Jennifer Ouellet, MD, assistant professor of medicine (geriatrics), was named Outstanding Junior Clinician Educator of the Year Award at the American Geriatrics Society’s (AGS) 2023 annual conference. The award is given to junior clinician educators who have made significant contributions to didactic teaching, mentoring and career advice, and educational program development.
“I feel so grateful and humbled for the opportunity to have my work and the work of our team acknowledged,” says Ouellet. “I think it’s a really important platform to amplify the work we’re doing in an effort to enhance the lives of our patients.”
Ouellet’s focus is on instructing internal medicine residents through an ambulatory curriculum she developed based on the Age Friendly Health System 4M’s Framework (Mentation, Medications, Mobility and What Matters), anchored by the AGS Geriatrics 5Ms including multicomplexity. While she has contributed to development in educational materials in all “M’s”, she has a specific passion for What Matters.
“What Matters is one of the pivotal M’s,” says Ouellet. “You really can’t make decisions without knowing what matters to our patients and what they’re hoping that their health care can help them achieve—that provides us an anchor in the face of uncertainty in the work that we do.”
Ouellet also leads the education group for Patient Priorities Care (PPC), an approach that aligns care around What Matters most to patients, particularly older adults with multiple chronic conditions. Over the past few years, Ouellet has developed educational products, including American College of Physicians training modules, and developed ways to enhance the assessment and evaluation of trainees using PPC.
“PPC allows us to get back to the foundations of why most, if not all of us, wanted to become health professionals—to get back to finding the patient voice and to establishing strong patient relationships,” says Ouellet. I feel more fulfilled in my day-to-day life when I’m able to make those connections with people.”
PPC was co-developed by Mary Tinetti, MD, Gladys Phillips Crofoot Professor of Medicine (Geriatrics), the primary mentor of Ouellet.
“What I love about PPC is the collaborative spirit,” says Ouellet. “I feel so lucky here at Yale to have strong mentorship as a junior clinician-educator. With Mary Tinetti as my main mentor and mentorship from others like Terri Fried, MD, our section chief, I’ve been able to discover what brings me joy in this career. I am also grateful to receive support from national leaders in geriatric education including Anna Chang, MD, at University of California, San Francisco and Tim Farrell, MD, at Utah School of Medicine, among others.”
In addition to providing care on an inpatient unit at Yale New Haven Hospital and working as an attending on a geriatric consult service, Ouellet is the coordinator for interprofessional education at the Yale Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, COACH. Through this role, she works with Richard Marottoli, MD, the COACH program director and Barry Wu, MD, the program co-director, to lecture to and lead workshops with PA students, APRN students, medical students, residents, and fellows.
Upon receiving his award, Ouellet would like to recognize support of her mentors, Tinetti and Fried, and the contributions and support of her teammates Marcia Mecca, MD, and Angela Catic, MD, and Lea Kiefer, MPH, at Baylor College of Medicine. She is also immensely grateful to the clinician educators in the Department of Internal Medicine and Section of Geriatrics at Yale for their collaboration in developing and valuing trainee education in the geriatric principles: Marottoli; Wu; Gregory Ouellet, MD; Chandrika Kumar, MD; Leo Cooney, MD; John Moriarty, MD; Sarita Soares, MD; Mark Siegel, MD; and Paul Bernstein, MD.
The Section of Geriatrics strives to improve the health of older adults by providing exceptional patient care, training future leaders and innovators in aging, and engaging in cutting-edge research. To learn more about their mission, visit Geriatrics.