Our Program for Educators in Health Professions course brings together scholars from across the globe annually in May. To better highlight our community, we decided to profile a number of our recent scholars. In this blog post, we interview Karina R. Clemmons, Associate Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics and Assistant Dean for Medical Education at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Harvard Macy Institute: How would you describe your personal and professional background?

Karina: I have been an educator for over 20 years, in the United States and abroad. My doctorate is in education with a focus in curriculum and instruction from the University of Central Florida. I am currently Associate Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics, as well as Assistant Dean of Medical Education at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. I serve as a co-course director for several required courses in the MD curriculum and work to implement improvements across the MD curriculum.

Harvard Macy Institute: What led you to apply to this program?

Karina: It was the convergence of two circumstances that prompted me to apply to the program. At the time I applied, I was in a new leadership role at my institution as the Assistant Dean of Medical Education, and I was also in a new teaching position as a co-course director for our residency preparation course that is required for all our senior medical students.

Harvard Macy Institute: How would you describe your overall experience in the course?

Karina: Despite being disrupted by the pandemic, my overall experience with the course was fantastic. I maintained a focused growth mindset during the experience and had an enjoyable time. Overall, my participation in the program pushed me to grow in a very constructive and collaborative environment with world class experts. Learning from these professionals and also the diverse colleagues and faculty members who participated in the class was amazing. During my time in the course, part of my project was to create a podcast. A few of the people in my project group knew people from other institutions and were open to connecting me with them for my project. Also, I connected with Victoria Brazil who leads the Harvard Macy Institute podcast, and she zoom called me from Australia to help me understand some podcasting basics. This is a specific example from my experience during the course, but it is really illustrative of the networking and global reach of the Program for Educators in Health Professions course.

Harvard Macy Institute: Could you share the two most important takeaways that you gained from the Program for Educators in Health Professions?

Karina: One takeaway would be the toolkit of knowledge that I left the course with, which supports my contributions and professional growth. The second most important takeaway for me was my interactions with the faculty in the course and also the other scholars in the course who are faculty members at other institutions. Those interactions really helped me grow as an educator and helped me develop a lasting network of colleagues to continue to learn with and connect with.

Harvard Macy Institute: How was this course applicable to your work in health care?

Karina: The course was immediately applicable to my endeavors at my institution, in terms of my project and working to create quality improvements to the residency preparation course that I was the new co-course direct for. The course curriculum and student experience aspects of the course were very applicable to my work. We have actually implemented some of what I have learned from the course into my institution this academic year. This course also continues to be applicable to this endeavor as it provides me with the knowledge and the skills to pursue these changes. I have even gone back to reference readings and coursework from the class. I am also even still connected with the colleagues I met in my course two years ago.

Harvard Macy Institute: Would you recommend the course to others? If so, why?

Karina: I would absolutely recommend this course. You are able to work on projects that are directly applicable to you and get very constructive feedback from other participants and the faculty facilitators, which allows you to progress with your projects within the course. After the course, I realized how important that the continued networking and relationship building with the other scholars was and worked to maintain those relationships. Additionally, I am participating as a faculty facilitator this year which is a whole different level of being able to give back to the folks in my project group. I get to now help other faculty members with their projects which is a very rewarding experience.

Check out our Program for Educators in Health Professions course website for more information!

Did you know that the Harvard Macy Institute Community Blog has had more than 350 posts? Previous blog posts have interviewed scholars including Alvaro Garcia-Romero Perez, Elvira Lang, and Sunny G. Hallowell.

Karina R. Clemmons

Karina R. Clemmons, EdD (Educators ’21) is Associate Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics and Assistant Dean for Medical Education at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine. Karina’s areas of professional interest include evidenced based education, medical education, active learning, and student success. Karina can be followed on LinkedIn or contacted via email