Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bill Cutrer Spotlight

Tell us a little about yourself.
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, and my M.D. with high distinction from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. I completed a Pediatrics residency, chief residency and Pediatric Critical Care fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. I am currently an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM). 

As advisory college mentor for Batson College, I am responsible for providing wellness guidance, career advising and professional development for more than 100 medical students. In addition to my direct student contact, I am also actively involved in the curricular revision process at Vanderbilt. I direct the Learning Communities, the professional development component of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Curriculum 2.0 and the advisory colleges.  I also serves as the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education and have focused on the design, implementation, and ongoing improvement of the Immersion Phase of Curriculum 2.0, the two-year, post-clerkship phase that advances fundamental knowledge in the context of clinical settings.

How is the program helping your professionally?
The program provided me a very solid foundation for launching a career as a medical educator. Knowledge obtained and lessons learned during the program allowed me to jump into the curricular revision process quickly after joining the faculty at VUSM.  The program provided me with a systematic approach to curricular design and assessment, as well as a solid foundation for educational scholarship. I utilize expertise developed in the program daily as I seek to tackle new opportunities for ongoing curricular and assessment improvement here at VUSM. The program gave me a systematic way of thinking about educational issues that continues to allow me to contribute to problem-solving.  I am incredibly thankful for this solid educational foundation developed in the program.

What educational and research projects are you working on?  
I am passionately interested in understanding how students learn in the workplace and how to help them more effectively.  I have published and presented widely on these topics. This driving interest has led to my participation in several national initiatives.  I have the privilege of co-leading the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative Master Adaptive Learner Working Group  which is thinking deeply about how to develop adaptive expertise in medical trainees through a staged self-regulated learning process.  How do we develop and encourage lifelong learning? How do we know if lifelong learning is happening?  These questions drive my inquiry and work. I am also a member of the Vanderbilt core team participating in the AAMC pilot project Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency (Core EPAs). The group is thinking deeply about entrustment and the transition of learners from UME to GME training.

What do you see as a challenge for medical education today?
There are many challenges for medical education today, but I currently find two the most interesting. First, as noted above, I think the development and assessment of lifelong learning is an issue that is central to so many other issues within medical education.  How do we foster this type of mindset and behaviors in our trainees? How does the learning environment impact lifelong learning?  So many intriguing questions!  The second major challenge I see is related to the tension between true competency-based education and normative grading/ranking so often requested by GME programs. I think there is much to be learned in our field about this tension, and the impact it has on learner growth and development.