Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education William Jeffries, Ph.D., receives the Master Scholar Award at the 2017 IAMSE Meeting held in UVM’s Davis Center. (Photo: Andy Duback)
A strongly held commitment to providing the highest-quality physicians possible is the driving force behind a career dedicated to medical teaching work of Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education William Jeffries, Ph.D. Earlier this month, his educational scholarship was honored with the prestigious Master Scholar Award from the International Association for Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) at the organization’s annual meeting, hosted by the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont.
The award recognizes an IAMSE member who has a distinguished record of educational scholarship, including educational research and/or dissemination of excellent and scholarly approaches to teaching and education.
Jeffries, who joined the UVM Larner College of Medicine in 2009, is internationally recognized for his scholarly efforts in medical education, including effective teaching through active learning, curriculum design, strategic institutional planning and technological innovation. He served on the IAMSE Board of Directors for seven years and is a past chair of the Division for Pharmacology Education of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. He has also served on several national groups and committees of the Association for American Medical Colleges and as a faculty member in its LEAD mentorship program. He has been a long-term contributor to IAMSE and its programming, contributing numerous workshops and seminars, and has authored more than 100 scholarly works.
After receiving his master's and doctoral degrees in pharmacology from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, Jeffries completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas in the Department of Pharmacology.
His 37-year education career began during graduate school when he served as a graduate assistant, teaching freshman biology labs. After his fellowship, he joined the faculty at Creighton University. There he was elected Fellow of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research and the American Heart Association and spent two decades as a successful research investigator in hypertension and molecular pharmacology. During this time, he became very active in health sciences education, teaching and directing courses for medical, nursing, pharmacy, dental and graduate students. He assumed a leadership role in graduate education as director of the Pharmacology Graduate Program for seven years. He also developed a National Institutes of Health-funded program to help prepare underrepresented minority students for research and medical careers. This program continued at Creighton for 15 years. From 2001 to 2009, he served as chief academic officer in charge of the medical curriculum at Creighton University, overseeing ongoing revision of the curriculum and LCME accreditation, establishing new institutional policies and administrative structures, driving educational research and advancing technology in teaching and learning.
Today, Jeffries’ primary scholarly focus is on faculty development. He has delivered more than 70 education presentations, seminars and workshops regionally, nationally and internationally with the goal of improving medical teaching. In addition, he is co-editor of An Introduction to Medical Teaching with Larner Professor of Medical Education and Teaching Academy Director Kathryn Huggett, Ph.D., a faculty development manual for medical educators. He is a contributing author to many other medical teaching works, including IAMSE’s How-To Guide for Active Learning, A Practical Guide for Medical Teachers, Knowledge Objectives in Medical Pharmacology, The Guidebook for Clerkship Directors (4th and 5th Editions), and The Eight Roles of the Excellent Medical Teacher. An outspoken proponent of active learning, and his advocacy for its use in medical education has been featured at many medical education meetings, as well as in articles in the New York Times, Boston Globe, AAMC Reporter, Chronicle of Higher Education and U.S. News & World Report.