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You said . . . We did . . .

  • Admissions outreach & recruitment

    You said... Students were being over-stretched in assisting with outreach and recruiting events.

    We did... We created a paid student ambassador program and currently have two students in this role.* We met with admissions staff to discuss the need to reach out to other administrative staff in medical education for help organizing and running events during admissions season.

    *The Office of Admissions has hired three more paid student ambassadors, so we now have five in total. Starting in July and going forward, we will have two to three paid student ambassadors.

    You said... You would like to know what YSM is doing to enhance diversity among students.

    We did...

    We are strongly committed to recruiting and educating a diverse student body, across a wide range of factors, and our robust outreach efforts are making a difference in advancing inclusive excellence. For the incoming MD Class of 2027, 35% of you identify as under-represented in medicine (URiM), 12% are the first in your family to achieve a college education, and 28% were born outside of the United States in 21 different countries. Additionally, the class comes from 58 colleges and universities.

    The Offices of Admissions and Diversity, Inclusion, Community Engagement, and Equity (DICE) collaborate closely in this recruitment effort. Additionally, YSM created the position of associate dean for medical student diversity—which Marietta Vazquez, MD, holds— in 2021, to oversee, among other responsibilities, the strategic deployment of resources and to coordinate DICE’s recruitment activities.

    Over the last few academic years, Admissions and DICE have engaged in numerous outreach events, either in person or virtually, at career forums, colleges, and universities, including at many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). Read more about these efforts here.

  • Communications

    You said... You missed some of my YSWD messages, Dean Schwartz’s Curriculum Update, or messages from Dean Brown.

    We did... We have started an education campaign (including this message) to spread the word about your “focused” folder and your “other” folder in your Outlook email. Please check your “other” folder for important messages from me, Dean Brown, and YSM, like the Curriculum Update prepared by Dean Schwartz. (Because these messages are sent to a large audience, Outlook by default often sends them to your “other” folder.)

    If you want group emails from certain senders (for example, Dean Schwartz) to instead go to your focused folder, simply right click a message from Dean Schwartz in your “other” folder, and designate it as “Always Moved to Focused.” If you need technical support, please see this page from Microsoft or you can contact the Yale ITS helpdesk.

    If you hear of classmates who have missed messages, please share this guidance!

    You said... You hoped I could have set office hours, for anyone to come talk to me without scheduling an appointment.

    We did... Starting February 13, I will have office hours every Tuesday, from 2 to 4 p.m. My office is on the third floor of Harkness (ESH300), right near where the Curriculum team sits. Please come by with any questions, concerns, and ideas!

  • Community building & extracurricular activities

    You said... You wanted more opportunities to meet with Medical Education leadership.

    We did...

    We acknowledge that current events on campus have been very stressful to many students. Students have brought many concerns to us in the past few weeks, and I want you to know that we hear you. I am working with Deans Latimore, Vazquez, and Francis to increase support and to be responsive to the concerns brought forward. Our goal is for every student to feel welcome and supported as a member of our learning community. Current events have made this very challenging. We will persevere in working with faculty and students.

    We hold regular office hours (mine are every Tuesday, from 2 to 4 p.m. in my office on the third floor of Harkness (ESH300)) and have been organizing other gatherings and office hours. You also may reach out to make an appointment at any time.

    Additionally, the medical educations deans have been holding informal lunches for each class and town halls to share information and get your input on issues ranging from the learning environment to the new student dashboard. Please reach out to your class leaders or to me if you would like to suggest other topics and gatherings.

    Lastly, MSC and class leaders attend the monthly “Quad Deans” meeting with me, Dean Vazquez, Dean Francis, and Dean Schwartz, where they raise ideas and issues of concern brought forward by classmates, and there is a separate monthly meeting with me and Dean Brown, again, to share ideas and issues of concern.

    You said... You are satisfied with access to service learning/community service opportunities.

    We did...We are pleased you feel positively about your access to service learning and community service opportunities. This is especially important, since increasing mutually constructive engagement with the wider community is an action item in the recently released Strategic Plan for Medical Education.

    You currently find out about these opportunities through a number of channels, which is terrific. However we decided it was valuable to also centralize this information, and so added a sublink to the Special Programs & Student Opportunities page on the Medical Education website with information about Community Engagement Opportunities.

    We welcome additional suggestions for content at this sublink!

    You said... You want a better understanding of how student activity funds are spent and more autonomy in how to spend student interest group funds, including the ability to buy durable goods.

    We did... Below is a list of how student activity fees are used. Dean Francis presented this information to the Medical Student Council (MSC) officers on October 31, and to the full MSC at their December 5, 2022 meeting.

    • Student activities fees support:
    • Special events such as: White Coat Ceremony; Match Day; and Commencement
    • Social events sponsored by individual classes
    • Events planned by the Social Committee and the Committee of Well-being of Students
    • 70 different student interest groups’ events and activities
    • Approved student conference travel through respective interest groups and through the Office of Student Research
    • Many aspects of student life including, but not limited to: peer tutoring; Spinelli Lounge; career lunches; residency dinners; Yale-Harvard Game tailgate; Hunger & Homelessness Auction; spring formal; and Grubhub vouchers during COVID

    Additionally, we have provided student interest groups with more autonomy in how they spend their funding, including the ability to use their entire funding for food at events if desired and enabling them to purchase a variety of non-electronic durable goods, such as art supplies and sporting equipment. We have identified storage space for such durable goods, which had been a limiting factor in the past. Finally, we want to note that we have not reduced funding for student interest groups; and if a student interest group is concerned that their funding does not meet their budgetary needs, they should reach out to Jill Aulenti in the Office of Student Affairs with a detailed budget request/proposal.

    You said... You wanted to strengthen the community at YSM, including between students, deans, faculty, and staff.

    We did... We have planned a series of lunches for groups of about 25 students, organized by class, with me and the Medical Education deans. These provide an opportunity to chat about the new YSM Strategic Plan for Medical Education, the reaccreditation process for our school, and anything else on your mind.

    The first-year lunches are happening now. The second-year lunches occurred before the winter break. The third- and fourth-year lunches will take place in March and April, respectively. Stay tuned for details in the months ahead! At these lunches, it has been helpful to hear from a wide range of students about your experiences, concerns, and ideas—and wonderful to just get to know you all more.

    We are focused on creating opportunities for more informal chances to interact, such as our cookies and cider get-together last fall. Stay tuned for a late winter/early spring gathering!

    Additionally, an important initiative in the strategic plan is to create colleges within the medical school. (See Action 7 in the plan.) The colleges will function as a home base where students can form identity and belonging through connections with classmates and faculty, and will facilitate greater access to mentorship, learning support, coaching, and academic and career advising. Social gatherings, activities, and events will support community building, teamwork, and inclusion as well as collegial discussion, sharing of ideas, and reflection. Stay tuned for more details.

    Finally, I welcome ideas for additional ways to improve engagement among students, deans, faculty, and staff.

    You said... You want a more inclusive, well-supported learning community with access to mentors across specialties.

    We did...

    As you have heard by now, we have created six colleges, similar to the Yale undergraduate model. We aspire for each college to function as a home base where students can form connections with classmates, near peers, and faculty, who will facilitate greater access to structured mentorship, learning support, coaching, and advising. The colleges are headed by the six academic advisors in the Office of Student Affairs. All YSM MD students are assigned to a college, by academic advisor. After a widespread invitation, we are actively organizing residents, fellows, faculty, and alumni from different specialties, who will support and participate in each of the colleges. Physician Associate students, as well as community leaders in New Haven, also will be affiliates within the colleges.

    Social activities, community service opportunities, and special events will support community building, teamwork, and inclusion, as well as collegial discussion, sharing of ideas, and reflection to create an environment where ALL students feel supported as valued members of the YSM community.

    The colleges are currently in the process of being named, but since this is such an important process, the school is taking time to get it right. In the meantime, each college is represented by a color (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple) and that will be incorporated into the future identity of the college.

    With the LCME visit now behind us, please look out for an invitation kicking off events for your college, where you will meet classmates, near peers, faculty, residents, fellows, and alumni!

    You said... Dean Illuzzi, you promised our class a prize for the highest rate completing those ISA and LCME surveys.

    We did...

    Yes, I did! And I just went back and reviewed all the completed survey statistics per class and found that each class did better and better throughout the year, reaching an all-time high in May 2023, with a range of 98-100% completion rates, with the M5/MD-PhD classes slightly lower, but understanding that many of these students were engaged in programs and activities away from the MD curriculum.

    For this reason, we have decided to reward each class with $1000 toward a class social event or activity! In addition, your participation in the surveys has generated additional discretionary funds for the HAVEN Free Clinic, to support patient transportation and medication costs, among other expenditures.

  • Curriculum

    You said... There is too much variability in the quality of lectures and teaching in small groups in the pre-clerkship curriculum.

    We did...

    In January, Bill Rando, PhD, joined Yale School of Medicine as our inaugural director of pedagogy. We created this position to help implement the YSM Strategic Plan for Medical Education, which calls for an evaluation of the effectiveness of our current teaching methods, identification of those strategies that are succeeding, phasing out those that are not effective, and development of new pedagogies to meet the needs of students in 2024 and beyond. Paramount to these efforts is an emphasis on learning strategies that promote curiosity, critical thinking, clinical reasoning, effective communication, and collaboration, which will aid you in the development of all nine YSM competencies in preparation for the next phase of your medical training.

    Bill has been sitting in on classes and meeting with many students and faculty. Feel free to pull him aside or send him an email and tell him what you think!

    We also heard about wide variability in experiences in ILCE and MCE and have assembled a group to work specifically on this issue over the summer.

    You said... You want the option to take Step 1 between the pre-clerkship and clerkship phases of the curriculum.

    We did...

    The Educational Policy and Curriculum Committee (EPCC) voted on April 10 to approve a pilot which provides MD students with the option of taking Step 1 after the pre-clerkship period and before starting the clerkship year. Students who choose this option will be able to prepare for and take Step 1, which is now pass/fail rather than scored, during the Jan-Feb-March block. Students will be able to enroll in 6-8 weeks of study time for Step 1. In the remaining time, students will be required to enroll in elective or research block time. Two-week electives will include clinical (e.g., dermatology, ophthalmology, radiology, just to name a few) and non-clinical (e.g., biomedical ethics) options, all designed with pre-clerkship students in mind. Elective and research time completed during this period will count toward the required hours of the ATP graduation requirement. Students who do not choose this option will begin clerkships in January and continue to take Step 1 after completion of all four clerkships.

    We have scheduled a panel discussion for first-year MD students on Tuesday, May 14 at 5 p.m. in the Cohen Auditorium, so you can learn more about this option and ask questions, to help you make your decision. M1s will not have to make a decision about the pilot option until the fall.

    M1s can register to attend the panel discussion here.

    You said... You want a concentration in Medical Education added to the curriculum.

    We did...

    We launched a new longitudinal Medical Education Concentration to provide MD and MD-PhD students an opportunity to further develop their skills as educators and scholars. You can read more about it here. We are working on developing additional concentrations in Biomedical Ethics and Humanities in Medicine that could launch next academic year—stay tuned! If you are not already aware, YSM also has a certificate program in Global Health.

    You said... You are concerned about occasions where race is being used inappropriately in the curriculum.

    We did... At the start of the curriculum in iPro, we set expectations that curricular discussions of race related to mechanisms of disease would focus on race as a social, not biological construct. We recognize that at various times during the pre-clerkship curriculum, race is being presented as a biological construct.

    To address this ongoing issue, we are implementing the following steps:

    1. We are providing lecture and workshop faculty with a toolkit developed at UCSF, Antiracism and Race Literacy - A primer and toolkit for medical educators, to review. We are asking faculty to particularly focus on Step 3 with a framework for addressing issues of race in clinical medicine.
    2. The Office of Curriculum (OoC) is reviewing the course PowerPoint slides, cases, and notes using keywords to identify references that may be related to race. When found, the lecture or workshop leader will be alerted that they should consider if these references are appropriate, are evidenced-based, and use race as a social not biological or genetic construct.
    3. We are asking course directors and other course faculty to alert the OoC to any instances of the inappropriate use of race that might have slipped through this review process or occurred as a result of discussions in the classroom.
    4. We are asking Dr. Beverley Sheares, director of the Health Equity Thread, to assist us in producing a short video that can be used for faculty development to prepare them for discussions of race in relation to the mechanisms and treatment of disease. If successful, this video will be included in the materials that all medical education faculty are required to view and attest to annually.
    5. We are encouraging students to speak with any of the deans or Health Equity Thread leadership team so that we are able to address issues in the curriculum in real time and prevent future occurrences. Associate Dean for Curriculum Michael Schwartz welcomes students reaching out to him with concerns or additional ideas about how to address these issues.
    You said... It was difficult to get to Bridgeport for clinical rotations and you are not sure what is considered a local v. non-local rotation.

    We did...

    As described in the December Curriculum Update, we launched a pilot program in January 2023 to facilitate travel to YNHHS’s Bridgeport Hospital, one of Yale’s major clinical sites. The pilot program provides reimbursement for carpooling to Bridgeport Hospital. Some students have asked if they can receive reimbursement if they must travel alone to Bridgeport for night shifts. The answer is: Yes! The pilot will continue through December 2024 so that we can assess the cost of the program and advocate for a shuttle to Bridgeport Hospital, if that is more cost effective.

    Additionally, we have shared with students the efforts in place to fairly distribute non-local rotations across all students. I want to clarify what is considered a local versus a non-local rotation. Read more about that here!

    You said... You want more equitable access to UWorld to study for USMLE.

    We did... Through support from the Yale Alumni Fund, we have enabled all students to receive access to one year of USMLE Step II UWorld Prep without impacting financial aid packages. This includes access to practice shelf exams. We also are providing vouchers for all MS2 pre-clerkship students and students in the ATP to have access to USMLE Step 1 practice exams. This provides an opportunity to consolidate or review material. A recent Curriculum Update provides more details on how to access these resources.

    You said... YSM needs to be more responsive to student feedback about clerkships.

    We did... Being responsive to student feedback is very important to me, Dean Schwartz, and our new Director of Clerkships Shefali Pathy. Here are some important updates:

    1. Based on student feedback about significant transportation challenges, crowding with other students in some primary care locations, and challenges in the learning environment in some settings, we have put a temporary hold on assigning medical students to Bridgeport Hospital starting July 1, 2023.

      Dean Brown, Dean Schwartz, Dr. Pathy, and I will work very hard with the dedicated physicians and hospital leaders at Bridgeport to address these concerns. A member of YNHHS, Bridgeport Hospital is a high volume, community-based academic medical center staffed by outstanding physicians, many of whom trained in our own programs, and care deeply about your education and experience. They care for patients from across Bridgeport and Fairfield County, with a wide range of medical conditions and needs, and greatly enhance the teaching and experience of our students.

      The Department of OB/GYN at Bridgeport has a new chair, Dr. Stephen Thung. Dr. Thung was a faculty member at YSM for several years and was a FAVORITE attending for both students and residents during that time. We are very excited to work with him, and with Dr. Victor Morris (chief medical officer) and Dr. Karen Hutchinson (chair, Department of GME and DIO), to optimize the experiences at Bridgeport Hospital. It is our hope for Yale medical students to return to Bridgeport by January 1, 2024.
    2. We have requested that departmental leadership meet with students during all clerkships, so that they can hear about your experiences and how they can be even better.
    3. It is important for all students to know that every time you confidentially share or anonymously report a concern about the learning environment, we take it seriously, determine an appropriate intervention, and then follow up. We are extraordinarily fortunate for Dean Brown’s leadership in creating the Office for Academic and Professional Development, which provides review, remediation, and follow-up on reported concerns regarding professionalism. (You can read more about how the medical school is handling reports of harassment, mistreatment, and bias in this past issue of You Said…We Did…)
    4. The second years (soon to be third years!) successfully advocated for a hybrid, rather than fully in person, approach to the Precede for the July clerkship, and Dr. Pathy and Dean Schwartz were able to gain support from all clerkship component directors. Kudos to everyone!
    You said... You want more training in caring for patients from different backgrounds.

    We did...

    Dr. Beverley Sheares and Dr. Doug Shenson, co-leaders of the Health Equity Thread (HET), are continuing to develop new and enhanced curricula that address the needs of patients from a diverse range of backgrounds. They are meeting with each course director to identify health equity learning objectives relevant to their course. In addition, the HET has developed new content for the master and longitudinal courses, clinical skills course, the clerkship precedes, and the YSM Capstone course.

    Last year, the glossary was created to help faculty and students communicate with patients and colleagues as respectfully as possible on issues of particular sensitivity. This project was developed by a committee of faculty, staff, students, and community partners, as part of the Inclusive Language Initiative. Language, like science, is not static and changes as we learn more. The current glossary is intended to be a living document of terms used in medicine that will be reviewed and evaluated periodically to ensure that it continues to meet its intended aim to improve communication with patients of different backgrounds and identities. This year, the glossary has been provided to all faculty and residents who teach or supervise medical students.

    Read here about the additional work being done to prepare you to care for patients from different backgrounds.

    You said... You aren’t sure where and how formative feedback is provided during your pre-clerkship training.

    We did...

    We have created an electronic student dashboard where all formative feedback you receive throughout the curriculum will be accessible at your fingertips, including the formative feedback in Interprofessional Longitudinal Clinical Experience (ILCE), Medical Clinical Experience (MCE), clinical skills sessions, and courses. This will include narrative commentaries and formative assessments of clinical skills.

    Read more about how formative feedback is being provided and recent improvements.

    You said... In the AAMC Graduation Questionnaire, some students noted that they did not feel confident to begin residency.

    We did...

    We spoke with M4s and recent graduates, and one factor raised is that the length of the advanced training period (ATP), with its emphasis on completing the thesis and opportunities to do things that aren’t only clinical, may make some students feel clinically “rusty.”

    We spoke with students about what types of preparations could help them feel more confident. Based on this feedback and recommendations from residency program directors, new simulations like “Night on Call,” advanced communication skills with simulated patients, enhanced boot camps for each specialty, and review of critical anatomy and common procedures needed for internship were added to the Capstone Course in 2023. Other popular topics including cardiac arrhythmias and DKA were continued, and this year we will further emphasize practice of patient handoffs and calling consults on complicated patients.

    In addition, the Capstone Course, which previously spanned two rotation blocks, now coincides with the elective block schedule. Capstone also was moved slightly earlier in the academic year (now beginning in late February and ending the week after Match Day in March), to allow time for you to engage in post-Capstone two- or four-week clinical electives, especially if you feel the need for additional clinical practice after the concentrated exposure in Capstone. For those entering surgical specialties, a four-week advanced surgical anatomy elective, which was piloted after Capstone last year and received spectacular reviews, will be offered again this year.

    Read more here, including about exciting elective opportunities!

    You said... You weren’t sure if your health care providers could supervise and assess you in clinical or didactic settings.

    We did... We realized we need to remind you about the policy and procedure on this issue. Specifically, health professionals who provide health services to medical students, including surgical, medical, and psychiatric care, should have no involvement in the academic assessment or promotion of the medical student in any setting. A faculty member or resident who recognizes that they have been assigned a student who is a current or former patient must notify the relevant curriculum director to facilitate an assignment change.

    As a student, if you are assigned to a course, clerkship, or other educational activity with a treating health care provider, you will be granted an alternative assignment. You should contact the relevant curriculum director or Dean Francis to have the assignment changed.

    These requirements are contained in the school’s Non-involvement of Providers of Student Health Services or Family Members in Student Assessment policy.

    You said... Clinical rotations in Bridgeport needed attention.

    We did... Bridgeport Hospital is one of our core clinical teaching settings staffed by outstanding clinical faculty, many who trained at YSM or in the YNHHS, and who care for patients with a wide array of clinical conditions. In July of 2023, we placed a temporary hold on sending Yale medical students to Bridgeport Hospital, so that we could address several concerns:

    1. Students lacked means of reliable and safe transportation to the hospital.
    2. Some settings had an issue of overcrowding of learners.
    3. Some settings needed support to improve the learning environment.

    We have worked closely with the enthusiastic and committed leadership at Bridgeport Hospital to address each of these challenges.

    In addition, we have launched a pilot program to address the travel issues to Bridgeport, described in the December 1, 2023 Curriculum Update. Some students have asked if they can receive reimbursement if they must travel alone to Bridgeport for night shifts. The answer is: Yes!

    You said... You wanted more opportunities to review anatomy.

    We did... To help with this, we have integrated VR technology into the Anatomy course. We also appointed three new associate course directors for Anatomy, one in biomedical imaging (Dr. Kirsten Cooper), one in pathology (Dr. Harry Sanchez), and one in surgery (Dr. Adnan Prsic). We added opportunities to review critical anatomy in the Capstone Course for fourth-year students preparing for residency, and we introduced a new elective entitled "Advanced Surgical Anatomy" for students in the ATP who are considering procedural specialties.

  • Financial Aid

    You said... You have concerns about the adequacy of debt management counseling.
    We did... Our Financial Aid Office has organized workshops and one-on-one debt management sessions for students and also provides resources online. All first and fourth-year students with loans are required to have a one-on-one debt management session. More information about upcoming opportunities —and we welcome suggestions for how we can provide additional support!
  • Student research

    You wanted more support with questions related to study design and statistical analysis for your research projects.

    We did...

    The Office of Student Research has developed formal office hours with Dr. Alexandra Hajduk, PhD, MPH, deputy director of scientific affairs. Dr. Hajduk is an epidemiologist with expertise in quantitative and qualitative research designs, as well as biostatistics. In addition to leading the advanced workshop in Populations & Methods, Dr. Hajduk has many years of experience advising medical students and research fellows on issues related to study design and analysis. Dr. Hajduk will hold weekly office hours on Thursdays from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. Please contact to schedule a one-on-one meeting.

    Note: you will likely get more from your office hours with Dr. Hajduk if you provide her with a brief (i.e., one-half page) written summary of the objectives of your research project and your questions ahead of meeting.

    You said... It can be difficult to find research mentors.

    We did… We recently created a directory of faculty who have indicated interest in mentoring YSM students, which is available for review in the OSR offices on the second floor of Harkness. Please stop by Monday through Friday (9:00 am – 5:00 pm) to peruse the information, or email OSR ( to schedule a one-on-one meeting with the associate deans of student research during their weekly office hours (Chaudhry: Wednesdays, 12:00 -1:00 pm; Herzog: Tuesdays, 12:00 -1:00 pm) or at another mutually convenient time. Additionally, detailed information about other ways to find a mentor is on OSR’s website. This includes the online Directory of Faculty Research Interests, which you can search by name, department, key words, or Medical Search Headings (MeSH).

  • Student safety & learning environment

    You said... Bikes were getting stolen from the bike rack outside TAC.

    We did...

    We coordinated with security to get a camera installed by the bike rack in early February. Since it was installed, no bikes have been reported stolen.

    You said... South Frontage Road is dangerous.

    We did...

    Last month I joined MD student John Havlik and several Medical Education faculty and staff testifying in support of red light and speed cameras at a New Haven Alder Committee meeting. (Thanks also to MD student Carmen Pajarillo for submitting testimony!) As described in this article, the committee members unanimously voted to recommend the mayor’s proposed automated enforcement legislation and 19 initial camera locations to the full Board of Alders. We are hopeful the full Board will vote in support of the legislation/camera locations, as well as funding, later this month.

    Additionally, I wrote the mayor for an update on the infrastructure project planned for S. Frontage Road, from Howard Avenue to College Street, that will include elements such as raised crossings and a bike lane. The mayor’s team is hoping to begin the project this year.

    You said... You were unsure how the medical school is handling reports of harassment, mistreatment, and bias.

    We did... In my January 12, 2023 You Said, We Did newsletter, I shared information about different ways to report mistreatment and what the school does when we receive such reports. We held an in-person Town Hall on the Learning Environment on the evening of March 8 for all interested students. I encourage you to watch the presentations from the Town Hall if you could not attend. Below are a few key points from the discussion.

    Number and types of reports: During the Town Hall, I presented data on the number of MD Program harassment, mistreatment, and discrimination reports between 2017 and 2022 during clerkship rotations. As you can see in the video, OB/GYN and Surgery have the greatest number of reports. While some reports describe a student’s experience of being treated harshly by team members, many describe incidents of residents being treated poorly by attendings, bias in the treatment of patients by nurses and other staff, and students being harassed or treated disrespectfully by patients.

    The majority of our work on these issues has been within these two departments. The chairs of both OB/GYN and Surgery have engaged the Office of Academic and Professional Developmentto help with individual faculty members, and Yale New Haven Health System is working with us to address potential bias within staff. All departments are now meeting with students regularly to discuss their experiences, and faculty, residents, and fellows have been actively engaged in discussions about how to improve the learning environment in clinical settings.

    This work is extremely important and will be ongoing; we are actively working to develop better ways to communicate with students and trainees about how these incidents are being handled and how the learning environment is being monitored to measure improvement. Read more.

    You said... We should clarify the medical school's student mistreatment policy and the processes to report such mistreatment.

    We did... Preventing mistreatment, addressing lapses in professionalism, and having a transparent and supportive reporting process is a priority at YSM. We recognize that the process only will be effective, and you only will have confidence in it, if we do a better job providing you information about how and to whom you can share concerns and complaints about mistreatment, professionalism, or bias AND how the school addresses them.

    How can you report a concern?

    1. You can report a professionalism/mistreatment concern in real time, using this link, which we have embedded in five locations on the MD Program webpage, including toward the bottom of the Curriculum homepage. The Office of Academic and Professional Development (OAPD) receives these reports.
    2. At the end of every curricular experience (course, clerkship, elective), you have the opportunity to complete an evaluation, which includes reporting any mistreatment, harassment, or bias you experienced or observed. Your reports are confidential and anonymous and are not visible to anyone who is evaluating you.
    3. You may ALWAYS contact your course/clerkship/elective director, advisor, or any medical education dean if you have a concern that you would like to discuss. We will respect your confidentiality and discuss ways to approach or address your concerns.

    What happens when you report a concern?

    1. Reports to OAPD are responded to within two business days. OAPD’s first action will be to set up a time to talk with you about the concern and discuss options on how to respond to the concern, keeping in mind that confidentiality is often an important consideration. While OAPD’s purview is professionalism among YSM faculty, if your concern is not about a faculty member, OAPD staff will work with you to direct your concern to the group that can best address it. This OAPD summary provides additional information on how professionalism concerns are handled at YSM.
    2. Reports embedded in curricular evaluations are reviewed on a quarterly basis by the Office of Curriculum and OAPD. The responsible department is required to produce an action plan in response to each report. In collaboration with Deputy Dean for Professionalism and Leadership Robert Rohrbaugh, Deputy Dean Illuzzi follows up with the chairs of each department to monitor progress in addressing issues of professionalism and conduct in the learning environment.

    Deans Illuzzi and Schwartz are establishing a new Subcommittee of the Educational Policy and Curriculum Committee (EPCC) to regularly review reports of harassment, mistreatment or bias in the learning environment, departments’ responses, and outcomes and to provide recommendations to the EPCC. Students interested in joining this committee should contact Dean Schwartz (

    Click here for more details on OAPD’s role in promoting faculty professionalism.

    You said... You had concerns about safety, including traffic safety at the York Street and S. Frontage Road intersection.

    We did... I want to share several updates and resources:

    Safety and Security Committee: Last year, Yale School of Medicine created a Safety and Security Committee. Dean Francis serves on it, as does 5th-year MD student Carmen Pajarillo. The committee, which meets quarterly, welcomes your ideas and feedback on how to improve YSM's safety and security, which you can submit using this Qualtrics survey. The committee also created this webpage listing campus-wide safety and security resources, including the LiveSafe app and an active shooter video.

    Blue security phone survey: The Safety and Security Committee recently discussed the blue security phones that are placed in outside locations throughout the Yale University campus. The phones have red emergency buttons for direct connection to the Yale Police Department for police, fire, or medical emergencies.

    This map shows the locations of the 500+ existing phones.

    Yale Public Safety asked for input on locations on, or even near, campus that would benefit from a blue phone. Please complete this Qualtrics survey asking for your input by Tuesday, February 21. We want to hear your suggestions since so many of you study, work, and live on and near the Yale campus.

    South Frontage Road infrastructure improvement plans: We were pleased that the city hosted a public meeting on January 9, 2023 about plans to make South Frontage Road, from Howard Avenue to College Street, safer for pedestrians and cyclists through measures such as four raised crossings, narrowing the lanes, adding sidewalks, and adding a separated bike lane. Construction is expected to begin next year. This link from the city includes the Zoom recording of the meeting and a PowerPoint of the plans that were presented.

    Vision Zero legislation: House Bill No. 5917, “An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Vision Zero Council,” would enable municipalities in Connecticut to pass legislation to use automated enforcement in specified locations (high crash volumes, school zones, pedestrian safety zones), which would include the York Street and S. Frontage Road intersection, where speeding and red light running is rampant. We are grateful to fourth-year MD student Aishwarya Pillai for testifying passionately at the Transportation Committee hearing on January 30.

    If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Abby Roth to learn more about the Yale Traffic Safety Committee.

    You said... You want door-to-door shuttle service at night.

    We did...

    We hosted a student Town Hall in June about public safety, in which Yale Police Chief Anthony Campbell and representatives from Yale Security and Yale Parking & Transit participated. In response to concerns that the nighttime door-to-door shuttle had been discontinued during COVID-19 and not re-instituted, the Parking & Transit representatives shared that there is a new nighttime transit option: between 6:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., the Nighttime Blue and Orange Yale shuttle lines and the 333 Cedar Express, which all leave from 333 Cedar Street, provide “to door” drop-offs (taking you right to your destination) after making their fixed stops, if your stop is within the shuttle route boundaries. You are encouraged to notify the driver of your address for a “to door” drop-off. Read more about this transit option here.

    We also want to echo Chief Campbell's encouragement that everyone download the LiveSafe app, which has important features such as requesting a walking escort, calling or sending discreet text messages directly to the Yale Police Department in an emergency, and allowing a friend or family member to track you as you travel. It also has very helpful information about what to do in numerous emergency situations, ranging from an active shooter, to a hurricane, to a fire. This information is available on the app’s homepage under Quick Links, Emergency Procedures.

    You said… You want to feel safe walking between the Amistad Parking Garage and YNHH’s York Street Campus.

    We did... Since the Air Rights Garage has limited capacity, many of us (including me) park in Amistad Garage. Please consider using walking escorts, which you can access through the LiveSafe app, for the walk between YNHH and the Amistad Garage if you are leaving late. You will often see me doing this, too!

    We have worked with Yale’s parking team to extend the time attendants are in Amistad Garage on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. On weekends and holidays, an attendant is present in the garage from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Additionally, there is a security officer assigned to Cedar Street, Amistad Park, and Garage between 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and again after the building closes until 10:30 p.m. After 10:30 p.m., a unit patrols this and the adjacent area until 6:30 a.m. Please note, officers assigned to this area may be called to perform other functions such as walking escorts and other calls for service.

    Finally, we are pleased that a new blue phone was installed in Amistad Park, based on our request. Read more about the Blue Phones here.

    You said... You wanted a shuttle that stopped in Wooster Square at night.

    We did... We investigated the options with the Yale Transit team and learned the following. The 333 Cedar Express shuttle runs every day from 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., except holidays, and includes the Olive Street and State Street intersection, on the edge of Wooster Square.

    This express service has one pick up location at 333 Cedar St, and has “To Door” service: When boarding the shuttle, please inform the driver of your “To Door” destination that is within the shuttle’s operating boundaries. The route/boundaries are as follows: from 333 Cedar, it travels northbound until it reaches Elm St, westbound until it reaches Howe St, and eastbound until it reaches Olive St. (at State Street).

    All shuttles can be tracked on the Yale Shuttle Tracking URL.

    I also want to share this map, which shows the boundaries for all the shuttles.

    We have added this issue to the agenda for the next YSM Safety & Security Committee, to advocate for expanding the 333 Cedar Express Shuttle route to Olive and Chapel Streets.

    You said... You want to be reminded about how to report mistreatment, harassment, or other unprofessional behavior.

    We did... First, don’t forget about the online "Report a Professionalism Concern" button. It is monitored by the Office of Academic & Professional Development (OAPD) daily and is a quick and easy way to share a concern.

    Over the summer, we updated our policy and procedure on mistreatment and harassment. The policy states, in part, “We embrace our responsibility to create, support, and facilitate a learning environment for our students so that they witness and experience a culture of respect, collegiality, kindness, and cooperation within the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) community,” and that “YSM does not tolerate any incidents of mistreatment or harassment of students by faculty, health professionals, staff, or other trainees. YSM encourages students to report any incidents of mistreatment or harassment, whether directed at themselves or others. YSM takes allegations of such behavior seriously and will investigate and respond to reports of mistreatment or harassment.”

    The full policy, as well as detailed guidance on where and how to report any mistreatment, harassment, or other unprofessional behavior that does occur, is in the policy and procedure posted on our policy webpage. Confidentiality is a high priority, as is dealing with each incident in ways that are respectful and constructive. If you have questions, I encourage you to speak with me, Dean Francis, your advisor, or members of OAPD, DICE, or SHARE. These are always good places to start if you don’t know what to do about a particular situation.

    In late February or early March, we will hold our second annual Town Hall on the learning environment, where we will share information and respond to any questions or concerns you have. We will let you know the date for the Town Hall soon!

  • Student services

    You said... You need more timely access to mental health and wellness counseling.

    We did... Based on recommendations by the Student Mental Health and Wellness Committee, a new Student Mental Health and Wellness Program was started at YSM in September 2021. The program provides access to one-on-one counseling, group counseling, and numerous activities devoted to student wellness. There currently is a social worker (Director Lisa Ho) and wellness counselor (Sundari Birdsall). A third member, a PhD psychologist, is joining the team soon and will be available to meet students starting in January. We encourage students to use this YSM resource.

    The Student Mental Health and Wellness Committee will be sending out a survey to gather student feedback on the new program in order to optimize it even more.

    For more information about expanding Yale Health services, please click here.

    You said... You wanted more access to mental health resources.

    We did...As we mentioned in an earlier newsletter, based on recommendations by the Student Mental Health and Wellness Committee, a new YSM Student Mental Health and Wellness Program was launched at YSM in September 2021. In January 2023, Clinical Psychologist Kathlene Tracy, PhD, joined the program team, so it is now fully staffed with three members: Lisa Ho, LCSW (program manager), Sundari Birdsall, MSW, MPH (wellness counselor), and Dr. Tracy.

    I encourage you to make use of the program’s excellent support services, which include short-term counseling and wellness programming, specifically for YSM students. While this resource is still intended for short-term counseling, we have removed the four-session limit, which we had heard concerns about. We recognize this flexibility is important, for example, to prevent a gap between counseling through this program and accessing longer term care through Yale Mental Health or elsewhere.

    The Student Mental Health and Wellness Committee will be sending out a survey to gather student feedback on the YSM Student Mental Health & Wellness Program in order to optimize it even more.

    You said... You were not clear about the roles of the different Medical Education deans and how they could be helpful.

    We did... We posted the Medical Education organizational chart on our website to provide a graphic showing their roles. Below are a few additional details, so that you will have a better sense of who to reach out to with a question or concern about a particular topic. We very much welcome hearing from you!

    As Deputy Dean for Medical Education, I lead the medical education team and report directly to Dean Brown. Please feel free to reach out if you are unsure about who to contact about a certain concern or if you would like to meet with me directly. My office is on the third floor of Harkness Building D.

    Associate Dean for Student Affairs John Francis: Dean Francis oversees a wide range of student issues, including among many others, academic advising and academic progress, student well-being and support, and student events and organizations. His office is on the second floor of Harkness Building D.

    Associate Dean for Curriculum Michael Schwartz: Dean Schwartz oversees all things related to the curriculum, from iPro to Capstone. His office is on the third floor of Harkness Building D.

    Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid Laura Ment: Many of you met Dean Ment through the admissions process—and/or START@Yale. In addition to admissions, Dean Ment oversees our financial aid operations. Her office is on the second floor of Harkness Building D.

    Associate Deans for Student Research Sarwat Chaudhry and Erica Herzog: Deans Chaudhry and Herzog co-lead the Office of Student Research. They have offices on the second floor of Harkness Building D, with the following office hours: Dean Chaudhry: Wednesdays, 12:00-1:00 p.m.; Dean Herzog: Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 p.m. Please reach out to them for questions and support for student research.

    Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Janet Hafler: Dean Hafler oversees Continuing Medical Education and support of faculty educators through the work of the Teaching and Learning Center. Her office is on the second floor of Harkness Building A.

    Assistant Dean for Education Jaideep Talwalkar: Many of you know Dean Talwalkar through his role leading Clinical Skills (CS). He still oversees CS, but now also helps with projects such as implementation of our Medical Education Strategic Plan and preparation for our upcoming LCME reaccreditation visit.

    Deputy Dean for Professionalism and Leadership and Associate Dean for Global Health Education Bob Rohrbaugh: Dean Rohrbaugh is part of Medical Education because of his global health education role. However, through his other role, he is engaged with professionalism concerns you raise either by reporting them online, in a course evaluation, or directly to someone in medical education leadership.

    Cushing Whitney Medical Library Director John Gallagher: Director Gallagher welcomes hearing any concerns about or ideas for the medical library.

    You said... You would like more opportunities for career advising and more advice about electives in the advanced training period (ATP).

    We did...

    As many of you have heard, we have created six colleges at YSM, similar to the Yale undergraduate model. You will all be members of a college based on your advisory group. Faculty, fellows, residents, and alumni have been invited to be affiliates with each college, with a goal to have representation from almost every specialty in each college. Our hope is that this will facilitate broader opportunities to learn about different careers through college gatherings, mentorship, and career exploration. Stay tuned!

    The August and September elective panel discussion and the session on choosing and scheduling clinical electives and subinternships are once again required for all M3s. In addition, every M3 student should be scheduling a meeting with their advisor to review their ATP plans, including a discussion about electives and subinternships to explore specialties and to help prepare you for residency in your chosen specialty.

    We also want to make sure you are aware of many existing career advising activities at YSM. Read about those here and please send more ideas our way!

    You said... You wanted to better understand how the privacy of mental health records is protected.

    We did...

    In collaboration with Yale Health and the YSM Student Mental Health and Wellness program, we have compiled a summary of information about the protection of student privacy.

    Read more here, including about EPIC and Break The Glass.

    You said... You want the option of monthly parking during your clerkships and ATP.

    We did...

    We reached out to the parking office and received confirmation that while most parking is for the full year, academic year, or the semester, it is possible for any medical or PA student to sign up for monthly parking at the Amistad Garage. The cost is $77.36 per month. (This is a discount of $132; the regular user rate can be as much as $210.12/month, depending on salary.)

    To sign up for monthly parking, call the Parking Office at 203-785-6456 or email and indicate that you are a medical or PA student who needs monthly parking.

    You said... Some are confused about the difference between a longitudinal coach and an academic advisor.

    We did... Each MD student is assigned an academic advisor, whose role is to provide academic and career guidance throughout medical school. Academic advisors provide guidance about scheduling clerkships, subinternships, and electives, choosing a specialty, preparing to apply for residency, meeting graduation requirements, 5th year options, joint degree programs, and integrating the thesis requirement.

    While academic advisors have been part of the MD Program for many years, the 18 longitudinal coaches are new this year, stemming from the 2022 Yale School of Medicine Strategic Plan for Medical Education. Starting with the MD Class of 2027, a longitudinal coach is assigned to each student. The coach will work with the student throughout the curriculum, supporting the student's professional development and helping students monitor their progress in meeting the milestones for each of the nine MD Program competencies. Coaches assist students in identifying progress and achievement, as well as areas for improvement or potential concern across the four-year curriculum. They work with each of their students to develop goals and action plans that are customized to the student's needs and learning style. Importantly, the coaches play no role in evaluating students or in writing the MSPE. This is a critical initiative that supports the longevity and success of the Yale System, while also meeting accreditation requirements.

    You said... It is helpful to be reminded of well-being resources.

    We did... I want to share the link to our well-being resources page on the Student Affairs website.

  • Student spaces

    You said... You wanted an update on our renovation plans for student spaces on campus.

    We did..

    We organized a lunch meeting in April so that you could review the final plans for the first-floor renovation in Harkness (e.g., game room/back of Café Med/Spinelli Lounge). Thank you for letting the project team know you want more comfortable furniture in the game room. Poster boards of these plans are now up in Café Med, so you can take a look. The renovation of the game room and back of Café Med is expected to begin in July. Once these renovations are complete this coming winter, work will begin on Spinelli Lounge. We expect the Spinelli Lounge project to be completed by March 2025.

    You said... The internet is not working well or consistently in the Harkness Building.
    We did... We have scheduled network upgrades for Harkness D (the building with Café Med and the dorms) on the nights of Tuesday, March 28 and Wednesday March 29 (6:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.). This is part of Yale’s Next Generation Network (NGN) transition project to upgrade network cables, wires, and ports to provide better, faster internet service to the buildings. There may be spotty internet access in the buildings the nights the work is being done, but it will be great to have improved internet when the upgrade is complete!
    You said... You need more places to relax on campus.

    We did... We worked with the Medical Student Council (MSC) to improve Spinelli Lounge including: purchasing a new ping pong table, a full-sized refrigerator, and two microwaves; adding a coffee station and a water station; replacing all the furniture, including the rug; painting the room; and adding more outlets and computer tables for comfortable studying. We are working with vendors to get Zoom Room installed, which will allow you to have Zoom meetings in the room, as well as wirelessly share content from your iPads for student group meetings or just to stream movies to the TV. This is the same set-up as the Beaumont Room.

    Additionally, Dean Illuzzi took the YSM facilities and design team on a tour of student spaces, including the mezzanine, gym, Spinelli Lounge, and additional spaces in Café Med. They are preparing a rendering of proposed renovations for students to view and provide feedback!

    You said... You need places to store and secure belongings on campus and at YNHH.

    We did... We identified 120 lockers at the Sterling Hall of Medicine for MS1 and MS2 students, located beneath the Rotunda, and created a sign-up system to be assigned to one of these lockers. Everyone who requests a locker will receive a combination lock.

    Lockers also are available for students during YNHH Clerkships and the ATP. These lockers are on the third-floor connector between YNHH and the Hunter Building, near surgery, SP3 Bypass Corridor. We currently are working with the other hospitals to identify more places to store belongings at other sites.

    A recent Curriculum Update has details about how MS1, MS2, and ATP students can request these lockers.

    Additionally, there are lockers in TAC, outside the second floor labs, which are provided for MS1s to use for labs. A recent Curriculum Update discussed how MS1s get one of these TAC lockers.

    You said... You needed more private spaces on campus to conduct interviews or other important calls.

    We did... Two rooms in the Admissions Office area on the second floor of Harkness are now available for you to use for interviews or other important calls. If you want to reserve one, please contact Deanna Calvert.

    Additionally, the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library installed a privacy pod (a Zenbooth Solo) on a trial basis in the Morse Reading Room. The privacy pod has sound dampening acoustics that prevent conversations inside the booth from being heard outside, and vice versa. The Zenbooth can be used for personal phone calls or Zoom meetings on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you’ve used the privacy pod, the library is interested in hearing your feedback (positive or negative). Your input will help inform whether additional privacy pods might be acquired for the library. We also are considering putting one in Café Med if there is interest!

    If you need a refresher on Office of Student Affair’s practical tips to boost your home internet and to create space for interviewing at home, you can access this information at this link.

    You said... The eight ball is missing from the pool table in the mezzanine.

    We did... We purchased a replacement eight ball, so that people can enjoy a complete game of pool. Although we recognize that this space and the pool table is sorely in need of an update!

    Again, I look forward to your questions or feedback.

    You said... Summer heat made living and sleeping in the Harkness Dormitory very difficult.

    We did... Over the summer, we worked with Yale Housing to install air conditioning units in every room, other than on the 4th floor, which already had air conditioning. A total of 151 units were installed.

    You said... We need more spaces to relax, study, and exercise on campus

    We did... We are very excited to announce the start of phase 1 of renovations!

    The renovations of the Harkness Gym and the Harkness Mezzanine level (where the old pool table sits) will begin on June 26. It is anticipated that the renovations will take approximately 10 weeks, with an expected completion date of September 1, 2023. Additionally, the CWML’s Historical Library and Morse Reading Room are being renovated, also starting June 26, and are expected to reopen in August.

    During the renovations, the Harkness Gym will be closed, but we are pleased to provide free YNHH Livingwell Fitness Center memberships for the duration of the closure. If you would like to have access to the Livingwell Fitness Center, please complete this survey and then we will send you a link to sign up for the hospital fitness center. We have been informed that it can take one-to-two weeks to activate your fitness center badge, but the fitness center has assured us that you simply need to show your Yale ID and they will buzz you in if you are on the list.

    Phase 2 of the renovations will include: new recreation space, new student space in Café Med, additional improvements in the Harkness Gym, and renovation of Spinelli Lounge. Stay tuned for more details!

    Click here for details about the phase 1 renovations!

    You said... You needed more quiet and private places to join Zoom meetings, do an online interview, or take a phone call

    We did... The library has installed two more privacy booths on the lower level that are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. All three booths are now located on the E-Level in the study space near the Technology Support Service Center. (You can read more about the booths, as well as the renovations, in the latest issue of the CWML newsletter.)

    Additionally, two rooms in the Admissions Office on the second floor of Harkness D are available for you to use for interviews or other important calls. These rooms, ESHD 210A and ESHD 210B, are being added to the EMS reservation system and will be available to reserve online.

    You said... It is hard to find space in YNHH to take a break, relax, or study.

    We did... We worked with hospital and resident leadership to give all students on clinical rotations ID badge access to the resident lounges (now called Trainee Lounges) starting on July 1 at both the York Street Campus (YSC) and St. Raphael Campus (SRC). We will stock the lounges with extra coffee, drinks, and snacks! Please remember that the sandwiches in the lounge are intended for those of you working on shifts when the cafeteria is closed.

    YNHH leadership also invites all students to visit the Healing Garden on the seventh floor of Smilow Cancer Hospital. This is a site for respite and peace for anyone needing to get away for a bit from the busy clinical environment.

    The YSC Trainee Lounge is on the 2nd floor of East Pavilion, and the SRC Trainee Lounge is located on the basement level under the main elevators.

    You said... You have trouble storing your things during clinical rotations and on campus.

    We did... We have labeled 16 new lockers for medical student use in the SRC Trainee Lounge on the basement level under the main elevators. Please bring your own lock or the one supplied by the Office of Curriculum and feel free to use a locker for the duration of your rotation at SRC. Your ID badge should work there beginning July 1!

    We have installed 60 new lockers adjacent to the Clinical Skills Suite in the Harkness Basement. If students find these useful, we will install more. The Office of Student Affairs will be assigning lockers to incoming first years and to pre-clerkship second years. Don’t forget about all the lockers in the basement of Sterling Hall of Medicine, too.

    Every clerkship and ATP student doing a rotation at YSC should have an assigned locker on the 3rd floor connecting bridge to the hospital. If not, please contact Susan Larkin or Francesca Torelli.

    You said... We need to improve the Harkness Gym.

    We did...

    We are happy to announce that the Harkness Gym has reopened—a couple of days early!—after the summer renovation. You can start using it again, 24/7. I hope many of you are able to attend the Office of Student Affairs event today (Sept. 7) at 12 p.m., to see and celebrate the renovations—and enjoy snacks and get a Yale water bottle.

    We appreciate your patience during the renovation and your help designing the space and guiding the equipment decisions. We hope you enjoy the new equipment, flooring, lighting, mirrors, and air circulation, as well as updated bathrooms and showers. (Please note, school-sponsored memberships at the hospital’s LivingWell facility expired on August 31, now that we can use the Harkness Gym again.)

    I hope you also have a chance to check out the updated Morse Reading Room, the Historical Library, and the Mezzanine space above Café Med.

    I encourage you to complete this short survey, which asks for your feedback on these renovations. (The survey will be available at the gym celebration too.)