MedEdMorphosis 2021

Last updated: 2/18/2021  /  Click here for page content contact


Realizing the Exceptional Learning Experience

In response to internal and external opportunities for growth, and as part of the OneU Strategy Refresh, UUSOM leadership announces MedEdMorphosis 2021: a comprehensive campaign to refresh and unify the medical education program




Last updated: 2/18/2021  /  Click here for page content contact

Rationale for MedEdMorphosis: UUSOM has a long history of excellence in its medical education program as manifested by its reputation, legislative support, and achievements of graduates. However, at the start of 2021, a convergence of factors calls for an urgent course correction. These factors include:

  1. Vulnerabilities exposed by COVID pandemic in our current systems of education
  2. Health disparities throughout Utah associated with racism, lack of diversity, inclusion and equity
  3. Persistent, challenges in the learning environment resulting in undesired outcomes, including mistreatment
  4. Increasingly competitive residency match
  5. Workforce demands for more physicians, especially in rural and underserved areas
  6. Burden of debt on graduates, constraining career choices
  7. Opportunities afforded by a new medical school building
  8. Opportunities afforded by Step 1 scores being reported as P/F only after January, 2022
  9. Philanthropy providing new resources
  10. Advancements of digital technologies


Last updated: 2/18/2021  /  Click here for page content contact

MedEdMorphosis Vision Statement: Through MedEdMorphosis, we will optimize health in Utah and the intermountain region through more explicit and coordinated attention to:

  1. Anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion
  2. Learning partnerships with providers and health systems, including in rural and underserved areas
  3. Value-driven, science-based, technology-enhanced, exceptional learning experiences
  4. Flexible, mastery-based advancement which fosters professional identity development and ensures readiness for successful careers


Last updated: 2/18/2021  /  Click here for page content contact

Guiding principles. Building on the momentum well established by core educators under the OneU banner of the Exceptional Learning Experience, MedEdMorphosis will establish and identify and follow a core set of guiding principles. These principles reflect our commitment to:

  1. Relationships
  2. Community
  3. Diversity
  4. Partnerships
  5. Rural/underserved primary care
  6. Professionalism
  7. Excellence
  8. Continuous improvement
  9. Learning-centeredness


Last updated: 2/18/2021  /  Click here for page content contact

Alignment with OneU Strategy Refresh: MedEdMorphosis will advance health in Utah by aligning guiding principles, resources, and activities with UHealth and the University at large



Envisioned State

Last updated: 2/18/2021  /  Click here for page content contact

Envisioned State of Medical Education Program as a result of MedEdMorphosis

This a summary of components of the medical student education program as they currently exist and as they are envisioned as a result of MedEdMorphosis 2021. Please consider items in bold text as nonnegotiable ‘givens.’ These items were decided upon by Dr. Michael Good, Dean SOM, and Dr. Wayne Samuelson, Vice Dean for Education, with input from the Associate Deans for Admissions, Curriculum, HEDI, Finance, Graduate Medical Education, and Student Affairs. (See below, for recent events which informed the selection of these givens.) Space is added in each section (with ?’s) for additional components not yet included.

Current Vs Envisioned Medical Education Program



Last updated: 2/23/2021  /  Click here for page content contact


Guiding coalition:


1. We will engage students, residents, staff, faculty, and school leaders in an inclusive, open process, including focus groups, town halls, task forces, and frequent large group 'check-ins'

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2. With a small leadership team at the core, we will organize larger, intersecting groups to ensure representation of perspective, delegation of responsibility, and division of labor, thus allowing us to optimize our most valuable resource – time






Last updated: 4/22/2021  /  Click here for page content contact



This figure visualizes the timeline of MedEdMorphosis past, present, and future, including important factors that have informed the initiative:



Due to the importance/urgency of the situation, as described in the rationale and stemming from a desire to link MedEdMorphosis with the new building to open in 2023, our goal is to begin a first phase of implementation as early as 2022.

The Gantt Chart below displays the anticipated timeline for MedEdMorphosis.  This timeline will be reevaluated and updated throughout the process to best represent our accomplishments and goals to date:





Last updated: 2/18/2021  /  Click here for page content contact

Goals/outcomes for Retreat Monday, January 25th: At the conclusion of the Retreat, participants will understand:

  1. The vision for MedEdMorphosis
  2. How university leadership shares in and supports the vision, including Ruth Watkins, Michael Good, Wayne Samuelson, associate and assistant deans, department chairs, etc.
  3. The why and the urgency for change
  4. How ongoing initiatives inform, feed into, or become part of MedEdMorphosis
  5. Current “givens”  and their rationale 
  6. When and how students, residents, staff and faculty will have opportunity to share reactions,  give input, and get involved
  7. The work ahead and how progress will be monitored, communicated and adjusted

Action Items

Last updated: 4/22/2021  /  Click here for page content contact

Post Retreat Action Items:


Exceptional Learning Experience

Last updated: 2/18/2021  /  Click here for page content contact

Strategically Transforming Medical Eduction

As medicine and health care continue to evolve, the nature of medical education is also changing. Medical schools have an obligation, rooted in their missions, to train students and educators to be prepared for this changing landscape.

The School of Medicine (SOM) is undertaking a strategic transformation process in education starting in 2019 to emphasize community, relationships, and professionalism in the learning culture. The initiative is called the Exceptional Learning Experience (ELE) and will be linked to University of Utah’s Exceptional Education Experience.

Click here to learn more about the ELE

2021 Core Educator Retreat Content

Last updated: 2/18/2021  /  Click here for page content contact

Dr Michael L Good, CEO of University of Utah Health, Dean of the University of Utah School of Medicine, and Senior Vice President of Health Sciences: 

Welcoming Remarks and Introduction to MedEdMorphosis:



Dr Wayne M SamuelsonVice Dean for Education School of Medicine:

The Launch of MedEdMorphosis: a comprehensive review and refresh of the School’s Medical Student Education Program:



Dr Sara M Lamb, Associate Dean of Education, Curriculum:

Next Steps for MedEdMorphosis:



James A Agutter, Director of the Spark Design Initiative and the Director of the Bachelor of University Studies in the Office of Undergraduate Studies:

Innovation and Creativity with MedEdMorphosis:



Dr Sara M Lamb, Associate Dean of Education, Curriculum:

2021 Core Educator Annual Awards:



Last updated: 6/2/2021  /  Click here for page content contact
Contact Shari Veverka about attending any upcoming events



Envision Phase Kickoff Event Wrap-Up

Faculty, staff, students, and community partners came together in late April 2021 to engage in conversations surrounding the ideas generated during the needs assessment phase of MedEdMorphosis. A Team-Based Learning (TBL) method was employed, requiring small groups to review and select from a range of choices to address challenges inherent to medical education.

Below are some of the priorities and discussion points that arose during these events:

  • Adding early clinical experiences to the curriculum is of great interest to our stakeholders. The movement to pass/fail on the Step 1 exam allows for early clinical exposure with less impact to scores.
  • Teaching equity and cultural humility is fundamental to improving our diversity and creating an exceptional learning experience for students. These topics should be integrated throughout the curriculum.
  • A student portfolio system may decrease the bias and subjectivity of numerical assessment scales and provide a body of evidence to illustrate student success for residency consideration.
  • Digital teaching and learning platforms should be made available 24/7 for self-directed learners, however, learning objectives must drive the use of technology.
  • Student learning is optimized through long-term mentoring relationships with preceptors. Thought must be given to how preceptors are assigned as coaches to ensure a proper fit, with opportunities for adjustment.
  • In-person, experiential learning is key to the development of our students’ professional identities. These experiences cultivate longitudinal relationships between students and preceptors and allow for more individualized approaches to learning.
  • Ideally, students are provided opportunities to tailor their education to their career goals, but personalization must be balanced with exposure to an array of experiences.
  • The flipped classroom model promotes effective, interactive learning in the foundational sciences. This method requires clear objectives, well-aligned with regular assessments.
  • Most agree that we should graduate students with passing course grades, Step exams, and achievement of competency on EPAs and educational program objectives. There is continued debate as to whether those achieving these standards prior to completion of four years of medical school should be allowed to graduate early.

The above list is not exhaustive – many other ideas gathered during our needs assessment phase and kickoff events will be explored during the Envision Phase of MedEdMorphosis. We hope that you will consider lending your expertise to this process through involvement on a working or advisory team. To learn more, please contact Manager of Strategic Operations, Shari Veverka at


Executive Cabinet


Last updated: 4/20/2021  /  Click here for page content contact


University of Utah School of Medicine Executive Cabinet:

Wayne Samuelson, Dean of Medical Education

Sara Lamb, Vice Dean of Education
Cynthia Best, Vice Dean for Finance & Administration
Paloma Cariello, Associate Dean for Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
Ben Chan, Associate Dean, Admissions
Mark Harris, Associate Dean, Graduate Medical Education
Tom Hurtado, Director, Student Affairs
Amanda Macdonald, Associate Director of Administration
Boyd Richards, Educational Specialist Director
Adam Stevenson, Associate Dean, Student Affairs
Shari Veverka, Manager of Strategic Operations
Rick Wiggins, Associate Dean, Continuing Medical Education