Program Award: Office for Student Affairs Career Advising Program, Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences
The Uniformed Services University (USU) School of Medicine Office for Students Affairs (OSA) leads the career advising program, providing information, resources, and individualized guidance across the medical student life cycle. Foundationally, the program is rooted in the pillars of Careers in Medicine (CiM), integrates the resources and tools found on the CiM site, and encourages students to further utilize CiM resources. The career advising program is largely run by the associate dean for student affairs and assistant dean for clinical sciences, both active duty physicians, with additional support from our assistant dean for pre-clinical sciences, a prior active duty doctoral-level psychologist, and the assistant dean for wellbeing, a PhD who brings the perspective of a spouse of a military physician.
Our students are in the unique situation of embarking not only on a medical career but also a military career, and we work to support their needs along both tracks through their care consideration process. USU students matriculate with a range of backgrounds including prior-service enlisted and officers, students coming directly from undergraduate school, and students with prior career experiences. This results in a wider range of developmental and demographic profiles than is commonly seen in matriculating classes. We recognize this and work across many avenues to support the individuality of our students in their career needs and goals.
The program's comprehensive touch point approach helps ensure we are both normalizing experiences and concerns and providing personalized advising that takes into account the academic strengths of the student, their work/life expectations and goals, where they seek (and find) fulfillment, the specific specialties they are attracted to, and any military operational goals. Our students have the opportunity to experience a wide range of military and clinical scenarios to inform their career goals and our advising program helps them think through these goals and advise on the pathways to realizing them.
The USU career advising program is intentionally designed to be integrated across the curriculum to provide space for the deliberate delivery of information that is timely and topical based on the current academic offerings, workload, and cognitive load. OSA works collaboratively with the Executive Curriculum Committee, its various sub-committees, and Module/Course/Clerkship Directors to ensure adequate time is allocated for the career advising program and to strategically embed our co-curricular activities into the academic calendar. Students are well-supported by their clinical teams to fully participate in all required, 1:1 advising sessions.
One particular highlight is the faculty development program Faculty Allyship Curriculum, available to USU faculty and aimed specifically at preparing them for their advising roles with students. Faculty who complete this program receive a certificate and a lapel pin to assist students in identifying these faculty both in their pre-clerkship as well as clinical medicine rotations.
Faculty Advisor Award: Joseph Martinez, MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Joseph Martinez, MD, associate dean for medical education and learning environment in the office of medical education at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has consistently demonstrated throughout his training and career an interest in and aptitude for teaching, advising, and mentorship. He is passionate about helping others to explore career options early in their training and to make informed and confident decisions regarding specialty choice. In fact, Dr. Martinez's previous appointment (assistant dean in student affairs) was specifically for him to develop and implement an AAMC CiM curriculum at UMSOM, and he continues to serve as the CiM liaison.
Dr. Martinez introduces the CiM curriculum in students' first week of medical school. He reviews various career pathways and medical specialties, introduces CiM resources and tools, encourages students to take the CiM assessments, and incorporates personal anecdotes and data to support students in their journey. At the end of this first week of medical school, students are left feeling prepared and equipped with the various tools and resources they need (both through CiM and at UMSOM) to navigate their unique professional journeys. From the start, students identify career development, generally, and CiM, specifically, with Dr. Martinez.
While in student affairs, Dr. Martinez contributed to the development and implementation of a homegrown curriculum management website, MedScope, which includes data tracking tools used to advise students in the residency application process. In 1:1 meetings with student affairs faculty, students received personalized and strategic advice based on historical data. This tool has been used for over ten years and remains an important tool in residency advising, helping to reduce overall applications while improving match success. Dr. Martinez is also nationally recognized for his advising in emergency medicine as well as advising students interested in the combined emergency medicine-internal medicine path, having contributed to a review of “Combined Residency Programs in Internal Medicine” (Journal of Emergency Medicine, 2019), which provided practical advice for applicants nationally and utilized the CiM four-phase career planning framework. What's more, Dr. Martinez has also been instrumental in establishing a house advisory system, which supports faculty mentors and provides a tiered mentoring approach for all students, and, as an active member of the UMSOM wellness committee, is committed to student wellness.
As one former student says, "Beyond being one of the most capable advisors in medical education, Dr. Martinez provides a warmth and compassion that extends beyond students’ medical career interests. He cares about every facet of the students he works with..., and he nurtures an empathetic community at the UMSOM to make sure students do not neglect their wellness while pursuing their medical goals."
Support Staff Award: Stacey Walters, MEd, University of Illinois College of Medicine
Stacey Walters, MEd, director of student affairs at the University of Illinois (UIC) College of Medicine (COM), is highly effective in establishing relationships with students, faculty, and staff. Stacey is valued for her outstanding knowledge, but perhaps even more so for her inclusive style of collaboration, which provides a welcoming environment for students, staff, and faculty alike. She's a leader whose unique characteristic is leading through collaboration.
"Listen to how Stacey advises students. Just sit in on a session. You'll learn so much,” says the assistant dean of residency preparedness. In fact, the assistant dean said much of their rapid learning about career advising and student affairs came through Stacey.
Stacey Walters carries out incredibly successful projects from inception to completion; with many new efforts since 2020. Stacey keeps expanding the college’s career initiatives, including developing a spreadsheet monitoring system for M4s from the start of the year and throughout the interview trail, which allows physician house advisors and other staff advisors to advise in real time their students at risk of going unmatched. All staff advisors meet weekly or every other week from June through Match Day to review students' progress and provide much-needed support. What's more, Stacey was instrumental in creating the learning community advising program and provides all of the faculty development for the physician house advisors on CiM, application, and match resources. Stacey's training of advisors and faculty members has dramatically improved career advising for our students, which has been reflected positively in our Graduation Questionnaire results.
"Stacey is an amazing advocate for us medical students, and I know that many of my classmates hold her in high regard. She is invested in us as people and provides us with so much help to pursue our career aspirations," says a recent graduate. "Keep her at UIC COM at all costs. Don't let her go elsewhere. She is exceptional!"