An Update from Medical Education: April 2019

Thursday, April 11, 2019

From the Desk of the Deputy Dean for Education

Hello, and welcome to the College of Medicine – Tucson Education update. A big congratulations to all of our faculty, staff and students who presented at this year's Western Group on Educational Affairs (WGEA) Conference in Reno, Nevada. Experts from our college presented on an array of topics, including medical student mental health, tools for distance learning, and preventing medical student burnout. Attendees included Athena Ganchorre, PhD; Amy Rowe; Ah Ra Cho, PhD; Paul Gordon, MD, MPH; Tejal Parikh; MD; Conrad Clemens, MD, MPH; Kathy Smith, MD; Violet Siwik, MD; Sean Elliot, MD; Morgan Battaglia; Jamie LaGrandeur; Breanna Sherrow, PhD; Siddesh Gopalakrishnan; and Maria Gabriella Moros.

In this issue, learn about our Student Affairs Office and its unique career advising/mentor program for medical students. Also, don’t forget that the graduation ceremony for our Class of 2019 will take place on Thursday, May 9. I encourage you to attend and support our students. 

We will be back regularly, highlighting educational programs underway along the training continuum and giving you news and updates.

Kevin F. Moynahan, MD
Deputy Dean, Education
Professor, Medicine

Student Affairs

The Office of Student Affairs is led by George Fantry, MD, associate dean for student affairs and admissions. Dr. Fantry and three Assistant Deans for student affairs -- Richard Amini, MD, Kathy Smith, MD, and Violet Siwik, MD -- as well as an Assistant Dean for Career Development, Bill Rappaport, MD, are the backbone of our mentoring and career advising system. The Student Affairs deans are faculty from a variety of specialties including internal medicine/gastroenterology (Dr. Fantry), family and community medicine (Dr. Siwik), psychiatry (Dr. Smith), emergency medicine (Dr. Amini) and surgery (Dr. Rappaport). In addition to the general mentoring/advising responsibilities described below, the Student Affairs deans also have specific areas of focus including wellness, diversity and inclusion, research and other extracurricular activities bridging undergraduate medical education and Graduate Medical Education (GME).

Our career advising and mentoring system can be summarized as follows. Each medical student class is divided into four Societies Houses named after mountain ranges surrounding Tucson. Each house is led by an associate dean or one of the assistant deans. Dr. Fantry currently oversees the Tortolita House, Dr. Siwik oversees the Rincon House, Dr. Amini oversees the Santa Rita House and Dr. Smith oversees the Catalina House. These ‘House Deans’ meet with students one-on-one to address immediate needs, as well as to schedule regular career counseling sessions with their assigned students. The objective is to provide students with a dedicated advisor who knows them well and can provide individualized advising and support throughout their years in medical school. Additionally, the designated House Dean has scheduled meetings to advise and assist each student through the residency application process and writes the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) for each of the students in his or her house. Student Affairs deans work collaboratively with Societies mentors, specialty advisors and program directors to give accurate and consistent career advice.

Get involved!  

Contact Dr. Fantry ( or one of my colleagues listed above to participate as a specialty advisor for students pursuing a career in your specialty.

Longitudinal Curriculum

Pathways in Health and Medicine (PHM)

On Monday, April 1, first-year medical students learned about nutrition in their Pathways in Health and Medicine (PHM) course under the direction of Interim Director, Colleen Cagno, MD. First, community members led a panel discussion on identifying and addressing food Insecurities in our community. Students learned about food insecurities in the local community as they relate to social determinants of health and patient care outcomes.

Then students were then introduced to a virtual family of four referred for nutrition counseling using animated videos organized by Patricia Lebensohn, MD, and provided by the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine. 

With this family in mind, students left campus to shop local grocery stores, along with faculty members Patricia Lebensohn, MD, Mari Ricker, MD, Leila Ali-Akbarian, MD, Dr. Cagno and Registered Dietitian Amber Hansen. At the grocery stores, students were tasked with designing a balanced day of meals for the virtual family of four. The meal plan was based on the MyPlate food guide and limited to $20 per day.

Back on campus, students then presented their menus to the class, while sharing healthy snacks of fruits, vegetables and nuts.

This curriculum runs parallel to the blocks during the first 18-months of medical school. The intent of this curriculum is to provide a longitudinal behavioral, medical humanities and social sciences curriculum for the medical education program to ensure greater alignment between biomedical science training and the preparation of future physicians required for meeting broader social expectations.