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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Debra Klamen Leads SIU's Innovation in Med Education

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New title brings added responsibilities New title brings added responsibilities

Since the 1980s, SIU School of Medicine has been internationally praised for its pioneering efforts in medical education, including simulated patients and problem-based learning. Debra Klamen, MD, MPHE, joined SIU in 2004 to lead medical education, and she continues to position the medical school as the international leader through continual new innovations.

Klamen, previously associate dean for education and curriculum and professor and chair of the Department of Medical Education, recently was named senior associate dean for education and curriculum, with added responsibilities to oversee the medical library, the Department of Information Resources and the Office of Continuing Professional Development.

“The school’s dedication to innovation and education, and working with amazing colleagues like Reed Williams and the entire medical education faculty has kept me here at SIU,” Klamen said.

In 2013, the School of Medicine received three international “Aspire to Excellence” awards from the Academy of Medical Educators in Europe (AMEE) for student engagement, social accountability and assessment. Klamen has just been named chair of AMEE’s newly formed ASPIRE Academy.

Klamen has led teams to look at evaluating students' competency and their performance. She created the Academy for Scholarship in Education in 2005 to help faculty improve their teaching skills.

In this school year, third-year students are experiencing another brainchild: a “transformed” curriculum that includes more integration and immersion in clinical experiences so students can discover what medical specialty they want to pursue.

“The school’s dedication to innovation and education, and working with amazing colleagues like Reed Williams and the entire medical education faculty has kept me here at SIU,” Klamen said.

Her most rewarding moments have come when she watches medical students stand out with the best at national and international meetings as they present on medical education. “I also love helping mentor students into the potential and leadership capacity that they already have but just don’t recognize it yet!” Klamen is the past-president of the Central Group on Educational Affairs and a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners' task force on communication. She also is deputy editor of the international journal Teaching and Learning in Medicine based at SIU School of Medicine.

Klamen has authored dozens of journal publications and books on the topic of medical education, resident readiness, and students’ cultures of learning. She completed her psychiatry residency at UIC (1989). She earned her medical degree at University of Chicago (1985) and her bachelor's degree in genetics at UI in Champaign-Urbana (1981). She earned her master's in health professions education at UIC (1998). She also participated in the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program for Women (2001-02).

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