Medical Education Distinction Track


Introduction / Overview

The Medical Education Distinction Track helps medical students who are interested in pursuing careers in academic medicine to develop knowledge and experience in both the theory and the practice of education. Successful completion of the track will be recognized on the student’s official UA transcript.

This track is designed to strengthen a student’s skill in multiple competencies, including Interpersonal & Communication Skills (ICS), Practice-based Learning & Improvement (PLI), Professionalism (PRO), and indirectly, in Medical Knowledge (MK) and Patient Care (PC). This program will provide a student who completes it with a strong background and possible head start in teaching during residency, in selection to training programs that include educational components or tracks, and possibly in future selection to faculty-level positions.

The Medical Education Distinction Track includes both coursework and non-classroom activities, and spans the four years of medical school. The program includes required coursework and non-curricular activities, elective coursework, and a capstone project and presentation during Transition to Residency. Students also have the option to maintain a reflective journal related to their experiences in medical education throughout the program.

Each student in the track completes the training for Human Subjects protection by the end of the Preclerkship period or before beginning work on a research project.

Each student in the track is matched with a faculty mentor who meets with the student at least once each semester and advises the student for all 4 years in the program.

Goals and Objectives

The goal of the program is for students to learn and apply educational theory, knowledge, and skills relevant to medical education.

The MEDT has specific objectives for students to accomplish in the following areas:

  • Teaching and curriculum development
  • Assessment of learners
  • Mentoring and advising (characteristics of good mentoring, how to actively seek mentors and advisors, responsibilities of mentee, advisee)
  • Educational leadership and administration (participation in committees and evaluation of curriculum, accreditation, outreach, advocacy, community work, networking, collaboration)
  • Scholarly approach to education (research, publications, reviewer of publications, local, regional and national presentations)

Capstone Journal

Each student in the Medical Education Distinction Track has the option to maintain a capstone journal for the duration of their time in medical school and to discuss the journal with their MEDT mentor at their regular meetings.

The goal of the capstone journal is to help the student and the mentor become aware of and thoughtfully explore the student's ideas and goals in medical education, identify challenges of teaching and possible solutions – in particular learning situations or settings, and promote self-awareness of your knowledge and abilities – both current strengths and those the student would like to develop. This reflective journaling process is designed to help the student develop knowledge and skills to be an effective medical educator.

The scope and format are intentionally flexible and open. The student will record learning experiences they encounter throughout medical school. These should include experiences the student considers to be effective as well as those they considers ineffective. Examples of possible entries would be comments on lecture styles, methods for teaching in didactic sessions or in clerkships and other clinical experiences; notes on seminars or other talks; and tasks, assignments, or other activities. Reflective journals should include journal articles, ideas for the student's capstone project, questions to discuss with the Mentor, etc.

Capstone Project

The Capstone Project is a scholarly project that allows the student to explore deeply into a focused question in medical education, think creatively, and demonstrate mastery of key concepts in the field. The scope and format are intentionally kept flexible and open. The student should regularly discuss the project with his/her MEDT Mentor, including design or planning and progress. The final written report and presentation are due during March of the student's MS4 year.

Distinction Track Requirements, Phase-By-Phase

Students in the Medical Education Distinction Track are expected to complete the requirements of the Track according to the programmatic schedule below in order to remain in good standing in the Track. Individual requests to deviate from this schedule must be submitted in writing to the Director, and will be subject to approval by the Director and the Steering Committee.

Preclerkship Phase

  • Apply to program by November 1 of the first semester (fall).
  • Receive Mentor assignment and arrange to meet with Mentor no later than the end of the second semester (spring) to begin planning Capstone Project. 
  • Complete "Principles and Practice of Medical Education" core course in the second semester (spring).
  • Start capstone journal (optional). 
  • Meet with Mentor in the third semester (fall) to finalize capstone project proposal.
  • Submit proposal for Capstone Project by November 1 of the third semester (fall).
  • Complete online training for Human Subjects Protection.

Clerkship Phase

  • Maintain capstone journal (optional). 
  • Begin work on the capstone project.
  • Provide progress report for capstone project by January 1.

Transition to Residency Phase

  • Maintain capstone journal (optional).
  • Enroll for 2 units of Independent Study for Capstone Project.
  • Complete at least one of the following elective courses ("selective;" details available at website:
    • MED 896B: "Teaching in Medicine: CBI Facilitation." A minimum of 45 hours is required; 1 unit.
    • MED 896C: "Teaching in Medicine: Skills for Teaching Physical Exam.”  A minimum of 45 hours is required; 1 unit.
    • CMM 896: "Gross Anatomy Lab Assistant." A minimum of 45 hours is required; 1 unit.
    • MED 896D or 896E: "Teaching in Medicine: Peer Tutoring 1 or 2." A minimum of 45 hours is required; 1 unit.
    • FCM 896K: “Planning & Assisting in Teaching Undergraduate class based out of the College of Medicine.”  Between 45-90 hours is required; 1-2 units.
  • Provide progress report for capstone project to steering committee by July 1 and again by December 1.
  • Meet with Mentor to discuss and receive feedback on drafts of Capstone Project.
  • Complete capstone project:
    • Submit final written report on Capstone Project by the first Monday in March.
    • Complete oral presentation of Capstone Project during the week of the first Monday in March.
  • Present Capstone Project at College of Medicine annual Medical Education Research Day.


How to Apply:
If you would like to be considered for acceptance into the MEDT, please compile the items below into a single PDF document and submit it to the Director and Coordinator of the MEDT by November 1.
  1. Basic Information: name, class year, contact information
  2. Letter of Intent: this is a brief letter (one page or less) detailing your interest in medical education and any experience you have in education, medical or otherwise. This letter will help in matching you with your faculty mentor, so please highlight any specific interests you may have in the area of medical education.
  3. Resume

Director:  Athena Ganchorre, PhD, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (     Coordinator: Travis Garner (