Karen C Spear-Ellinwood
- Director, Faculty Instructional Development
- Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology - (Educator Scholar Track)
Before becoming an educator, I practiced law (primarily criminal defense) for 13 years, after having earned a JD from Brooklyn Law School (1986), and admission to the State Bar of Arizona and Federal District of Arizona in 1987. I was born and raised in Long Island, New York, and attended state schools and colleges. I earned a bachelor's degree in Social Work (1982), after completing an associates in applied science (AAS) in criminal justice, where I studied methods of forensic investigation, principles of corrections, psychology, and other aspects of criminal investigation and law.
My legal practice motivated me to become an educator. Most, if not all, of my clients in indigent defense had never graduated from high school. Some had not been promoted to high school or dropped out early. I returned to college to improve my Spanish language skills and obtained certification for substitute teaching. I taught in TUSD schools, and received multiple requests to return to teach at the local Roskruge Middle Bilingual Magnet School. After one semester, the principal volunteered me to attend a meeting on bilingual education, that was, in fact, a recruitment session for bilingual educators to go back to school for an advanced degree in bilingual methods. The University of Arizona awarded me a full scholarship to support my studies and earn my degree as an Education Specialist (EdS) in bilingual education (completed in 2003). I continued at the University of Arizona College of Education with the encouragement of my advisor, Luis C. Moll, PhD (now retired) to earn my PhD in education.
I also write fiction and non-fiction for personal enjoyment. I completed a Fiction Fellowship at CUNY Writers' Institute in 2010-11. In addition to writing children’s books in English and as bilingual stores, I write novels, cookbooks and guides for children, parents and teachers on learning how to read and write.
My primary responsibilities at the University of Arizona College of Medicine are associated with my position as Director of Faculty Instructional Development. As such, I create programs to support faculty, fellows and residents in developing skills for teaching and assessing medical students and residents. I develop and implement curriculum for instructional development programs, and recruit faculty and education professionals with relevant expertise to assist in implementing that curricula.
Current programs and activities are described in more detail on FID website. My responsibilities include designing and implementing the annual Residents as Educators (RAE) Orientation each June, and directing ongoing RAE efforts through the Residents as Educators (RAE) Program. I created the Affiliate Clinical Educators (ACE) Program to mirror instructional support of the RAE program for clinical educators who teach our medical students at community-based sites. With a background in designing learning technologies, I emphasize the use of technology for teaching. Understanding the challenges involved in bridging two professions, I mentor several faculty each year in how to design, implement and report education related research in medical education (Teaching Scholars Program).
I serve in several roles, including as a member of the Clinical Reasoning Course Team, co-directed by Paul St. John, PhD, and Alice Min, MD, where I design and implement training and collaborate in the development of the course. I serve as a resource for other educational committees in the College of Medicine, such as TEVS, TCMS, TCCS and TEPC.
As an Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, I have collaborated with department colleagues in designing, implementing and/or drafting manuscripts for publication or presentation. My education research in the coming year will involve a greater proportion of my time spent fulfilling academic responsibilities of a faculty member. For example, I am embarking on 3 new education research projects, including a multi-institutional study on clinical teaching practices. In the fall term of 2015-16, I was invited to serve as a faculty member of Women in Academic Medicine and collaborated with another WAM member to present the WAM event in December 2015. I also serve on the committee for the Medical Education Distinction Track.
- Ph.D. Education
- University of Arizona College of Education, Tucson, Arizona, United States
- Re-Conceptualizing the Organizing Circumstance of Learning
- Ed.S. Education (Focal Area: Bilingual Education)
- College of Education, Tucson, Arizona, United States
- Bilingualism and biliteracy (I'll have to update with full title later)
- J.D. Law
- Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York, United States
- The History of Due Process Rights of In Rem Tenants in New York (this was not a dissertation but a scholarly writing requirement)
- B.S.W. Social Work
- SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York, United States
- A.A.S. Criminal Justice, Police and Corrections
- Suffolk County Community College, Selden, New York, United States
- University of Arizona College of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2015 - Ongoing)
- University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, Arizona (2014 - Ongoing)
- University of Arizona College of Medicine, Office of Medical Student Education (2011 - 2014)
- University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, Arizona (2010 - 2012)
- Zonebee LLC (2009 - 2010)
- The University of Arizona Science Center (2008 - 2009)
- University of Arizona College of Education Office of the Associate Dean (2004 - 2007)
- Tucson Unified School District, Roskruge Bilingual Magnet School (1999 - 2002)
- Karen Courtenay Spear (1996 - 2000)
- Pima County Public Defender (1987 - 1996)
Licensure & Certification
- Attorney at Law, State Bar of Arizona (1987)
Socratic or other inquiry methods for teaching in clinical settings; reflective engagement in teaching and learning; metacognitive engagement in clinical problem-solving; development of clinical reasoning and professional identity; residents as educators development; developing communication skills for clinical practice and teaching in clinical settings; the use of technology to promote reflective engagement in learning; integration of technology in teaching; self-regulated learning; education research; developmental approach to curriculum development, teaching, and faculty development
Faculty coaching on classroom and clinical teaching; Socratic inquiry and other methodologies for teaching in clinical settings; formative feedback strategies; residents as educators; strategies for addressing language and diversity issues; law, ethics and medicine; law and education; ethical responsibility; communication skills
Arizona Education LawEDL 562 (Spring 2018)
Arizona Education LawEDL 562 (Spring 2017)
- Min Simpkins, A. A., Koch, B. D., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., & St. John, P. (2019). A developmental assessment of clinical reasoning in preclinical medical education.. Medical Education Online.
- Min Simpkins, A. A., Min Simpkins, A. A., Koch, B. D., Koch, B. D., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., St. John, P., & St. John, P. (2019). A developmental assessment of clinical reasoning in preclinical medical education. Medical Education Online, 24(1), 10. doi:10.1080/10872981.2019.1591257More infoAlice A. Min Simpkins, Bryna Koch, Karen Spear-Ellinwood & Paul St. John (2019) A developmental assessment of clinical reasoning in preclinical medical education, Medical Education Online, 24:1, DOI: 10.1080/10872981.2019.1591257 ABSTRACT Background: Clinical reasoning is an essential skill to be learned during medical education. A developmental framework for the assessment and measurement of this skill has not yet been described in the literature. Objective: The authors describe the creation and pilot implementation of a rubric designed to assess the development of clinical reasoning skills in pre-clinical medical education. Design: The multi-disciplinary course team used Backwards Design to develop course goals, objectives, and assessment for a new Clinical Reasoning Course. The team focused on behaviors that students were expected to demonstrate, identifying each as a ‘desired result’ element and aligning these with three levels of performance: emerging, acquiring, and mastering. Results: The first draft of the rubric was reviewed and piloted by faculty using sample student entries; this provided feedback on ease of use and appropriateness. After the first semester, the course team evaluated whether the rubric distinguished between different levels of student performance in each competency. A systematic approach based on descriptive analysis of mid- and end of semester assessments of student performance revealed that from mid- to end-of-semester, over half the students received higher competency scores at semester end. Conclusion: The assessment rubric allowed students in the early stages of clinical reasoning development to understand their trajectory and provided faculty a framework from which to give meaningful feedback. The multi-disciplinary background of the course team supported a systematic and robust course and assessment design process. The authors strongly encourage other colleges to support the use of collaborative and multi-disciplinary course teams.
- Stoneking, L. R., Min, A., Johnson, A. C., Bertels, K. L., Pritchard, T. G., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., & Waterbrook, A. L. (2018). Shadowing emergency medicine residents by medical education specialists to provide feedback on non-medical knowledge-based ACGME sub-competencies. Advances in Medical Education and Practice, 9, 307-315. doi:10.2147/AMEP.S151216
- Waterbrook, A. L., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Pritchard, T. G., Bertels, K., Johnson, A. C., Min, A., & Stoneking, L. R. (2018). Shadowing emergency medicine residents by medical education specialists to provide feedback on non-medical knowledge-based ACGME sub-competencies. Advances in Medical Education and Practice, 2018(9), 307–315. doi:10.2147/AMEP.S151216More infoThis manuscript was developed from an on-going study that is examining Emergency Medicine Residents' beliefs about the effectiveness of Medical Education Specialists in providing real-time, end-of shift, and written feedback. Two medical education specialists observed individual residents for a full shift and provided them with oral and written feedback regarding Professionalism, Interpersonal Skills and Communication, time management and organiziation.
- Min, A. A., Min, A. A., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Berman, M., Berman, M., Nisson, P., Nisson, P., Rhodes, S. M., & Rhodes, S. M. (2016). Social worker assessment of bad news delivery by emergency medicine residents: a novel direct-observation milestone assessment. Internal and Emergency Medicine.
- Reed, H. A., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., & De Leon, S. B. (2015). The Effect of a Front-Loaded Curriculum on Student Preparedness for the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 126, 595-605.More infoI participated in data analysis, collaborated on the poster presentation and in the revision of the manuscript.
- Min, A. A., Stoneking, L. R., Grall, K. H., & Spear-Ellinwood, K. (2014). Implementation of the Introductory Clinician Development Series: an optional boot camp for Emergency Medicine interns. Advances in medical education and practice, 5, 275-9.More infoThe transition from medical student to first-year intern can be challenging. The stress of increased responsibilities, the gap between performance expectations and varying levels of clinical skills, and the need to adapt to a new institutional space and culture can make this transition overwhelming. Orientation programs intend to help new residents prepare for their new training environment.
- Stoneking, L. R., Grall, K. H., Min, A., Dreifuss, B., & Spear Ellinwood, K. C. (2014). Role of an audience response system in didactic attendance and assessment. Journal of graduate medical education, 6(2), 335-7.More infoThe Residency Review Committee for Emergency Medicine mandates conference participation, but tracking attendance is difficult and fraught with errors. Feedback on didactic sessions, if not collected in real time, is challenging to obtain.
- Arnett, M., Cornelison, B. R., Bassford, T. L., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., & Shirai, Y. (2019, Summer). Creative Approaches for Integrating Patients/Families and Community Members as Participants and Facilitators in Interprofessional Education Activities.. the annual meetings of the Nexus Summit of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education. Minneapolis, MN: the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education.
- Chan, T., Hall, E., Hurtubise, L., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., & Frank, J. (. (2019, Novermber). Online Communities: Leveraging Technology to Connect Medical Educators for Professional Development. Learn Serve & Lead 2019: AAMC Annual Meeting. Phoenix, AZ.More infoDescription: As our academic medicine community considered professional development strategies for clinician educators in support of our triple missions, traditional solutions may not be feasible or optimal. Busy clinical schedules and reduced funding may get in the way of traveling to and participating in face-to-face meetings. There also may be few colleagues locally with similar interests, which can limit local professional development options and lead clinician educators to feel undervalued and isolated. In recent years, efforts to leverage online collaborative learning tools to connect like-minded individuals from around the country and the world have been implemented. Online professional development now connects individuals and supports the creation of online communities that promote the professional development of isolated and, potentially, all medical educators. This session will highlight several models of these online communities. Presenters will discuss online graduate programs, communities of practice, and the use of social media to deliver content and connect faculty virtually to develop teaching and scholarship skills.
- Shirai, Y., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Bassford, T. L., Cornelison, B. R., & Arnett, M. (2019, November). Creative Approaches for Integrating Patients/Families and Community Members as Participants and Facilitators in Interprofessional Education Activities.. the annual meetings of the Nexus Arizona Summit of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education. Phoenix, Arizona: the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education.
- Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Cornelison, B. R., & Arnett, M. (2019, August). Creative Approaches for Integrating Patients/families and Community Members as Participants and Facilitators in Interprofessional Education Activities. NEXUS Summit 2019. Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- Clemens, C. J., Moynahan, K. F., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Knox, K. S., & Martinez, G. F. (2017, February). The GME program conundrum: A grounded theory of valued characteristics.. AAMC-WGEA Conference 2017AAMC.
- Lebensohn, P., Armin, J., Hansen, A., & Spear-Ellinwood, K. C. (2017, FEB). Intersecting Medical Humanities and Health Care Disparities teaching: the power of reflective writing. WGEA 2017. Salt Lake City, UT.More infoThis small group session was designed to describe how a reflective writing exercise can be used in medical education, Identify ways in which reflective writing is integral to the longitudinal health disparities curriculum; describe findings of a reflective writing exercise on how the culture of providers and patients affect patient care dynamics; and brainstorm with audience members ideas for creating opportunities to include reflective writing at their home institutions.I assisted in the generation of this project, the analysis of data and the interactive presentation to the audience.
- Martinez, G., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Moynahan, K., & Clemens, C. (2017, FEB). The GME program conundrum: A grounded theory of valued characteristics. WGEA 2017. Salt Lake City, UT.More infoThis was a small group oral abstract session. I participated in conducting the research, primarily an intensive qualitative analysis of data from interviews with participants, and contributed to the editing of the presentation for WGEA.The presentation focused on the research question that sought to describe the metrics that are highly valued by educational leaders regarding the quality of our GME programs, particularly those metrics that might be under-recognized at the national level.Regarding the oral session, Dr. Martinez did the presentation and I contributed as needed.
- Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Stoneking, L. R., Min, A., Bertles, K., & Pritchard, T. G. (2017, FEB). Emergency Medicine Residents Value the Shadow Shift/Evaluation Process by Education Specialists. WGEA 2017. Salt Lake City, UT.More infoThis project represents an ongoing collaboarative effort of emergency medicine residency program directors, education professionals, and residents. The puprose was to enhance the quality and depth of formative feedback to residents regarding non-medical knowledge competencies. Effective communication skills are essential to building good patient rapport, communication and patient outcomes, as well as for successful collaborative working relations with peers, attendings and consulting physicians.Session Objectives The small group discussion of this process has the following objectives:-- Describe the shadow shift/evaluation process for assessing and providing formative feedback to residents regarding performance of non-medical knowledge competencies.- Discuss results of the ongoing study- Discuss challenges raised by this process in terms of patient care, patient flow, resident and attending acceptance and cooperation; resident evaluation, evaluator competence, and inter-departmental collaboration.- Describe and discuss how project leaders addressed these challenges.
- Pettit, J. M., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., & Pettit, J. M. (2015, June 30). Resident As Educator. University of Arizona Intern Orientation (Institutional). Tucson Marriott University Park.More infoJessie M. Pettit facilitated a group using case-based approach addressing methods of teaching in clinical settings, for interns from various specialtiesKaren Spear-Ellinwood designed the RAE Orientation activity and wrote all but 1 case for the orientation case-based activities. The case involving the Medicine specialty was written by T. Gail Pritchard, PhD.Jesse M. Pettit was a facilitator at this event, facilitating interaction among several incoming interns from various departments and programs at the UA CoM.
- Clemens, C. J., Moynahan, K. F., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Knox, K. S., & Martinez, G. F. (2017, February). The GME program conundrum: A grounded theory of valued characteristics.. AAMC-WGEA Conference 2017. Salt Lake City, UT: AAMC.
- Spear-Ellinwood, K. C. (2018, MAR). How Clinician Faculty Deﬁne and Perceive 'Pimping' in Medical Education: Intention Matters. WGEA Conference. Denver, CO.More infoWGEA accepted this poster for presentation at the regional conference in 2018. This mixed methods study addresses the instructional practice known as "pimping" in medial undergraduate and graduate education.ISSUE: While physician perceptions of this practice known as "pimping" may vary, many have viewed this instructional approach as negative or even harmful. Some physicians have indicated that "pimping" is a form of learner mistreatment, while others assert that it has been an effective teaching tool in their own learning experiences. This study aims to describe how clinical faculty define this instructional practice, to what extent they perceive it as effective and for which purposes, and whether and to what extent they recommend its use in undergraduate and graduate medical education. DATA COLLECTION: Anonymous survey to clinical educators affiliated with a southwestern school of medicine who teach both medical students and medical residents. The survey was created using Qualtrics survey software, and consists of multiple choice as well as open-ended responses. Respondents indicate their specialty and position (e.g., clerkship director, co-director, affiliated faculty), and may also indicate their gender, age range and teaching experience as well as the region in which they attended residency.DATA ANALYSIS: Analysis includes both descriptive and inferential statistics as well as qualitative analysis of open-ended responses using grounded theory as adapted by Charmaz (2014) and Maxwell & Miller (2008).
- Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Min, A., Cogan, J., & St. John, P. (2018, MAR). Medical Students Perceptions of Helpful Feedback in a Clinical Reasoning Course: Implications for Facilitator Development. WGEA Conference. Denver, CO.More infoWGEA accepted this poster for presentation at the regional conference in 2018. This mixed methods study addresses the concept of constructive feedback in medical education, its importance for student development as perceived by medical students. This study describes the features students believe are essential to feedback, specifically they describe what makes feedback more or less helpful. We administered an anonymous survey of second year medical students (N=90). Students reviewed four examples of feedback relevant to Clinical Reasoning course activities, rated the extent to which they would be helpful on a 4-point scale (not helpful to very helpful), and provided explanations for responses. Student perceptions of feedback usefulness were well-aligned with the reflective feedback conversation model (Cantillon & Sargeant, 2008) and prior studies (see, Hewson & Little, 1998) identifying statistically significant feedback features, including providing concrete descriptions of “positive” and “negative”behaviors, and constructive guidance for improvement. Findings will inform development of feedback guidelines for facilitators in the Clinical Reasoning course. I will present this at the WGEA conference in Denver in March 2018.
- Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Stoneking, L. R., Bertles, K., Pritchard, T. G., & Johnson, A. C. (2017, FEB/2017). Emergency Medicine Residents Value the Shadow Shift/Evaluation Process by Education Specialists. WGEA 2017. Salt Lake City, Utah.More infoThis project represents an ongoing collaboarative effort of emergency medicine residency program directors, education professionals, and residents. The puprose was to enhance the quality and depth of formative feedback to residents regarding non-medical knowledge competencies. Effective communication skills are essential to building good patient rapport, communication and patient outcomes, and for successful collaborative working relations with peers, attendings and consulting physicians.Research question Do residents anticipate or find value in an observation and evaluation process by education specialists assessing their performance of non-medical knowledge competencies per specialty milestones?
- Koch, B. D., Ellis, S., Gordon, H., Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Hansen, A., Min, A., & St. John, P. (2016, MAR). Implementing a Clinical Reasoning Student Assessment Tool Based on a “Milestone” Model. WGEA 2016.More infoStudy addressed these two questions:1) Does the new assessment tool distinguish between levels of performance and/or capture student progress?2) Do facilitators’ assessments align with a qualitative analysis of a select sub-group of ThinkShare® entries?My primary contributions were: 1) developing the assessment instrument; 2) conducting qualitative analysis of data, and 3) assisting in editing the poster.
- Smith, J. M., & Spear-Ellinwood, K. C. (2015, June). Confidence of Ophthalmology Topics for Step 1 Preparation related to a Pre-Clinical Curriculum. University of Arizona Medical Student Research Day.More infoTeaching Scholars Project: review of pre-clinical curriculum and method of instruction as it related to confidence in medical students for their Step 1 preparation I assisted in the project design and mentored data collection and analysis, and provided editing for project.
- Spear-Ellinwood, K. C., Bassford, T. L., Shirai, Y., & Arnett, M. (2019. Vicky's Big Move. Center for Transformative Interprofessioanl Healthcare, UA Health Sciences Center Disabilities Event. UAHS, Tucson, AZ.More infohttps://youtu.be/IYU6p4AVKTgThis video was created for the Center for Transformative Interprofessional Healthcare of the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center (UAHS) as curriculum for an educational event entitled, “Interprofessional Education Disabilities Event”. Editors include Dr. Tamsen Bassford, Family & Community Medicine, Dr. Yumi Shirai, Family & Community Medicine; and Margie Arnet, MS, Center for Transformative Interprofessional Healthcare. Camera, Direction and production credit: Roy Wageman, BioCommunications, UAHS