Characteristics of academic medicine change agents as revealed by 4th-year medical students’ reflections-on-practice

David Green, Gauri Agarwal, Daniel M. Lichtstein, Chase B. Knickerbocker, Michael Maguire, Gabriel E. Shaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Problem: At present, formal training in adult learning principles, educational theories, and educational methods is not a core objective of most medical school curricula. As academic medical centers aim to develop the next generation of medical educators, students must be provided an opportunity to learn educational principles, engage in supervised teaching activities, and develop experiences in academic medicine to foster interest early in their development as educators. Intervention: We developed a longitudinal medical education elective for fourth-year medical students, which was comprised of attending five seminars, leading 15 teaching sessions, formulating a medical education project, and writing a reflective essay. The seminars covered the history of medical education in the USA, adult learning theory and teaching principles, use of various teaching strategies and formats, construction and organization of curricula, effective models of evaluation and feedback provision, and principles of educational research. Context: This exploratory quasi-experiment incorporated a concurrent mixed methods data collection approach via pre- and post-seminar surveys and narrative reflection essay document analyses. Impact: Learners revealed favorable changes in their self-efficacy and self-perceived knowledge and attitudes towards medical education. A qualitative analysis of the reflective essays revealed five thematic categories (learning impacts, medical educator growth, leadership growth, medical school reflections, and future professional plans) and thirteen sub-categories. Students found many opportunities to implement high-quality educational projects, expressed commitment to pursuing teaching careers, and felt better equipped to assume a leadership role as change agents in academic medicine. Lessons Learned: Findings are likely relevant to critical stakeholders who advocate for the inclusion of formal educational skills training into medical education curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-102
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic medicine
  • Educational skills
  • Leadership
  • Medical teaching
  • Senior elective

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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