Connect with Aquifer at AACOM 2021

Aquifer will be attending the AACOM’s Educating Leaders 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting from April 20 – 22, 2021, to share updates on our developing projects, academic opportunities, and help you make the most of your subscriptions. If you are attending the meeting, we hope to see you at our virtual booth.

We are very pleased to be joined in our virtual booth by:

Barbara Capozzi, DO, CNS
Clinical Dean
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine- Harlem
Aquifer Teaching & Learning Co-Lead for Osteopathic Education

Erik Langenau, DO, MS, FAAP, FACOP
Chief Academic Technology Officer, Dept of Professional Development and Online Learning
Pediatrician, Dept of Family Medicine
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Aquifer Teaching & Learning Co-Lead for Osteopathic Education

Come join Dr. Capozzi, Dr. Langenau, and our knowledgeable staff in our virtual booth to help troubleshoot your curricular challenges, answer questions, and share the latest news on:

We hope to see you there!

Call for Participation: Aquifer Osteopathic Task Force

Make an Impact: Work with Aquifer to Advance Medical Education

Aquifer—a unique non-profit organization dedicated to advancing healthcare education—is inviting osteopathic physicians to join the 2021 Osteopathic Task Force. The goal of this Task Force is to amplify the voice, interests, and experiences of osteopathic medical educators to Aquifer, and to participate in the review and development of teaching tools for osteopathic educators using Aquifer courses.

With 15 million virtual patient cases completed since our founding in 2006, Aquifer is the leader in developing clinical learning tools for medical and health professions education. Aquifer needs your help ensuring that our learning tools meet the needs of osteopathic physician educators. 

Our Reach

Working with Aquifer, your work will make a big impact on osteopathic medical education. Aquifer’s trusted, rigorous clinical learning tools are used in 66% of U.S. osteopathic medical schools.

Aquifer Osteopathic Task Force Details

Why: To further develop Aquifer’s teaching and learning resources as a valuable tool for osteopathic medical educators.

Who: This is an open invitation to all osteopathic educators who use Aquifer courses. The group will be supported by Aquifer staff and led by:

  • Erik Langenau, DO, MS, FAAP, FACOP
    Chief Academic Technology Officer, Dept of Professional Development and Online Learning
    Pediatrician, Dept of Family Medicine
    Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Aquifer Teaching & Learning Co-Lead for Osteopathic Education
  • Barbara Capozzi, DO, CNS
    Clinical Dean
    Clinical Education Department
    Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine- Harlem
    Aquifer Teaching & Learning Co-Lead for Osteopathic Education
  • Sherilyn Smith, MD
    Chief Academic Officer, Aquifer
    Professor of Pediatrics
    University of Washington School of Medicine

What: The Aquifer Osteopathic Task Force will:

  • Develop and review faculty materials to support the use of Aquifer cases in the osteopathic curriculum
  • Provide input to Aquifer leadership regarding the priorities and unique needs of osteopathic programs

When: The Task Force will work actively for approximately 6 months, with work starting in late spring 2021. Work will include:

  • Monthly video conference calls
  • Working offline on prioritized projects, with work reviewed by the group on monthly calls

If you are interested in joining or learning more about the Osteopathic Task Force, please complete this short application (by May 14, 2021).  

We look forward to working with you to better serve the needs of osteopathic educators and students.

Jen Bierman, MD Honored by CDIM

Aquifer congratulates Jennifer Bierman, MD, Aquifer Student Engagement Co-Lead, on receiving the Louis N. Pangaro, MD Educational Program Development Award. This award, presented by the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM) at their Annual Meeting, recognizes a CDIM member who has contributed to the development of an outstanding educational program. CDIM is a member organization of the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM).

Dr. Jennifer Bierman is receiving this award based on her extensive work integrating interprofessional and online learning related to electronic health records. Her award nomination states that she “successfully led a team to pilot a case in this format and is now creating a library of cases demonstrating different medical specialty and health professions interactions with the electronic health record. Implementation of this project is ongoing but [Dr. Bierman] has created a team who is committed to the dissemination of their findings.”

At the Northwestern University Feinstein School for Medicine, Dr. Bierman serves as Associate Professor of Medicine and Medicine Education and Clerkship Director ECMH (Education Centered Medical Home). A member of CDIM since 2005, Dr. Bierman is a former member of the CDIM Program Planning Committee and has presented multiple plenary and workshop sessions at Alliance conferences. She earned her MD from the University of Minnesota Medical School and completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

At Aquifer, Dr. Bierman is Student Engagement Co-Lead, where she works with the Aquifer Student Advisory Group, a group of medical and health professions students that provide essential feedback on Aquifer’s learning tools. She is also a past member of the Aquifer Internal Medicine Course Board and case author. All of us at Aquifer congratulate Dr. Bierman on this important national honor.


Aquifer is a thriving, collaborative community of healthcare education leaders deeply committed to driving innovation in teaching and learning. The Aquifer Educators Consortium brings together more than 70 healthcare educators across disciplines to collaborate, innovate, and make advances in health professions education. For educators and healthcare providers, participation in the Consortium offers a unique cross-disciplinary peer community and an exciting opportunity for academic scholarship and advancement.

Aquifer Launching New Social Determinants of Health Cases

Aquifer is pleased to announce the upcoming release of our new Social Determinants of Health Course on July 1, 2021. This course will include an overview module and two virtual patient cases to be available free of charge to all teachers and learners, whether or not they subscribe to Aquifer. We are proud to provide universal access to content focusing on this critically important topic in health care education.

As the leading provider of online health professions education teaching and learning tools, Aquifer is dedicated to ensuring that our educational materials do not perpetuate stereotypes in healthcare and education and that our courses incorporate continuous review and contemporary teaching about social determinants of health. The launch of this new course content is one step in advancing learning explicitly related to these topics in our content library.

As of our July 1, 2021 launch, the Aquifer Social Determinants of Health includes three modules:

  • Overview module with general information on social determinants of health and definitions
  • Two virtual patient cases illustrating the impact of language and poverty as social determinants of health. Although both cases cover pediatric patients, the topics and communication skills taught are applicable to patients of all ages. 

Programs with a current Aquifer subscription will also have access to an accompanying educator guide with learning objectives and a new active learning module, providing a ready-to-use optional classroom activity to be used in conjunction with the cases. Subscribers will also be able to view student progress reporting and add the new cases to a custom course. This course, like all Aquifer content, is evidence-based, peer-reviewed, and will be continuously updated.

From Culture in Healthcare to Social Determinants of Health

Aquifer’s previous Culture in Healthcare course was retired on October 22, 2020, in order to thoroughly update the content and teaching about bias, health inequities, and healthcare outcomes. The Aquifer Social Determinants of Health Course builds on reframed versions of two former Culture in Healthcare cases. Cases have been revised to remove language and content related to cultural competency, and thoroughly reviewed to eliminate bias and stereotyping. The shorter, reformatted cases do retain the reflective components that were a part of the original Culture in Health cases.

Programs that requested special access to Aquifer Culture in Healthcare to complete their coursework have access to the archived course through June 30, 2021. As of July 1, the new Social Determinants of Health course will be available as a contemporary replacement for all teachers and learners. If you are currently using Aquifer Culture in Healthcare, please be sure to download any case completion reports that you need for those cases prior to June 30. For more details, view our side-by-side learning objectives comparison for Aquifer Culture in Healthcare and Social Determinants of health.

Commitment to Equity & Inclusion

Following a thorough review of all existing Aquifer cases according to our peer-reviewed and published criteria, our cases continue to be regularly reviewed based on these principles by teams of medical educators, with an eye toward optimizing this process to further ensure that current best practices are consistently integrated across our course library.

Aquifer looks forward to advancing this work and continuing to support faculty and students with contemporary, inclusive teaching resources.

Aquifer Palliative Care Team Seeks Stakeholder Input

The Aquifer Palliative Care Leadership Team is moving forward with the work to create new curricular content about palliative care with the support of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

Right now, this interdisciplinary team of experts from across the fields of medicine, nursing, and social work are actively working on creating a palliative care curriculum for all health professions students. The next step will be creating a new Aquifer course.

Invitation for Feedback: Faculty & Program Leadership

In order to advance this work, the team is seeking feedback from a range of stakeholders that will inform the direction of the work on this project.

At this stage, they are seeking feedback from all medical school and health professions educators in the following roles:

  • Teaching faculty
  • Course or clerkship directors
  • Deans
  • Program Directors

Input from these educators will guide the work of forming the curriculum, learning objectives, and instructional approach for the new content.


All educators in any of the roles listed above are invited to take 5-10 minutes to complete the Palliative Care in Medical & Health Professions Education survey. The survey will be open from February 23 to March 3.

Focus Groups

The Aquifer Palliative Care Leadership Team will hold several focus group discussions about palliative care in medical and health professions education. The feedback from these discussions will augment the survey data to help inform the project work.

Focus Groups are currently full.

Aquifer Palliative Care Leadership Team

Academic Lead: Mandi Sehgal, MD; Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine/Cleveland Clinic

Aquifer Lead: Sherilyn Smith, MD; Aquifer, University of Washington

Team Members:

  • Brynn Bowman, MPA; Center to Advance Palliative Care
  • Karen Bullock, PhD, LCSW, APHSW-C; North Carolina State University
  • Rebecca Edwards, DNP, APRN, ACNP, AOCNP, ACHPN; University of Alabama
  • Susan Merel, MD; University of Washington
  • Kristen Schaefer, MD, FAAPM; Care Dimensions
  • Barbara Reville, DNP, ANP-BC, ACHPN; Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care
  • Paul Tatum, MD; University of Texas at Austin-Dell Medical School