A Systems Approach to Assessment in Health Professions Education (Virtual Course)

(Offered Annually)

2022 Highly Interactive Virtual Course:
October 16 - 21, 2022

Application portal is now open / deadline to apply is July 29, 2022
2022 Course Fee:

Acceptance emails are sent 2-3 weeks after the application deadline

Program Directors:

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Elizabeth Armstrong, PhD
Harvard Macy Institute
Harvard Medical School
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John Dalrymple, MD
Associate Dean
Medical Education QI
Harvard Medical School
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Lauren Germain, Ph.D., M.Ed.
Director of Evaluation, Assessment and Research
SUNY Upstate

Thomas Aretz, MD
Vice President
Mass General Brigham
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Louis Pangaro, MD
Department Chair
Uniformed Services University

Course Description

The Harvard Macy Institute’s highly interactive virtual, A Systems Approach to Assessment in Health Professions Education course, is designed to encourage participants to apply systems thinking in designing assessment programs to support the continuous quality improvement of students/trainees, faculty, and curricula at their academic health science institutions. The program incorporates multiple pedagogical methods, including interactive presentations, case discussions, small group journal clubs, institutional planning groups, selectives (focused mini-sessions/workshops on assessment tools and approaches), and consultations with faculty experts. During this intensive 5-day online program, educators and administrators from diverse health science disciplines will be introduced to key concepts from system theory, best practices in educational assessment, and mini-workshops focused on specific assessment approaches. Throughout the program, participants will also have an opportunity to apply systems principles in case discussions depicting problematic assessment situations and to plan an assessment/evaluation design to implement at their home institution.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this online course, participants will be able to:

  • Assess the educational components of participants home institution from a systems perspective
  • Identify the primary functions of individual educational components of their system
  • Identify the essential processes that need to occur at the interfaces between/among components within the educational system to add value to the competencies of their of graduates
  • Outline the communications pathways that currently exist within the educational (sub) system
  • Examine the quality of their institution's communication pathways, specifically for 1) the flow of multiple sources of performance data to individuals/groups (hubs) best positioned to interpret assessment information in context and 2) the existence of direct feedback pathways to individuals/groups empowered to make corrections and adjustments
  • Design and implement a comprehensive systems-based assessment program to evaluate their institutions institution's performance in promoting a primary educational goal



The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Harvard Medical School designates this live activity for a maximum of 40.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada recognizes conferences and workshops held outside of Canada that are developed by a university, academy, hospital, specialty society or college as accredited group learning activities.

Through an agreement between the American Medical Association and the European Union of Medical Specialists, physicians may convert AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ to an equivalent number of European CME Credits® (ECMECs®). Information on the process of converting AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ to ECMECs® can be found at: www.eaccme.eu..

*Note: AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ is calculated based on submission of a preliminary agenda and may be subject to change.

Harvard Medical School (HMS) adheres to all ACCME Accreditation Criteria and Policies. It is HMS’s policy that those who have influenced the content of a CME activity (e.g., planners, faculty, authors, reviewers, and others) disclose all relevant financial relationships with commercial entities so that HMS may identify and resolve any conflicts of interest prior to the activity. These disclosures will be provided in the activity materials along with disclosure of any commercial support received for the activity. Additionally, faculty members have been instructed to disclose any limitations of data and unlabeled or investigational uses of products during their presentations.

CME activities accredited by Harvard Medical School are offered solely for educational purposes and do not constitute any form of certification of competency. Practitioners should always consult additional sources of information and exercise their best professional judgment before making clinical decisions of any kind.

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Scholar Experience

Sample of Distinguished Faculty

Connie Bowe, MDFounding Course Director Emeritus
Eric Holmboe, MDChief Research, Milestone Development, and Evaluation Officer, ACGME
Brent Thoma, MDAssociate Professor Emergency Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
Mark Grichanik, PhDDirector of Program Evaluation, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Alice Fornari, EdDAssociate Dean for Educational Skills Development, Zucker School of Medicine