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Medical Education

The Spark: Medical Education Podcast

The Spark: Medical education for curious minds presents the people and stories behind medical education at UCSF and our community of learnersThrough The Spark, we feature perspectives and insights from faculty, staff and students in the School of Medicine’s medical education community, delivered over each episode monthly. Hosted on Sound Cloud and available on iTunes.

Podcast episodes/interviews with students and faculty will illustrate how our medical school’s curriculum supports and fosters core values of the UCSF physician. 


We hear from John Davis, MD, PhD, the School of Medicine's Associate Dean for Curriculum who joined UCSF in July.  In an interview with Associate Dean for Medical Education, Kevin H. Souza, MS, Dr. Davis tells us why and how he’s set to help lead the roll-out of the medical school’s Bridges curriculum. And you’ll learn about his unique expertise in LGBT issues in medicine, what the hot buttons are, and why it matters to health professionals. Building on the theme of healthcare equity and diversity, you’ll also hear from medical student Danielle Cipres, winner of this year’s Dean’s Prize in Health and Society, whose leadership in bringing more equitable care and women’s health resources to Latin Americans has set her on track to be another UCSF physician who cares without barriers. 


In this episode, we talk to medical student Ogonna Nnamani, who explains the concept of spiral learning – a key part of the Bridges model – and how it impacts her training at UCSF and her work as a physician in training. We also interview Susan Masters, PhD, the School of Medicine's former Associate Dean for Curriculum, who retired last month and who helped develop the medical school’s Bridges curriculum. We’ll hear part of Susan’s journey over 30 years on faculty at UCSF, from pharmacology professor to curriculum architect, and what she found most inspiring and impactful during her career as an educator and leader at UCSF.


In this episode, we hear from fourth-year medical student Christine Zachek, who explains her research on Chagas disease, a tropical parasitic illness, plus her upcoming research project in Brazil. We also talk to Professor of Medicine Dr. Peter Chin-Hong about his research into the detection and treatment of infectious diseases caused by the Zika virus, yellow fever, and dengue, how a continually curious scientific mind keeps pace with the rapid advances in this field  


This episode is a special edition devoted to back-to-school week, and a welcome to this year’s incoming class of first-year medical students. We talk to three School of Medicine education deans as they reflect on their medical career highlights, plus their medical school mentors and inspirations.

Stay tuned for interviews with Vice Dean for Medical Education and Executive Vice Dean for the School of Medicine​ Dr. Catherine Lucey, Associate Dean for Students Dr. Lee Jones, and Associate Dean for Competency Assessment and Professional Standards Dr. Karen Hauer. Find out what topped their list of medical school memories and motivators. 


In this episode, we celebrating the 11-year anniversary of PRIME, the Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved. PRIME-US is a five-year track at the UCSF School of Medicine and the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program for students committed to working with urban underserved communities.

We talk to medical student Adali Martinez, who’s completing her final year of the PRIME program, and who completed community engagement work with the organization Mission Girls, an after-school program for girls in grades 3-8 in San Francisco’s mission district.

We’ll also hear about the program’s goals, mission and successes from Dr. Leigh Kimberg, PRIME program director for 3.5 years and UCSF Professor of Medicine; and Dr. Monica Hahn, who was a student in the very first PRIME class 11 years ago and who is now director of evaluation in inquiry, for PRIME, as well as assistant clinical professor at UCSF’s Women's Health Primary Care center. 


This month’s episode is devoted to breast cancer awareness month. We talked to second-year medical student April Liang about her research project on ‘deep learning’ about breast mammography data and how this may help improve breast cancer screening. April’s work is part of the Explore track of the Bridges Curriculum’s Inquiry program, and her work with mentors Dr. Dexter Hadley and Dr. Hari Trivedi. We also interviewed Dr. Hope Rugo, a UCSF medical oncology and hematologist, who directs the UCSF Breast Oncology Clinical Trials program. Dr. Rugo gives perspectives on the latest advances in breast cancer research and patient care at UCSF. 


This episode is part 2 of a special edition to welcome this year’s incoming class of first-year UCSF medical students. We’ll hear from the School of Medicine Dean Dr. Talmadge King, as he reflects on medical career highlights, inspirations, and mentors such as Alvin Poussaint, MD. We also talk to first-year medical student Ryan Badiee with his thoughts on what’s most exciting embarking on medical school at UCSF.

This episode focuses on faculty excellence and professionalism in medical education. We’ll hear from Associate Professor of Medicine Dr. Stephanie Rennke, a recipient of this year’s Maxine Papadakis Awards for Professionalism and Respect. We also talk to a fourth-year medical student who nominated faculty for this year’s teaching excellence awards which were presented in October.