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AAIM Member Spotlight
How long have you been a member of AAIM?
Since 2008, when I started working in the internal medicine residency program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. At that point we were part of the EIP—Education Innovation Project—through ACGME. We would attend EIP meetings that met at the AAIM meeting.
Describe your typical day.
Mostly teaching and mentoring faculty and residents and teaching medical students as well. I also have protected time for research. I am an education researcher focused on empathy. I use educational interventions to increase empathy skills in adults, including the medical students, residents and faculty. I, along with my collaborators, started working on this in 2010 when we conducted the first empathic workshop with residents called WeTALK. Then in 2013, our department chair asked us to train the whole faculty.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Mentoring residents and faculty, teaching, and research in empathy.
How has the AAIM membership been of value to you and your career?
I think it comes down to relationships that I’ve formed. When I first attended meetings I was part of EIP—we’d have dinners and working sessions. I started to get to know people who were as passionate about medical education as I was. I appreciate AAIM as an organization and for bringing both MDs and non MDs together.
What's your favorite moment of your career so far?
It was probably a month and a half ago. I teach interprofessional improv to nursing students, medical students, and pharmacy students and now veterinarian students. We teach interprofessional communication skills—clinician to clinician. One tenet of improv is to give “gifts”—where participants try to set up their partner for success. There was one moment in class when I witnessed it was really working—they were really helping each other with gifts. One student commented on how great it would be if we put this into practice in the workplace and everyone tried to set each other up for success in patient care.
What was your childhood dream job?
When I was a kid I thought I wanted to be a lawyer and then I realized I just wanted to be on LA Law. I started acting when I was 12. I went to University of Washington and majored in drama and psychology.
How do you spend your free time?
I love doing yoga in the 105 degree, 90 minute classes.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I really love fantasy football. People are surprised how passionate I am about football. Especially the Denver Broncos. On a more serious note, I grew up with few economic resources during periods of time. For a time when I was a sophomore, they would not let me go to high school because I didn’t have a permanent address.
The Alliance turns the spotlight on members to highlight how they are making a difference and how they have benefited from AAIM membership.
It offers an opportunity for you to share your story with your colleagues, inspire future academic internal medicine professionals, and strengthen awareness of the profession and association. Member Spotlight appears regularly on www.im.org and in AAIM Connection. To nominate another member or yourself, submit a name online or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amy Zelenski, PhD
Amy B. Zelenski, PhD
Director of Education
Department of Medicine
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health