Educational Innovation/Educational Research Award

Without people developing new ideas and bringing the energy and courage to try them out, we would never improve our work. Steven Bishop, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine (DOIM), began improving our teaching programs during his residency, and has continued to be a catalyst for change in medical education since joining the faculty in 2014. In 2016, Dr. Bishop was appointed the M3 DOIM Clerkship Director and he serves as Chair of the Educational Research Group in the DOIM Office of Educational Affairs. Just this summer, Dr. Bishop was recognized for his dedication, expertise, and productivity in numerous aspects of medical education with appointment as DOIM Associate Chair for Education.

As a resident, Dr. Bishop established himself as a national expert in Team Based Learning (TBL), excelling at teaching others how to use this powerful instructional strategy. He is lead author on a series of 8 internal medicine TBL modules, as well as 3 additional interprofessional TBL modules, providing structured, peer-reviewed resources for teaching through MedEDPORTAL.

Entrustable Professional Activities, or EPAs, are an emerging model, developed by the AAMC, for competency-based assessment of medical students to assure readiness for internship. Assessing student performance at the bedside can be challenging due to time and other barriers present on busy services. Dr. Bishop developed a tool allowing students to receive prompt formative feedback to support learning. With a team, he developed a point of education or “POE” app-based system to create, assign and deliver competency-based evaluation of student performance. This year, POE was expanded for use in all eight clerkships in UME. Joel Browning, Director of Academic Informatics, VCU SOM Technology Services, attests that Dr. Bishop has “provided critical feedback and guidance that helped shape the tool as it evolved over several iterations…The SOM now has a cutting-edge, competency-based assessment tool that provides in-the-moment formative feedback to students on their clinical performance.”

Dr. Bishop has worked closely with VCU colleagues and Starship Health Technologies, LLC on an NIH-funded Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop and evaluate a mobile application using standardized patient (SP) avatars and a virtual tutoring algorithm to teach medical students how to improve communication skills with patients from different socioeconomic backgrounds. This work, integrated to align with EPA competencies, is called “Realizing Enhanced Patient Encounters through Aiding and Training” or “REPEAT.” Dr. Bishop planned integration with live and classroom instruction and the system was piloted with 3rd year VCU medical students in 2017-18.

Dr. Bishop’s CME-accredited GenMed Podcast, (, covers a variety of medical topics for healthcare providers and lay persons. Podcasts provide convenient, “24/7” learning opportunities for busy clinical staff, and the featured interviews with faculty and staff are presented in language accessible to the public.

Since becoming DOIM Clerkship Director, Dr. Bishop has scrutinized all aspects of this learning experience for opportunities to introduce more active learning and more consistent, useful, and criteria-based student assessments. 2019 MD Candidate Kevin Smith explains the benefits for students, “. . . the new model allows for students to be assessed on specific skills in designated moments. This changed the type of feedback from “Derrick has good communication skills with patients” to “Derrick successfully led a difficult conversation with a patient regarding the need for HIV testing. It made real-time feedback not only possible, but more importantly standard as part of the curriculum.”

“He is constantly looking to serve our learners well and knows that this means constant program improvement,” states Stephanie Ann Call, MD, MSPH, Professor and Residency Program Director, DOIM. In fact, the innovations listed here are just highlights of Dr. Bishop’s ongoing work to improve our teaching and learning in all settings in the School of Medicine.