Program for Academic Clinician Educators

In 2016, the Department of Medicine created the Program for Academic Clinician Educators (PACE) to support the career development of its clinician-educators. These faculty members make crucial contributions to the success of our department, by developing and improving innovative educational programs, and engaging in educational research to guide how we teach and assess health professions learners.

The PACE program will provide each Scholar with financial support, which may be used for medical education research, innovative program development in education, salary support and/or career development of the Scholar. The Division Head or Dean must pledge to protect at least 10% of the effort/time of the Scholar for the duration of the award. Each Scholar will be expected to participate in an education scholarship “Works in Progress” group for additional project support and mentorship, and program progress will be evaluated annually with continued year of funding contingent on demonstrated progress during the initial year of support.

PACE Scholars 2017-2021

The Department of Medicine Announces the 2021-22 PACE Scholars

Brandon Fainstad
Brandon Fainstad, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine, director of the Rapid Access and Procedure Clinic and interim resident clinic director at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center. Dr. Fainstad’s PACE project is a single-blinded randomized control trial that will evaluate the impacts of Just-in-Time (JiT) and Just-in-Place (JiP) simulation-based mastery learning (SBML) on four commonly performed internal medicine primary care procedures. This study will clarify the impacts this training has on resident procedural performance, intra-procedural cognitive load, and patient experience. Dr. Fainstad aims to demonstrate the low-cost feasibility and reproducibility of such a program and the development of a standardized procedural proficiency assessment tool.
Marina Mutter
Marina Mutter, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hospital Medicine. Dr. Mutter’s PACE project aims to create a clinical skills performance dashboard in the context of a pre-clinical clinical skills course. Dr. Mutter will evaluate the effectiveness of the dashboard in promoting clinical skills development among medical students, and in displaying and utilizing clinical skills assessment data for faculty. The utility of the dashboard as an assessment of learning and as an assessment for learning will be compared to prior approaches to clinical skills assessment in a clinical skills course.
Ann Navarro-Leahy
Ann Navarro-Leahy, MD, is an instructor of medicine specializing hospice and palliative medicine housed in the Division of General Internal Medicine. The goal of Dr. Navarro-Leahy’s PACE project is to develop an allyship communication skills training program, in the context of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), that will foster an inclusive environment for working, learning, and patient care. This project builds on existing University of Colorado resources to fill the identified gap of providing the language and a flexible communication roadmap to become an active ally. Dr. Navarro-Leahy’s project includes developing a VitalTalk iteration for allyship, called “AllyTalk: A Novel Communication Curriculum to Navigate Microaggressions.” AllyTalk utilizes handouts, short videos, role plays, and simulated patient cases that will offer an opportunity for health care providers to become impactful allies, and obtain the skills to address microaggressions confidently and thoughtfully throughout their careers.

Returning Scholar (competitive renewal)


Amiran Baduashvili, MD, is a visiting associate professor of medicine in the Division of Hospital Medicine. Dr. Baduashvili’s PACE award provided funding and time to design and create an online asynchronous self-paced course in Bayesian reasoning. Such an approach to clinical reasoning involves assessment of disease probabilities, integration of new diagnostic information (a physical exam finding, lab result or imaging finding) into the probability estimates, and formulating management decisions that are well-informed and founded in objective evidence, with consideration of patient values and preferences. The course, launching this spring, will be used as a faculty development tool for the Division of Hospital Medicine and will become part of the Internal Medicine Residency Program’s educational core curriculum. With continued support from PACE, Dr. Baduashvili aims to expand the access of this course to all learners within the University of Colorado and beyond.

Adrienne Mann
Adrienne Mann, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hospital Medicine, an associate program director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program, and practices clinically at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center. With prior PACE funding, Dr. Mann launched “Better Together”, a web-based, physician-coach led, life-coaching program for women-identifying resident physicians at the University of Colorado with an aim to decrease burnout. She is studying the effectiveness of the coaching intervention with a prospective, randomized controlled trial of 101 trainees from 12 CU training programs. Baseline results show participants are experiencing burnout, low self-compassion, high levels of imposter syndrome, and moderate moral injury. With the continuation of PACE funding, Dr. Mann and her coaching partner Tyra Fainstad, MD, visiting associate professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, will complete a quantitative and qualitative study of the coaching intervention and plan a multi-site study offering Better Together to 300+ more trainees across the country. The study will fill a critical gap by offering meaningful tools to women trainees while positioning the CU as a leader in coaching innovation and research.

Melissa New

Melissa New, MDis an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine at University of Colorado Hospital and the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center. With the support of PACE funding, Dr. New created and implemented an advanced bronchoscopy training program and delivered this to Pulmonary and Critical Care fellows in a workshop format. The workshop teaching endobronchial ultrasound and transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) was well received, and fellows reported significant improvement in confidence and skill. However, follow-up objective assessment of procedural performance demonstrated that procedural-related anatomy remained an area of learning need. With continued PACE funding, Dr. New will use technology to deliver anatomy teaching to learners in a way that is accessible and timely, utilizing web-based interactive modules and virtual reality. This novel medical education study will inform the optimal way to teach anatomy in order to perform procedures that require knowing anatomic structures from the perspective of being inside the body.

Golden Fana
International Scholar (mentored project without funding)
Golden Tafadzwa Fana, MD, is a lecturer and consultant physician, in 
the Department of Medicine College of Health Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe (UZCHS). Dr. Fana’s project is to develop a pre-internship orientation program designed to bridge the gap in current medical curricula in addressing specific educational needs of interns related to professionalism, ethics, communication skills, patient safety and safe prescribing. This program will target new medical school graduates from UZCHS, and the training is expected to enhance interns’ professional development and improve their work-experience, career satisfaction and career development.

Inaugural Recipients of Clinician-Educator Faculty Grants

Janet Corral, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine (Division of General Internal Medicine). Her PACE project builds off several successful pilot programs to create a digital, just-in-time (JIT) coaching system (JITCS) for educators at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. JITCS delivers evidence-based teaching tips to faculty as they lead assigned teaching events. A local needs assessment will drive a user-friendly design of JITSC, which will then be developed and implemented in SOM courses, as well as the DOM clerkship and DOM residency. JITCS will provide CU with an innovative platform to help faculty development meet local needs in the digital era, while simultaneously building CU’s national and international reputation in best evidence medical education, just-in time faculty development, and intelligent tutors.
Katherine Frasca, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine (Division of Infectious Diseases). She will use her PACE funding to create a comprehensive, inter-professional, patient-centered, educational curriculum on HIV prevention for Internal Medicine residents and allied health professions trainees. HIV prevention training in PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is critical for general medicine trainees, since this is a public health intervention that has been shown to be cost-saving in the prevention of HIV infection. The toolkit for successful HIV prevention includes not only PrEP, but also STD screening and treatment, sexual health counseling, and addressing barriers to PrEP adherence such as mental health disorders and substance use. A critical component to providing this care to a predominantly LGBT population is the establishment of cultural competency by the trainees. The format of this program will be inter-professional training in HIV prevention (including PrEP) via a structured online curriculum and hands-on clinical experience.
Katarzyna Mastalerz, MD is an Associate Professor of Medicine (Division of Hospital Medicine). Her PACE project will focus on incorporating an educational communication component for residents into an interprofessional inpatient unit called an Accountable Care Unit (ACU) aimed at reducing inpatient medical errors, a large percentage of which are attributable to poor communication and ineffective teamwork. Developing effective methods of teaching interprofessional education (IPE) is an important aspect of providing higher quality, safer patient care. Most IPE is done pre-clinically or in simulation settings, but research shows that poor communication and lack of effective teamwork persist on inpatient wards, making this educational intervention a key way of incorporating team- and communication-based curricula into clinical settings to improve patient safety.
Paul Menard-Katcher, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine (Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology), and Associate Gastroenterology Fellowship Program Director. He will use his PACE funding to develop novel curricula and trainee assessment instruments using CBME-based tools such as entrustable professional activities (EPAs) to better train medical learners and to aid in trainee competency assessment. Medical education is in the process of a transition to competency-based medical education (CBME), at the heart of which is a focus on outcomes and abilities of the medical learner, rather than on a time-based training process. Entrustable professional activities (EPAs) are descriptions of competency that are observable and measurable, and provide a tool by which clinically-based trainee outcomes may be assessed. There is a critical need for the development of such instruments to facilitate the transition to CBME, particularly in the medical subspecialties. Successful development of this program will facilitate the overall goal to transition medical education from an apprenticeship model to CBME.