Connect with Aquifer at COMSEP 2021

Aquifer will be attending the COMSEP Annual Meeting from April 6 – 9, 2021, taking place virtually, to share updates on our developing projects and help faculty and staff make the most of their subscriptions.

If you are attending the meeting, we hope to see you at:

Workshop: Coaching For the Development of Master Adaptive Learners

Friday, April 9 from 11:45am – 1:15pm EDT

Coaching For the Development of Master Adaptive Learners

Presenters: Melissa Held, MD; Michael Dell, MD; Aditee Narayan, MD; Sherilyn Smith, MD

The pace of the development of new biomedical knowledge and of changes in healthcare systems requires physicians and medical students to develop the ability to seamlessly adapt new information and concepts into their existing mental frameworks in order to become experts. Never has this dynamic been more in evidence than during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which new knowledge, skills, and processes of care have arisen at a furious rate. In order to develop into what the American Medical Association has termed Master Adaptive Learners, medical students, typically highly-motivated learners, will benefit from coaching from their clinical teachers to facilitate their self-regulated learning and help them develop the habits of mind required for making clinical decisions in modern practice.

In this workshop, we will present a schemata of the Master Adaptive Learner process and introduce novel tools to aid family physician faculty as they coach their students towards their development of cognitive mastery. The workshop will combine didactic presentation and practical application of the new coaching tools so that attendees will come away with useful skills to bring back to their home institutions. The presenters will encourage active discussion and group participation so as to benefit from the shared experience in the room in developing best practices for making use of the novel cognitive coaching framework and tools.

Learning Objectives:

  • On completion of this session the participants should be able to describe the elements of Master Adaptive Learning Schemata and how they apply to clinical learning.
  • On completion of this session the participants should be able to differentiate between coaching and advising or teaching.
  • On completion of this session the participants should be able to apply coaching techniques to facilitate learners creating personalized plans for mastery learning using real world examples of formative assessment information.
  • On completion of this session the participants should be able to develop local curricula to teach these principles to community faculty.

Programs & Partners Session

Wednesday, April 7 from 1:45pm – 2:45pm

Connect directly with your COMSEP colleague members of the Aquifer Pediatrics Course Board.  Bring your questions, ask for integration and teaching advice, and get the latest updates on:

Individual Training or Q&A

If you aren’t able to make the Programs & Partners session but would like to catch up to discuss our developing projects or get answers to your questions, please contact Cate Hancock, Aquifer RelationshipManager to schedule a time to meet or talk by phone.

We look forward to seeing you!

More Recommended Presentations

We recommend attending the following presentations by Aquifer Educators Consortium members:

Friday, April 9 from 1:45 – 3:15pm EDT

Presenters: Anton Alerte, MD; Mary Brown, MD, MS; Antonette Spoto-Cannons, MD; Jennifer Koestler, MD; Melissa Held, MD; Mariann Kelley, MD; Joanne Crowley, MD; Melanie Rudnick, MD; Amy Fleming, MD, MHPE; Patricia Joyce, MD

This workshop involves collaboration among faculty from five different universities to address the subject of medical student remediation. Student success may be challenged due to a number of factors including knowledge deficits, gaps in reasoning, failure to perform in a team setting, and/or professionalism lapses.

Learning Objectives:

This workshop will provide faculty with a framework for helping the student who has failed or is failing.

Participants will:

  • List tools useful for early identification and categorization of the student with difficulty
  • Identify best practices in remediation
  • Identify strategies to create individualized remediation plans
  • Identify obstacles, including implicit biases, which may interfere with remediation plans

Aquifer at STFM 2021

If you’re registered for STFM’s Medical Student Education Conference on February 1-4, 2021, be sure to catch our video presentations and join your colleagues from the Aquifer Family Medicine Board for a Zoom chat. We look forward to connecting with you at this year’s virtual meeting.

On-Demand Video Presentations

You don’t want to miss these presentations–block some time on your calendar to catch these recordings.

Aligning the National Clerkship Curriculum, the NBME, and Aquifer Family Medicine’s Learning Objectives for Enhanced Curricular Mapping

On-demand Video Presentation (21 minutes) – Sign in to watch with your STFM conference registration

Presentation OD63 under EPAs, LCME and OSCEs

This is a joint presentation between members of the Aquifer Family Medicine Course Board, a representative from the STFM National Clerkship Curriculum, and an STFM representative to the NBME. We presented about the alignment of the learning objectives and issues we have discovered in our curricular mapping. 

Presenters:

  • David Anthony, MD, M.Sc (Brown University, Aquifer Family Medicine Senior Director)
  • Jason Chao, MD (Case Western Reserve University, Aquifer Family Medicine Assessment Lead)
  • Katie Margo, MD (University of Pennsylvania, Aquifer Family Medicine Curriculum Lead)
  • Annie Rutter, MD (Albany Medical College, STFM National Curriculum Editorial Board)
  • Robert Hatch, MD (NBME Family Medicine Exam Task Force)

Coaching for the Development of Master Adaptive Learners

A workshop-turned-video

On-demand Video Presentation (30 minutes) – Sign in to watch with your STFM conference registration

OD94 under Preceptors: Recruitment, Retention, and Relationships

Explore how the Master Adaptive Learner Framework applies to clinical learning and how Aquifer’s formative assessment approach supports the development of mastery learning. We will demonstrate a coaching approach to facilitate a rich student-faculty dialogue and create personalized plans for mastery learning using real-world examples from Aquifer’s formative assessment.

Presenters:

  • David Anthony, MD, M.Sc (Brown University, Aquifer Family Medicine Senior Director)
  • Jason Chao, MD (Case Western Reserve University, Aquifer Family Medicine Assessment Lead)
  • Sherilyn Smith, MD (University of Washington, Aquifer Chief Academic Officer)
  • Leslie Fall, MD (Aquifer Chief Executive Officer)

Zoom Rooms: Connect with Your Peers

Monday, February 1: Anytime from 2:30-3:30pm CT  (Direct Zoom Link)

Tuesday, February 2: Anytime from 2:30-3:30pm CT (Direct Zoom Link)

Can’t make those times but want to catch up? Contact us to set a quick meeting.

Drop-in to our “Conference Partners Meet and Greet” session and connect with members of the Aquifer Educators Consortium and our dedicated Aquifer staff to:

  • Chat with your colleagues on the Aquifer Family Medicine Course Board
  • Hear tips for improving your use of Aquifer Family Medicine (in the pandemic and beyond)
  • Bring your questions on anything Aquifer (using the cases, assessment, how-to’s, etc)
  • Hear the latest updates on our formative assessments for test-enhanced learning (pilot coming in 2022) and Aquifer Sciences Integrated Illness Scripts (available July 1 to Aquifer Curricular Partners) 

Aquifer Family Medicine Course Board

Senior Director: David Anthony, MD, MSc (Brown University)

Curriculum Lead: Katie Margo, MD (University of Pennsylvania)

Teaching & Learning Lead: Elizabeth Brown, MD (University of Rochester)

Assessment Lead: Jason Chao, MD (Case Western Reserve University)

Associate Editors:

  • Tomoko Sairenji, MD, MS (University of Washington)
  • Martha Seagrave, PA-C (University of Vermont)
  • Augustine Sohn, MD, MPH (University of Illinois)
  • John Waits, MD (University of Alabama)
  • Jordan White, MD, MPH (Brown University)

Amit Pahwa, MD Honored by CDIM


Aquifer congratulates Amit Pahwa, MD, Aquifer High Value Care Teaching and Learning 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. Amit K. Pahwa is receiving this award based on his extensive work advancing medical education on the topic of High Value Care (HVC), both at Johns Hopkins University and on a national scale. At Johns Hopkins, Dr. Pahwa serves as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics; Director, Internal Medicine Sub-internship; and Associate Director, Pediatrics Core Clerkship. In addition, he is a leader in high value care education serving as Co-Director of his department’s HVC Committee, and Physician Lead of the interprofessional, interdisciplinary Johns Hopkins Health System High Value Care Committee. This committee won the Society of Hospital Medicine’s 2018 Excellence in Teamwork in Quality Improvement Award, and Johns Hopkins’ 2017 Innovations in Clinical Care Award.

Dr. Pahwa’s national work includes serving as an Executive Director on the High Value Practice Academic Alliance, which he worked to form in 2016 to create a national forum for academic institutions to collaborate on quality improvement, research, and education related to high value care. The alliance now includes more than 80 partner institutions in 18 different medical specialties, and hosts an annual national conference.

At Aquifer, Dr. Pahwa is an integral part of the Aquifer High Value Care Course Board, serving as Teaching and Learning Lead and Associate Editor. All of us at Aquifer congratulate him 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.

Dr. Valerie Lang Honored by CDIM


Aquifer congratulates Valerie J. Lang, MD, MHPE, Aquifer’s Academic Director for Assessment, on receiving the Ruth-Marie E. Fincher, MD, Service Award. This award, presented by the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM) at their Annual Meeting, recognizes a CDIM member who has made an outstanding contribution to the organization. CDIM is a member organization of the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM).

Dr. Lang’s current and past national committee work for AAIM and CDIM includes serving on the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM) Council; as CDIM President (2014-2015); on the AAIM Board of Directors; and as Co-Chair of the AAIM High Value Care Working Group. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Hospital Medicine Division at the University of Rochester. Dr. Lang directed the Internal Medicine Clerkship for 13 years and the Medicine Sub-Internship for 15 years. She currently directs the Hospital Medicine Faculty Development Program and is the inaugural director of the Meliora in Medicine course and thread through all 4 years of the medical school curriculum.

As the Aquifer Academic Director for Assessment, Dr. Lang provides strategic guidance to inform Aquifer’s non-profit mission of advancing health professions education. She is currently leading the development of innovative new formative assessments for a range of disciplines, and led a multi-institution validation study of Aquifer Internal Medicine’s Clinical Decision-Making Exam (formerly the Key Features Exam) that was recently published in Academic Medicine. She is also a past Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Aquifer Internal Medicine course.

All of us at Aquifer congratulate Dr. Lang on receiving this 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 Sciences Takes the Stage at National Meetings

The latest work from the Aquifer Sciences Leadership Team will be presented at a range of national educators organization meetings this spring. Aquifer Sciences is a partnership between Aquifer and the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) to develop and share teaching and learning tools that integrate the basic and clinical sciences. Aquifer Sciences is currently in Phase Two of development, with teams from 12 pilot schools authoring virtual patient cases and integrated illness scripts for clinical conditions routinely encountered in core clinical rotations.

Aquifer Sciences’ goal of promoting the integration of clinical and basic sciences will take the spotlight at the Southern Group on Educational Affairs meeting where Dr. Leslie Fall will deliver a plenary talk on March 28. Presentations and workshops on integrated illness scripts have been accepted at the annual meetings of the Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics (COMSEP), American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), and Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM).


Plenary Talk

Re-Engineering Integration of Clinical and Basic Science Learning as a Road to Entrustment

Southern Group on Educational Affairs Meeting: March 28

Leslie Fall, MD

This talk will explore new evidence-based teaching methods and learning tools to re-engineer cognitive integration of basic science into clinical practice to entrust better decision-making. These methods have the power to re-engineer the teaching relationship between basic science and clinical faculty towards the mutually held goal of improving the safety and efficacy of patient care provided by trainees.

Learn More


National Meeting Presentation Schedule

Medical schools struggle to meaningfully integrate basic science core concepts into the clinical curriculum, particularly in a manner that leverages understanding of causal mechanisms underlying common conditions to inform clinical reasoning. In this session, participants will collaboratively develop “integrated” illness scripts and consider applications of this cognitive integration method into their curricula. Illness scripts have been shown to be an effective method by which novices learn clinical reasoning skills. Cognitive research demonstrates that expert scientists and clinicians have difficulty “unpacking” their knowledge and making it available to teaching novice learners. Conversely, students often struggle to transfer basic science knowledge to clinical problem-solving. Development of ‘integrated’ illness scripts, whereby the key clinical findings of a given condition are clearly combined with the underlying basic science mechanism for each finding, is an effective means for integrating basic science concepts into students’ cognitive representations of core clinical conditions. Following a brief discussion regarding barriers to transfer and an evidence-based mini-didactic, participants will work in small teams to develop integrated illness scripts that demonstrate the basic science foundation for the clinical presentation of common pediatric conditions.

Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics Annual Meeting:

Un-Blinded Me With Science: Integrating Basic Science Into Clinical Reasoning Using “Integrated” Illness Scripts

Wednesday, March 20: 10am – 12pm

Presenters: Michael Dell, MD; Robin English, MD; David Harris, PhD; Kathryn Miller, MD; Leslie Fall, MD


American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Annual Conference:

Using Illness Scripts to Meaningfully Integrate Basic Sciences into Clinical Reasoning

Thursday, April 11: 11 – 11:30am; Lincoln 3

Presenters: Leslie H. Fall, MD; Leah Sheridan, PhD


Academic Internal Medicine Week:

Using “Integrated” Illness Scripts to Meaningfully Integrate Basic Sciences into Clinical Reasoning

Tuesday, April 16: 9:45 AM–11:15 AM

Presenters: L. James Nixon, MD, MHPE, Leslie H. Fall, MD, Valerie J. Lang, MD, Felise B. Milan, MD

David Harris Receives IAMSE Award for Excellence

Aquifer is pleased to announce that David Harris, PhD, received the Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching and Innovation at the 2018 International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) Annual Meeting in early June. Dr. Harris is a science lead on the Aquifer Sciences Leadership Team.

The IAMSE Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching and Innovation honors an IAMSE member who has made significant innovations to the field in a short time toward teaching, learning, and assessment. The award is given to candidates with a record of innovation in teaching and engagement within IAMSE. The award winner is chosen by the Educational Scholarship Committee and approved by the IAMSE Board of Directors.

Dr. Harris is an Associate Professor of Physiology at the University of Central Florida. He received his PhD in physiology from the Temple University School of Medicine and later served as the course director of medical physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine. After moving to the University of Central Florida, Dr. Harris developed his scholarly interests in active learning pedagogies and the use of high fidelity patient simulation with pre-clerkship medical students. In addition to his work with Aquifer Sciences, he serves on committees of the American Physiology Society and is an Associate Editor of Advances. He is the winner of numerous awards, including the APS New Investigator Award, the APS Teaching Career Enhancement Award, and the UCF Pre-Clinical Innovative Teaching Award.

David Harris joined the Aquifer Sciences Initiative at its inception, co-leading the development efforts for Physiology concepts and learning objectives. In 2017, David joined the Initiative’s leadership team and was instrumental in re-organizing the project’s focus around body systems and seeing the Physiology concepts to completion. The success of this critical component of the curriculum could not have been achieved without David’s strong leadership of this student-driven team. “All of us at Aquifer, and especially the Aquifer Sciences team, were thrilled to see David honored at IAMSE this year. He is an integral part of this project and a talented educator. We look forward continuing to work closely with David as the next phase of the project moves ahead,” said Leslie Fall, Aquifer Executive Director and Aquifer Sciences Design/Faulty Development Lead.


Aquifer (formerly MedU) is a thriving, collaborative community of healthcare education leaders deeply committed to driving innovation in teaching and learning. The Aquifer Consortium brings together more than 200 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.

Amit Shah Receives AGS Educator Award

Amit Shah, MD, FACP, AGSF

Aquifer congratulates our own Amit Shah, MD, FACP, AGSF, of the Aquifer Geriatrics Course Board, on being chosen as American Geriatrics Society Outstanding Mid-Career Clinician Educator of the Year Award. Dr. Shah was chosen as this year’s winner for his work as an inspiring mentor, attentive clinician, and innovative development of web-GEMs (now Aquifer Geriatrics).

The Outstanding Mid-Career Clinician Educator of the Year award is given by the American Geriatrics Society to a junior faculty member for an impressive body of work in geriatrics education, with significant contributions to training students and advancing geriatrics education. The award was presented on May 4 at the AGS National Scientific Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Dr. Shah led the development of web-GEMs (now Aquifer Geriatrics), and served as the co-Primary Investigator of the Reynolds grant which created the course. He continues the work of providing high-quality virtual patient cases to geriatrics learners as an Associate Editor for the Aquifer Geriatrics Course Board.

Currently, Dr. Shah leads the longitudinal geriatrics curriculum and co-directs the internal medicine residency continuity clinic as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Arizona. Previously, Dr. Shah was the Clerkship Director for Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical school, where he worked to integrate geriatrics into the curriculum. During his time in Texas, he also helped to facilitate the Southwestern Aging and Geriatrics (SAGE) program, was elected to the UT Southwestern Academy of Teachers, and received a number of teaching awards.


Aquifer (formerly MedU) is a thriving, collaborative community of healthcare education leaders deeply committed to driving innovation in teaching and learning. The Aquifer Consortium brings together more than 200 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.