Enjoy the next Thomas Jefferson Point-of-Care Ultrasound Educator of the Month Series! This post is brought to you by Danielle Matilsky MD Point-of-Care Ultrasound Faculty at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.
Thomas Jefferson’s Ultrasound Educator of the Month series kicked off 2018 with an inspiring discussion with Wilma Chan, MD, EdM. Dr. Chan is a rising leader in undergraduate medical education in the field of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS). She directs the program at the where she has built an integrative curriculum for medical students. Dr. Chan is well known for her social media presence (@Wil_MaChan) and her innovative teaching style.
Dr. Chan completed her emergency medicine training at the University of Chicago in 2013. At that time, there was no ultrasound division in her residency program and there was no required ultrasound rotation. Dr. Chan recalls there was no formal quality assurance program, no established fellowship, and not many mentors in ultrasound. Still, she had a passion for education and teaching, and sought to master ultrasound to develop a niche to teach. She felt, “If I could learn it, I could teach it.”
She completed ultrasound training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital under the direction of Dr. Mike Stone (@bedsidesono). She recalled a pivotal conversation. He asked: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” After a moment of reflection, she replied, “I want to be the dean of a medical school someday.” In that moment, Dr. Chan exhibited qualities she feels defines her strengths – she has a vision, she is goal directed, and she is passionate. She spent the next two years honing her skills as an educator, completing a masters in education simultaneously with her fellowship.
Dr. Chan’s training as an educator and her passion for medical students made her a natural fit for the director position at Penn. Penn medical students rotate with primary care doctors in the outpatient setting and ask “Do you have ultrasound?” While she admits that she may not personally know every student, she is proud of the number of students she has influenced and careers she has launched.
Dr. Chan offered words of wisdom. First: Become the “go-to” person for whatever specialty about which you are passionate. Be the person your department can count on for that niche. This helps you develop an area of focus, and helps employers and chairs know what you’ll bring to the community. Second: Think about what it is you like early, and stick with it. Consistency and commitment are paramount for success. Finally: Learn when to say “no”. As physicians we are programmed to say “yes”, and try to achieve it all; however, it is important to set limits. Stay focused so you are able to make an impact.
We are excited to watch Dr. Chan’s career continue, and thankful for her willingness to share her success and career tips with @_jeffsono.