Three faculty receive Loeb Teaching Fellowships for 2008-09

Thomas De Fer, M.D., James Fehr III, M.D., and Mary Klingensmith, M.D., have been chosen for the 2008-09 Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb Teaching Fellowships at the School of Medicine.

The fellowship program was established in 2004 by a gift from the Loebs to advance clinical education and to honor local physicians committed to clinical excellence. Strengthened by a gift from the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation, the program enables the fellows to take time from their regular duties to teach clinical medicine to students and residents. The fellowships began Jan. 1 and will end Dec. 31, 2009.

De Fer, Fehr and Klingensmith were chosen for their longstanding record of excellence in patient care and clinical teaching and for their plans to address new or unmet clinical teaching needs for residents and medical students. Each of the fellows submitted a proposal that focuses on incorporating clinical simulation technology into the traditional curriculum.

“The proposals put forth by Tom, Jim and Mary for the Loeb Teaching Fellowships are true examples of the Loebs’ vision to meet clinical teaching needs at the School of Medicine,” said Larry J. Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “The simulation experiences will further advance the education of our world-class medical students and residents and help to place Washington University School of Medicine at the forefront of this technology.”

“Simulation is an important way to assure experience in and mastery of critical skills that are core to the care of patients,” said Alison Whelan, M.D., associate dean for medical student education and professor of medicine and of pediatrics. “Each of these proposals is innovative and will improve clinical education of Washington University School of Medicine students and residents at Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals.”

“The Barnes-Jewish Foundation exists to generate resources that help our hospital provide excellent patient care, advance clinical research and support the education of health-care professionals,” said Julia Ruvelson, vice president of the foundation. “Our support of the Loeb Teaching Fellowships will make a difference in the quality of future physicians — an investment leveraged through the strength of our partnership with Washington University.”

De Fer, associate professor of medicine, was chosen for his proposal to develop, roll out and evaluate an easy-to-use, computer-based clinical skills curriculum for third-year students in the Internal Medicine Clerkship that will complement their patient-based experiential learning. The curriculum will focus on interpreting such tests as electrocardiograms, chest radiographs and pulmonary function testing, among other areas. The supplemental education would be followed by competency exams and a Web-based evaluation by students.

De Fer has directed the Internal Medicine Clerkship since 1997 and the Ambulatory Case Experience for Students since 1996.

Fehr, assistant professor of anesthesiology and of pediatrics, was chosen for his proposal to develop a simulation curriculum for pediatric acute-care scenarios, such as asthmatic crisis, trauma and cardiac arrhythmias, for students and pediatric residents to better prepare them to evaluate and manage acutely ill children. Since many medical students do not have the opportunity to participate directly in the care of critically ill children, the pediatric simulation will allow medical students and residents to develop the cognitive tools to approach the sick child and manage critical events.

Fehr created and oversees the anesthesiology rotation for pediatric residents and provides instruction to pediatric residents and fellows in the pediatric intensive care unit.

Klingensmith, associate professor of surgery, was among the inaugural recipients of the Loeb Teaching Fellowships in 2005, during which she developed a simulation curriculum for the Simulation Center under way at the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center. For the 2008-09 fellowship, Klingensmith was chosen for her proposal to act as primary instructor in the Simulation Center for medical students and to assist in further development and delivery of expanding the curriculum. In addition, she plans to launch a pilot project to develop and hold patient-safety briefing sessions with Barnes-Jewish Hospital involving medical students, house staff, fellows, nurses and ancillary personnel.

Klingensmith, co-director of the Simulation Center, has been program director in surgery for the Surgery Residency Program since 2001 and established a thriving mentorship program between faculty and residents.

“The impact of these programs will be broad and deep,” Whelan said. “I am grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Loeb and impressed by these three Loeb fellows.”