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Former Dexter Fellows share how they improved medical education<span id="docs-internal-guid-586a362b-7fff-31fe-38a7-f8381e4e9f4c" style="background-color: transparent; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&ndash;</span>and gained valuable experience. <br class="t-last-br" /> <br /> <br class="t-last-br" /> <br class="t-last-br" /> <br class="t-last-br" /> <br class="t-last-br" />

Dexter Fellowship Lays the Foundation for the Future

A group of med students in scrubs work on tablets and laptops at a desk. Shown from the shoulders down.

Every year, the Department of Medicine awards the Dexter Fellowship to an early career faculty member who is focused on improving medical education. The program was established in 2006 by Richard N. Dexter, MD, and Phyllis A. Dexter, RN, PhD. Since then, it has produced a robust track record of innovative and exciting projects, such as the Dexter Academy, which was founded and directed by Robert Vu, MD.

Two recent Dexter Fellows, Sacha Sharp, MA, PhD, and Matthew Miles, MD, expressed enthusiasm about their experience in the program and encouraged colleagues to apply.

Dr. Sacha SharpSharp, who is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and a Medical Education Specialist, was awarded the fellowship grant in 2021. She used her grant to develop, implement, and evaluate an anti-racist structural competency program for internal medicine residents.

“I also have an interest in the humanities, art specifically, and wanted to create a project that included the medical humanities for Graduate Medical Education,” she said.

While the pandemic has made recruitment for her program challenging, Sharp said that she’s considering ways to expand this program with the goal of making it a required element of health equity curriculum.

COVID also impacted the development of Miles’ project, but he said that the program’s flexibility enabled him to nimbly adapt his project to the limitations posed by the pandemic.

“The fellowship program is highly supportive while also being incredibly flexible,” said Miles, who is also an Assistant Professor ofDr. Matthew Miles Medicine.

Miles focused on developing the curriculum for internal medicine resident physicians while on their night float rotations, ultimately creating an IU Canvas site and developing and recording faculty-led, interactive sessions.

“Through trial and error, we recognized that we can more readily get faculty and staff involvement in live educational sessions by holding online sessions during atypical hours for academic endeavors,” Miles said.

Following the completion of his fellowship last year, Miles has continued to expand upon the curriculum by developing new topics and researching new ways to recruit faculty.

Throughout, Miles appreciated having the “freedom to develop the project at a pace that integrated well within my established clinical practice,” he said.

Through their projects, Miles and Sharp made considerable contributions to medical education in the Department of Medicine–and, in turn, laid a strong foundation for the rest of their own careers.

Sharp encouraged her colleagues to apply, expressing that the program provides valuable experience in budgeting, recruitment, and the nuts-and-bolts of conducting a research project.

“This will set you up for applying for larger funding opportunities in the future,” she said.

The Department of Medicine is currently accepting applications for the next Dexter fellowship through April 11, 2022. Review the Request for Proposals to learn more about the program and the application process.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Hannah Calkins

Hannah Calkins is the communications manager for the Department of Medicine.