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.

Congratulations to the 2023–24 PACE Scholars!

Samuel Porter, MD, is an assistant professor in the Division of Hospital Medicine who focuses on quality improvement and training physician leaders. His background in systems improvement goes back to before medical school, and he has been continually involved in healthcare performance improvement projects since that time. He currently acts as the associate director of quality for the Division of Hospital Medicine where he manages or coaches a suite of almost a dozen different quality efforts in the division. He has created curricula for teaching healthcare improvement fundamentals, how to collect and analyze clinical data for quality improvement, the economics of healthcare, and healthcare leadership. He hopes to build on his experience to create exemplary educational programs for trainees who wish to become agents of transformative change in the healthcare system.
Samuel Porter, MD
Rachel Quaney, MD, MAEd, is an assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Quaney’s PACE project aims to improve the process of gathering faculty feedback from trainee physicians by utilizing a group approach, entitled Teaching Assessment Committee (TAC). The facilitator-led group process of TAC includes soliciting and aggregating feedback, which capitalizes on peer dialogue and ensures anonymity. Dr. Quaney hypothesizes that this can mitigate feedback biases and minimize perceived issues with confidentiality in order to improve the quality of feedback delivered to faculty members. 
Rachel Quaney, MD, MAEd
Christine Sailer, MD, is an assistant professor in the Division of Cardiology. ACLS recertification is required every two years, however, studies suggest – and most clinicians agree – this is insufficient to maintain high-quality resuscitation practice. Dr. Sailer has developed and piloted a one-hour, cardiac arrest simulation curriculum for internal medicine residents rotating in the ICU. Assessment of resident performance has demonstrated a marked intra-simulation improvement in time to first shock, percentage of time on the chest, and leadership and communication scores. Through the support of the PACE grant this year, Dr. Sailer will expand the curriculum to multiple ICUs and aims to identify the optimal simulation frequency to prevent skill attrition. If successful, this curriculum would demonstrate the efficacy and feasibility of implementing short, repeated simulation within the time constraints of gradual medical education, and could be used as a template to teach trainees other skills via simulation.
Christine Sailer, MD

Returning Scholars

Sophia Ambruso, DO,  is a clinical nephrologist and assistant professor at the Rocky Mountain VA Medical Center, Renal Division and University of Colorado School of Medicine, Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension. She is the clinical and inpatient dialysis director and director of medical student and resident education within the renal division of the Rocky Mountain VA Medical Center. Her main passions are patient care and medical education. In medical education, her goal is to create a safe environment for inquiry and intrigue with the personal mission of making nephrology exciting for medical students and residents. She has a passion for and is dedicated to trainee education, mentorship and wellness at all levels both intra and interinstitutionally. Dr. Ambruso is also actively involved in multiple facets of medical education at the interface of digital and social media with an emphasis on free and open access medical education (FOAMed). She is on the Executive Committee and is a faculty member for the Nephrology Social Media Collective internship. She is the Associate Editor of visual and Social Media for an International Society of Nephrology supported journal, Kidney International (KI) Reports and Chief editor of the KI Reports’ CME accredited educational blog page KI Reports Community. She is the co-creator and cohost of the Kidney Essentials podcast, releasing monthly podcasts discussing salient nephrologic topics tailored to medical students, residents and all nephrocurious practitioners. Finally, Dr. Ambruso is one of the 'filtrates' on "Freely Filtered," a podcast reaching international audiences that discusses recent NephJC articles.

Sophia Ambruso, DO

Natalie Held, MDis an assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Held aims to understand and optimize the cognitive load of providers during ICU teaching rounds. Her 2022–23 PACE-supported work identified rounding factors that associate with high cognitive load – namely interruptions to rounds, unclear role expectations, and speaking off script. PACE will now support Dr. Held in performing a study evaluating the implementation success of a rounding guide that applies these findings to reduce provider cognitive load during rounds. She will explore the guide's impact on provider cognitive load and the clinical learning environment. Results from this project will extend beyond the ICU and provide opportunities to improve trainee education in widespread clinical settings.

Natalie Held, MD

Department of Medicine (SOM)

CU Anschutz

Academic Office One

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Aurora, CO 80045


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