Legacy Teachers Program

The Legacy Teacher program began at the University of Missouri School of Medicine in 2005 to recognize that patients are among the best and most memorable teachers for physicians. In 2016, the program will come to Tufts University School of Medicine, where each year, fourth-year medical students will be given the opportunity to nominate a patient with whom they have worked directly, who has had a lasting impact on their ability to provide patient-centered care. Students submit essays, artwork, or poetry describing the patients’ contribution to their lifelong development.

Participating patients and their families are called Legacy Teachers because they have taught important lessons to a physician in training. These lessons will last a lifetime and positively affect future patients, creating a powerful legacy for generations to come. This program is a way for students to thank and honor their Legacy Teacher for the powerful lessons they have taught them, lessons that will last a lifetime. 

Participating patients and students will be recognized during the White Coat Ceremony for incoming first-year students – further demonstrating the important role that patients play in the lives of our students – from the first day of the students’ journey to become a doctor. 


The first annual Legacy Teacher Celebration will be held on September 10, 2016 in conjunction with the White Coat Ceremony for first-year medical students. Legacy teachers, their families, and the nominating students will be recognized.


Fourth-year medical students are invited to reflect on patients who have had a lasting impact on their learning by submitting short essays, artwork, or poetry. Students might want to describe:

  • A patient who changed you and helped make you a better future physician
  • A patient who taught you to listen deeply and to understand his or her experience
  • A patient who showed you the crucial roles of comfort and compassion, the importance of good communication, or the vital role of family and caregivers
  • A patient you will never forget; whose lessons will always be part of who you are.
  • The patient who taught you the most about yourself as an individual and future physician.

Submissions should be about a patient you have directly cared for as a third-year student. We welcome essays (1-2 pages long), poems and drawings (please include a brief description of what your patient taught you). It is acceptable to nominate a patient who has passed, or who may be unable to attend the ceremony. A faculty committee reviews all applications and chooses the most worthy to participate in the ceremony.

Content reproduced with permission.
© University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine 2014

Submission Deadline:

July 18, 2016 at 5:00PM

Submit to:

Dr. Sarah Rosenberg-Scott
Dept. of Family Medicine

For More Info

Boston Campus: Contact Dr. Sarah Rosenberg-Scott or the Office of Student Affairs.

Maine Track: Contact Dr. Vicki Hayes at Maine Medical Center for "Patients As Teachers" information.