Thank You Dr. Klingensmith and Welcome Dr. Spencer

Late last spring, Dr. Klingensmith told me that she would need to step down from the role of Director of the Academy of Educators. As many of you know, Mary is the Vice Chair for Education in Surgery and the Mary Culver Distinguished Professor of Surgery, in addition to her role as Inaugural Director of the Academy. Mary also holds multiple national roles in surgery and surgery education through the American Board of Surgery (ABS), the American College of Surgeons, the Association for Surgical Education, and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), that in December 2019 culminated in her appointment as Vice President of the ABS. In her new role, she also serves as editor-in-chief of SCORE in addition to executive administrative duties. The commitment of this new role precipitated her need to step down from the Academy Director role.

Dr. Klingensmith has been a truly exceptional Inaugural Director of the Academy. Truly, I cannot think of anyone who could have done what she has done in such a short amount of time. In less than 2 years, she created an impressive vision and mission. She created a process and plan for membership culminating in two highly successful membership selections engaging national peer review. She oversaw the development of three unique longitudinal faculty development programs and the creation of as needed departmental and school based educator workshops. These programs have been pivotal in curriculum renewal and GME accreditation. She had the foresight and exceptional skill to develop two impressive workgroups that have created thoughtful plans and development around mentoring and awards. She has created a small grants program with MERU and transitioned the Loeb fellowships under the Academy. But, most importantly, she has created a community of educators who are engaged, supportive and united in advancing the education mission at Washington University. Fortunately, for all of us, Mary has agreed to continue to lead the Academy for the remainder of this academic year, and will continue to remain in leadership and membership with the Academy.

Abby Spencer, MD, MS, FACP will join us here at Washington University on March 1st as Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Medicine and Director of the Academy. Dr. Spencer is a nationally recognized leader in medical education and faculty development. She has delivered over 150 faculty development/educational courses and workshops locally, regionally and nationally. She has won numerous national awards for her teaching, educational scholarship, mentorship, and leadership including the 2016 Society of General Internal Medicine and Association of Chiefs and Leaders in GIM National Brancati Leadership and Mentorship Award, the 2017 SGIM National Scholarship in Education Award, and the 2020 ACGME Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award. She was awarded the Cleveland Clinic Women’s Professional Staff Women’s Champion Award in 2020, which recognizes contribution to the advancement, development and wellbeing of the women professional staff at Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Spencer was the recipient of two AAIM innovations grants (faculty development and trainee leadership development). She also received the Henry Walton Prize from the Journal of Medical Education and has won several Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) scholarship in teaching awards over the past few years. Dr. Spencer is an innovative and enthusiastic educator. She is exceptional at finding the strengths and potential in others and cultivating their strengths to help them achieve their highest potential. She has dedicated her career to innovating, developing curriculum, building teams, and developing others in medical education. Her passion and skill for teaching have been recognized by her many Med Ed podcast appearances on the popular ACP-sponsored podcast “The Curbsiders,” on the Leadership Edge podcast entitled “Leading by Teaching,” and on the Medicine Mentors Podcast. Dr. Spencer was inducted as a fellow to the Case Western Reserve University Academy of Scholar Educators in March 2019. She is a worthy successor to Dr. Klingensmith’s impressive legacy as Academy Director. In addition to serving as Academy Director and Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Medicine, she will also develop a program for new Program Director Development and mentoring.

Eva Aagaard, MD (pronouns: she/her/hers)
Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb Professor of Medical Education
Associate Vice Chancellor for Medical Education
Washington University School of Medicine