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School of Medicine Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center
School of Medicine profiles

October 30, 2009

Douglas S. Franzen, M.D., M.Ed.

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Faculty Excellence Awards – September 2009
Irby-James Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching

Transformed. It’s a description used a lot by those familiar with the work of Dr. Douglas Franzen, Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine and this year’s recipient of the Irby-James Award for Excellence in Clinical teaching.

“He has completely transformed our medical student and resident programs.”

“Dr. Franzen completely transformed the educational activities of our department.”

“You mention ‘medical education’ and it’s like a switch gets turned on in his head. His entire body is transformed; he becomes incredibly energized; and he radiates his love for teaching.”

Beginning with his tenure as the emergency medicine department’s Clerkship Coordinator, “Doug created a very structured educational environment in which all students learn a well defined curriculum,” explained Emergency Medicine Program Director Timothy C. Evans, M.D. “Further, he developed an evaluation system that is explicit and truly helps to differentiate the abilities and performance of each individual.”

Next, as Assistant Program Director, “Dr. Franzen single-handedly reorganized the emergency medicine resident didactic curriculum, revised the medical student curriculum, and completely changed the way we evaluate medical students on the EM elective with new feedback and evaluation forms,” added colleague Julie Mayglothling. Among the changes he has implemented is the adoption of an innovative curriculum using simulation to teach
emergency medicine case sessions, enabling residents to gain valuable hands-on assessment and management skills in a controlled environment.

His impact on curriculum extends beyond emergency medicine. While participating in a focus group for the medical school curriculum, “He absolutely exuded with enthusiasm and ideas while at the same time being respectful and inclusive of other thoughts,” recalled Ike Wood, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education and Student Affairs. “I was so impressed by him that I specifi cally asked him to be on the Curriculum Planning Committee.”

Doug also heads the ultrasonography curriculum. “As with all of his assignments, Doug has defined a very advanced curriculum and put the components in place for all of our residents to successfully complete this curriculum under his oversight,” added Evans. “As the ‘ultrasound guru,’ he does more than teach a few,” detailed an EM resident. “Monthly, he meets with each resident to review ultrasound images logged. He freely gives his time to help us be better physicians as well as earn credentialing in ultrasound. This selflessness is
unsurpassed by other physicians with whom I have worked.”

Other current and former residents agree wholeheartedly. “Both in and out of the emergency department, Dr. Franzen champions our educational development as residents. When working a shift with him, he always challenges us to have goals for each shift. When a shift is over, he will stay after and review the cases of the day and help us to carefully examine our decision making.”

Perhaps Dr. Franzen’s Program Director, Tim Evans, says it best: “He makes our students, our residents, our department and therefore our medical school and hospital better as a result of his efforts.”