DEM Faculty Receive UA COM Medical Education Awards

November 7, 2017

Each year, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and its members of the Academy of Medical Education Scholars (AMES) promote excellence in teaching and educational scholarship by recognizing outstanding educators during the Faculty Teaching Awards and the Vernon and Virginia Furrow Awards ceremony. Grants also are awarded to support medical education research projects.

This year, Aaron Leetch, MD, associate professor and director of the Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics Residency Program, received the distinguished Vernon and Virginia Furrow Teaching Award for Excellence in Innovation in Medical Education at the 2017 event Oct. 25.

Dr. Leetch received the award for his development of the podcast AZEMCast, an educational emergency medicine podcast that started out as a project for University of Arizona emergency medicine residents, but now has an international following. The podcast is available through iTunes as well as Podbean (

Elaine Situ-LaCasse, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, and her collaborators were awarded an AMES Grant for Medical Education Research to support her medical education/research project, “Can Ultrasound Naïve First-Year Medical Students Develop Hand-On Skills in Image Acquisition after Reviewing Online Ultrasound Modules?”

The study is looking for alternative ways to educate medical students on using ultrasound in the evaluation and management of patients due to the scarcity of qualified teachers. The AMES grant will be used to further evaluate the ability of medical students to learn sonoanatomy and ultrasound technique through online modules by funding the purchase of more SonoSim modules and hiring live models for hands-on ultrasound scanning.

Collaborators are Srikar Adhikari, MD, MS, associate professor of emergency medicine, Asad E. Patanwala, PharmD, MPH, associate professor, College of Pharmacy, and David Biffar, MS, director of operations, Arizona Simulation Technology and Education Center.