-group leaders, participate in undergraduate basic science courses that are offered on Wednesday mornings or afternoons.

Years III & IV:  After completing a core clerkship, medical education concentrators are asked to serve as Teacher Assistants in the third-year Clinical Skills Clerkship, the transition course preparing third-year students for the clinical experience. As a Teaching Assistant, the medical education concentrator leads daily seminar sessions that further develop third-year students’ clinical skills and working knowledge about how to “survive” and succeed in the core clerkships. The Teaching Assistants also evaluate third-year students’ clinical performance and their professionalism by administering and grading an end-of-the course OSCE.        

Students may also undertake an independent study at the end of the third year or during the fourth year to prepare a final project. Medical Education Concentrators who are interested in teaching in the preclinical classes may also be able to work in a basic science course or the Doctoring course during the fall or spring semester. 

Learning Objectives

The medical education concentrators 1) develop an interdisciplinary perspective on the teaching and learning processes related to patient-centered health care; 2) employ active-learning strategies that enable them to become highly effective teachers and mentors; 3) self-reflect and effectively self-evaluate their effectiveness as tutors, teachers, and mentors.

Specifically, the medical education concentrators will demonstrate competence in

  • Lecturing and preparing effective PowerPoint Presentations
  • Leading a small-group discussion
  • Tutoring and counseling other students
  • Applying the latest educational technology to improve instruction
  • Developing curriculum
  • Creating  written examinations and  OSCE cases
  • Evaluating the clinical performance of other students
  • Utilizing self-evaluation strategies to assess their teaching effectiveness


Teaching:  During their teaching and tutoring, students are observed and evaluated by faculty who are members of the Medical Education Concentration faculty and by other faculty members who may supervise students as tutors and/or teacher assistants in preclinical and clinical courses.  There are also peer observations and evaluations by other medical students who may be concentrators or in the Teaching Academy.

Curriculum Development:  In planning, developing and implementing new curriculum modules, students are assigned faculty mentors who review and critique their curriculum at each stage of development; and then, if feasible, the faculty mentors observe the students teaching some of the teaching material. The faculty also review the evaluation of the materials by students who participated in the curriculum project. A final report is developed by the Medical Education Concentrators that is reviewed by the faculty mentors and then the students make oral presentations to the Medical Education Concentration faculty.

Portfolio:  Under the supervision of a faculty mentor, the student develops an educational portfolio that details students’ curriculum development and teaching achievements. The portfolio is critiqued by a faculty advisor. The student then makes an oral presentation to the Medical Education Concentration faculty and to other students in the concentration.  


Participating students work closely with Medical Education Concentration faculty, composed of excellent teachers and mentors.  Standardized patients may also be used to help develop and refine the Medical Education Concentrators’ clinical teaching skills. The University libraries have a substantive collection of books and articles on medical education.  

Concentration Related Electives

Teaching Medical Interviewing

Project Examples

1) Develop a curriculum module or workshop in a preclinical course that involves creating an interdisciplinary curriculum unit, helping teaching the material, and evaluating the curriculum innovation. Once the curriculum module has been completed, the student presents the written document for review and then makes an oral presentation to the Medical Education Concentration faculty and other students in the concentration on its educational goals, pedagogy and overall effectiveness.   

2) Undertake an evaluation project related to the effectiveness of an interdisciplinary component of a preclinical course or clinical course, or conduct a study of the effectiveness of one or more elements of the new integrated preclinical curriculum. The written report is reviewed by a faculty mentor and the student makes an oral presentation to the Medical Education Concentration faculty and other students in the concentration.

3) Create and design an interdisciplinary preclinical or clinical elective that focuses on a topic of interest and that employs active-learning strategies and valid assessment protocols. The student offers the elective to 5 or more students. The student develops the curriculum, teaches a substantive part of the material, and receives feedback on its effectiveness from students who take the elective and from a faculty mentor who has reviewed the material and observed a number of the classes. The student then writes a final report and makes an oral presentation to the Medical Education Concentration faculty and other students in the concentration.

4) Teach for a semester or half-a-semester in first- and second-year basic science courses or an undergraduate PLME course and/or the two-year Doctoring course. Collaborating with course faculty, the student develops and implements lesson plans in lecturing or helping lead small-groups; also assesses or critiques the academic and/or clinical performance of students; and works effectively as a team member with senior faculty in the course. The student is systematically observed by faculty and is also evaluated by students in the course. The Medical Education Concentrator keeps a journal of reflections on the teaching experience and develops a substantive reflective essay related to the individual’s strengths and weaknesses as a teacher and mentor; what important “lesson” the student has learned during the teaching rotation; and recommendations for improving the teaching component of the concentration. 

2010 Accepted Students and Scholarly Concentration Projects

Student Project Title Mentor
Anderson, Thomas Teamwork in Medical Education Dr. Richard Dollase
Drapkin, Zachary Improving pre-Clinical and Clinical Teaching Methods by Emphasizing the “Big Picture” Dr. Richard Dollase
Engler, Zachary The Adaptation of Medical Education to Diverse Learning Styles Dr. Richard Dollase
Heneghan, Julia Confronting the Lion in the House: Using Education to Address Late Effects of Pediatric Cancer Treatment Dr. Christine Trask

Maximum Number of Students

We are able to accommodate 5-10 students each year.  

Faculty Mentors

Presently, there are five faculty members who mentor students annually.

Funding Opportunities
(alternatives to Summer Assistantships)

Each summer, curriculum-development funds from the Dean of Medical Education are available to two Medical Education Concentrators interested in developing or revising the preclinical curriculum.