Innovations in Education Intramural Grant

In recognition of the importance of teaching at Tufts, former Dean, Michael Rosenblatt, MD, introduced the Innovations in Education Intramural Grant Program in 2004. This program is designed to promote and support teaching innovations developed by our faculty that will enhance the core educational programs and overall mission of Tufts University School of Medicine. The program is administratively managed by the Office of Educational Affairs under the guidance of Laura Baecher-Lind, MD, MPH, Dean for Educational Affairs and Maria Blanco, EdD, Associate Dean for Faculty Development. The specific objectives of this program are to stimulate faculty to:

  • Reflect on ways to advance the mission of Tufts School of Medicine through curricular change.
  • Develop new approaches to teaching and learning that are creative, innovative, and more effective in addressing fundamental educational and programmatic issues.
  • Implement and evaluate new educational models that will reinforce our tradition of continuous improvement and teaching excellence.

Proposals may focus on innovations in instruction (e.g., teaching methods for the classroom, laboratory, bedside, or faculty development), evaluation (evaluation of learner or teacher performance), or content (areas not adequately addressed in the current curriculum). Innovations that cross disciplines, years, departments, etc., are encouraged.

In submitting a grant proposal, preference will be given to those projects transferable to all Tufts School of Medicine students versus those that may be relevant for a small number of students at a given training site.

  • All current Tufts School of Medicine faculty are eligible. Junior faculty and faculty seeking promotion are strongly encouraged to apply.

  • To guide the preparation of  your proposal and application, follow the guidelines and requirements for documents, forms and attachments, and formatting below.

    For additional guidance on writing and submitting a grant proposal, please view Research in Medical Education Grantsmanship: How to Write Effective Grant Proposals.

    Application Checklist

    Submit a Letter of Intent by December 1, 2021 (2 page maximum)

    Submit full proposal documents by January 19, 2022 (details below):

    • Proposal summary (250 words)
    • Proposal narrative including proposal summary, budget justification and bibliography (4-6 pages maximum)
    • Budget
    • Letter of support from Department Chair(s) or other supervisor (one page each)
    • Curriculum Vitae of Principal Investigator (2 page maximum)
    • Timeline
    • Other supporting material — limit of 2 additional attachments (5 page maximum)
    • Full proposal must not exceed 15 pages, including attachments

    Letter of Intent - Due by December 1, 2021

    The Letter of Intent is the first step toward applying for the grant. The grant program director will review its content for relevance and will communicate with applicants to share feedback.

    The LOI should briefly address the following elements:

    1. Relevance of the project
    2. Objectives
    3. Educational methods
    4. Evaluation approach and anticipated outcomes
    5. Funds justification

    Letters of Intent (2 page maximum) are due by December 1, 2021 and should be addressed to:

    Maria Blanco, EdD
    Associate Dean for Faculty Development
    Office of Educational Affairs
    Tufts University School of Medicine
    136 Harrison Avenue
    Boston, MA 02111

    Email the Letter of Intent as a Word attachment to maria.blanco@tufts.edu.

    Applicants will receive an email confirming receipt of their Letter of Intent.

    Full Proposals - Due by January 19, 2022

    Applications and proposals must be submitted by January 19, 2022. Electronic submission is preferred. Email all completed documents, forms and attachments as attachments to maria.blanco@tufts.edu. You will be notified via email once all materials are received.

    The full proposal submission process requires the following:

    Project Summary (250 words or less)
    Summarize your proposed project, including the need for the teaching innovation, key participants and audience(s), the project design and methods, anticipated outcomes and evaluation methods, and final product or "deliverable."

    Project Narrative (4-6 pages including project summary, budget narrative and bibliography)
    Your project narrative should follow the format outlined below (including page limits) to ensure that all the review criteria of the Selection Committee are addressed. Your entire proposal with all supporting documents should not exceed 15 pages.

    Goals and Statement of Need
    Outline the educational goals and specific objectives of your project, the educational needs that are being addressed for your audience(s), and how it enhances and supports the educational mission and strategic plan of Tufts School of Medicine. Innovations that integrate or cross disciplines, departments, curriculum years, etc., are strongly encouraged. Make sure that you also refer to the existing health sciences education literature that informs your project.

    Educational Design and Methods
    Describe the innovation in content, instructional methods, and/or evaluation that is being designed, and the educational methods that will address the goals and needs identified. Describe plans for the development and implementation of a final educational product. This tangible product (e.g. on-line module on the Tufts Learning Management System CANVAS, standardized patient case, new evaluation tool, etc.) is due at the conclusion of the grant period.

    Evaluation
    Address each project goal and objective with a clear evaluation method/tool to assess whether it has been met. Describe your plan to assess the effectiveness and impact of the innovation design and methods on the target audience(s).

    Use the following example to guide your evaluation outline in order to achieve the Innovations in Education Grant's submission objectives.

    Short-Term Outcome

    • What immediate outcomes do you expect? A seminar example may include the expectation that participants' post-test scores will be significantly greater than participants’ pre-test scores on a seminar-specific, knowledge-based exam.
    • What instrument(s) do you plan to employ to measure achievement of your short-term outcome(s)?

    Long-Term Outcome

    • What long-term outcomes do you expect? Again, a seminar example may expect that, on a 12-month follow-up survey, seminar participants will report increased or sustained levels of understanding or implementation of a seminar-based skill and/or concept, etc.
    • What instrument(s) do you plan to employ to measure achievement of your long-term outcome(s)?

    Examples of Evaluation Approaches

    • Attitudes, Perceptions, and Skills are most typically measured by a pre-/post-intervention strategies. Measures may be obtained via objective instruments, focus groups guided by semi-structured protocols, and performance-based or behavioral checklists.
    • Knowledge is most often measured via a pre-/post-intervention instrument (e.g. and objective test) or a retro-pre test based on the assumption that entry-level knowledge may serve as a pre-measure.
    • Long-Term Outcomes often require a longitudinal approach aimed at garnering attitudes, perceptions, knowledge, and skills over time.
    • Attempt to draw conclusions about program, intervention, or project effectiveness via control group comparisons. In short, what outcome would you expect from an individual who did not participate in your program, intervention, or project? How do participants differ from non-participants and what methods to you have in place to garner such comparisons?

    Impact & Sustainability
    Note the constituents who will directly and indirectly benefit from this project and how it will address their needs, as well as the larger Tufts School of Medicine educational agenda and mission. Describe plans for sustainability of this innovation, e.g. the potential for this project to be developed into a viable proposal for outside funding or other support.

    Time Line and Feasibility
    Outline how the project can be implemented and evaluated within the 12 to 18-month period. Detail the process and milestones using the projected timeline form.

    Budget and Budget Justification
    Include a budget for all proposed expenses using the budget form. The budget justification should be included in the above project narrative text and justify each budget line item. Include the name(s) and role of key personnel (e.g. faculty, project/administrative manager, etc.), and identify the budget officer from your department. The budget narrative should also disclose any other ongoing, pending or recently completed (within the past 3 years) funding related to this project proposal including total award amount, your role, and percent of time on the project.

    Budget items typically include:

    • Staff (administrative support, student interns, local consultants)
    • Materials and printing
    • Computer or other technical equipment (not for personal use)

    With rare exceptions the following will not be funded:

    • Travel (including to meetings to present results of the grant)
    • Use of outside (non-Tufts School of Medicine) consultants

    Letter of Support
    Your department chair(s) or supervisor should provide a letter of support for your project affirming your leadership, the need for and impact of this project, his/her support of your time and effort, the feasibility of the project, and sustainability after the grant period. Please make sure that the Letter of Support includes the email address of the department chair(s) or supervisor that is providing the letter.

    Interim and Final Reports
    Grant recipients must agree to submit:

    • Interim quarterly progress reports to verify progress on the proposed time line.
    • A final report and educational product within 30 days of the completion of the funding cycle.

    Special Requirements
    For proposals that may involve research subjects, proposals must comply with all requirements of the Tufts Institutional Review Board.

    Submission Formatting

    To ensure uniform submissions and fair evaluation of all proposals, please adhere to the text formatting below when composing your Letter of Intent and proposal documents:

    • Black ink; 12-point font (Arial or Times New Roman)
    • Single-spaced with double-spacing between sections and paragraphs
    • One-inch margins
    • Label in bold all section headings specified in the Proposal Outline (Goals and Statement of Need, Educational Design and Methods, etc.)
    • Name all attachments as follows: "Principal Investigator's Last Name, Type of Document". For example, "Jones Budget", "Jones CV", "Jones Letter of Intent". If there are multiple supporting documents, please number accordingly (e.g. Jones Attachment 1, Jones Attachment 2)

    For more information, please contact:
    617-636-0891
    maria.blanco@tufts.edu
    Office of Educational Affairs
    Tufts University School of Medicine
    145 Harrison Avenue
    Boston, MA 02111
    Attention: Innovations in Education

  • The total grant pool is $75,000 per year. Grants of up to $20,000 per proposal will be awarded for a 12 to 18-month period. In 2019, awards ranged from $4,679.00 to 19,883.00. Funds will be dispersed on July 1, 2022. Progress and completion reports are expected to be submitted according to the proposal's timeline.

    Both the progress and completion reports can be completed online:

    Awardees are expected to 1) submit reports, and 2) present their work at the bi-annual Mary Y. Lee, MD, Medical Education Day.

  • Proposals will be reviewed by a Selection Committee consisting of faculty and administrators from Tufts School of Medicine and representatives from the affiliated hospitals. Proposals will be assessed by the Selection Committee based on the criteria below:

    • Clarity of goals and statement of need
    • Degree of innovation in content, instruction, or evaluation
    • Adequacy of evaluation methods for assessing outcomes and impact
    • Feasibility of proposed development and implementation timeline
    • Appropriateness of budget allocations
    • Sustainability after grant period
    • Extent of impact on Tufts School of Medicine's constituencies, curriculum, and mission
    • Potential for outside funding

    The Tufts School of Medicine Dean will approve final grant recipients.

  • Contacts:

    OEA Educational Grant Program Chair
    Maria Alejandra Blanco, EdD
    Associate Dean for Faculty Development
    Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry
    Tufts University School of Medicine
    Office of Educational Affairs
    maria.blanco@tufts.edu
    Phone 617-636-6588
    Fax 617-636-0894

    OEA Educational Grant Administrator
    Amanda Oriel Katz, MBA
    Program Coordinator for Faculty Development and Educational Research
    Tufts University School of Medicine
    Office of Educational Affairs
    amanda.oriel@tufts.edu
    Phone 617-636-0891
    Fax 617-636-0894

    IEG Application Materials:

    IEG: Application Process

    • Proposal summary (250 words)
    • Proposal narrative including budget justification and bibliography (4-6 pages maximum)
    • Budget
    • Letter of support from Department Chair(s) or other supervisor (one page each)
    • Curriculum Vitae of Principal Investigator (2 page maximum)
    • Timeline
    • Other supporting material — limit of 2 additional attachments (5 page maximum)
    • Full proposal must not exceed 15 pages, including attachment

    Grant Funds:

    Grant funds should be handled by an awardee's grant manager. Grant managers will receive your funding checks and track the current funds in your account. In order for the correct grant manager to receive your funds, you must update the grant administrator of any changes regarding your grant manager or address.

    Fund checks take about one month to process once the request is sent to Tufts University's accounting department. Please be patient as the Accounting Department may experience delays during different periods throughout the year.

    Payment Schedules

    Upon being awarded an IEG grant award, each awardee will receive a payment schedule showing their total fund amount and how the award will be allocated.

    All IEG award funds are allocated as follows:

     

    100% of funds: Start of grant period

    Examples of payment schedules:

    For a 12 month period IEG grant:

    Last name First name Award amt timeframe of project (months) July 2017 initial payment Dec 15, 2017 progress report due, payment follows June 15, 2018 final report due, payment follows
    Doe John $10,000.00 12 $10,000.00    

    For an 18 month period IEG grant:

    Last name First name Award amt timeframe of project (months) July 2017 initial payment Dec 15, 2018 progress report due, payment follows Dec 15, 2018 final report due, payment follows
    Doe John $10,000.00 18 $10,000.00    

    IEG Progress & Completion Reports:

    • Progress Reports
      Each awardee must complete a progress report (December 15).
    • Completion Report
      An awardee must write and send a completion report at the completion of their grant period (12 month period: July 15; 18 month period: December 15).

    Both the progress and completion reports can be completed online:

  • PI: Kelly Baldwin MD MDMEd
    Co-PIs: Timothy Fallon MD, Betsy McDonagh, Isaac Stickney
    Maine Medical Center

    Development of a UME-GME multidisciplinary curriculum in Wellbeing

    The need for an innovative wellbeing curriculum has never been so great.  The Maine Medical Center 2021 institutional data on burnout has revealed staggering results with over 51% of our GME trainees reporting burnout and another 45% reporting significant stress.  There is a significant gap in the formalized wellness education of both our Maine track TUSM students and MMC house staff.  This integrated workshop series allows our medical students and house staff to come together in a multidisciplinary way, adding significant value to the learning and conversation.  Workshops will be offered quarterly over 12 months and will focus on important topics in physician wellness including identification of fatigue, burnout, mental health, and substance abuse.  Importantly, this curriculum will teach effective mitigation strategies including; resilience, empathy and gratitude, time management matrix, dealing with difficult events, mindfulness, and outward mindset. Workshop materials will also be converted into an asynchronous CANVAS site which will house each workshop as a module with faculty/facilitator guides to ensure sustainability across campuses.  We anticipate this workshop series will improve perceptions and attitudes towards wellness as well as improve knowledge of resources, mindfulness, and mitigation strategies. Evaluation of this curriculum will be done using anonymous post-workshop surveys for each attendee.

    PI: Dina Burstein, MD, MPH
    Co-Investigators: Robert Sege, MD, PhD, Allison Stevens, PhD, MyDzung Chu, PhD, MSPH
    Tufts Medical Center

    Bringing HOPE to Medical Education

    Cultural humility, respect for the strengths and unique lens possessed by all individuals and communities, and an anti-racist viewpoint are critical skills to teach future physicians.  The research-informed framework of HOPE (Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences) provides guidance on how to shift from a deficit-focused approach, to one that is strengths-based and honors the culture, individuality, and autonomy of each person. For this project, we will collaborate with a community-based organization (CBO) as well as a leader from the local Asian community to incorporate the HOPE framework into the Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) Community Service Learning (CSL) course. We will create an online module as well as a toolkit to guide peer-led small group meetings which will present the research supporting the importance of positive childhood experiences (PCEs) as well as examples of how to incorporate HOPE into practice to mitigate conscious and unconscious bias while promoting thriving. The HOPE framework emphasizes the dignity of all individuals, strives to reduce the systemic racism in systems of care, improves patient/physician relationships, and may reduce burnout and compassion fatigue among providers. Incorporating the HOPE framework in the TUSM CSL course will help to advance the mission of TUSM of developing clinicians who will have a positive impact on individuals and communities.

    PI: Laura Corlin, PhD
    Project Manager: Kali Sullivan (M24)
    Team: Erin Mooz (M25), Tim Milkulski (M25)
    Tufts University School of Medicine

    Climate and Health: Addressing the Missing Component in the 21st Century TUSM Curriculum

    Health-related challenges posed by climate change are pressing, evolving, and disproportionately affect marginalized communities. Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) must prepare its medical students to prevent and treat climate-related health impacts. Addressing current climate and health curricular gaps will help students and faculty advance health equity and environmental health justice. It will also align the TUSM medical curriculum with peer institutions and American Medical Association policies. To achieve these goals and advance the TUSM mission, we will conduct a curriculum inventory and develop climate and health training opportunities for TUSM medical students in first through third years. The training opportunities include new sessions for the Threads course, modification of a problem-based learning case, and new Intersession reflection experiences. Content delivery will focus on active, student centered, and social learning. We will supplement small group discussions and case-based learning with pre-work in the form of pre-recorded lectures and optional reading. We will create faculty/facilitator guides to promote professional development and programmatic sustainability. Evaluation and revision of new curricular elements will be informed by student pre- and post-test results, student course evaluations, and student feedback from those who may opt to pilot the initiatives. Collectively, we anticipate that the proposed initiative will increase students’ knowledge of climate-related health impacts affecting diverse populations locally and globally, awareness of the role of the medical profession in mitigating and adapting to climate change, and skill in clinical reasoning accounting for socioeconomic, environmental, and political determinants of health.

    PI: Elisabeth Merchant, MD
    Co-PI: Rakhi Kohli, MD, MS
    Tufts University School of Medicine/Tufts Medical Center

    Incorporation of Gamification into the Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunological Sciences Course

    The Microbiology, Infectious Diseases, and Immunological Sciences (MIDIS) course will incorporate a virtual gamification platform to increase student engagement and learning. The “traditional” study materials are being utilized by a minority of students (in 2021 only 5% of students said they used recommended textbooks and only 20% answered evaluation questions about the written syllabus). To meet the digital preferences of students, our course has utilized quizzes on the Canvas platform, with better engagement (71%), but still with room for improvement. Gamification provides an additional element to stimulate engagement and has been shown to improve learning outcomes. We therefore are partnering with collaborators at University of Alabama, who have developed “Kaizen Education” a new platform for gamification of content review, which we will use to create multiple-choice questions on our content, with students competing for the most correct answers. Bringing this program to Tufts, we will serve as partners in a multi-institutional study of the program’s utility for increasing engagement and learning. If successful, the MIDIS course will continue to use this platform going forward, and it could be adapted for other uses within the medical school.