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 Grant Writing: How to Write Effective Grant Proposals.

    Application Checklist

    Submit a Letter of Intent by November 15, 2023 (2 page maximum)

    Submit full proposal documents by January 22, 2024 (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 November 15, 2023.

    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 November 15, 2023 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

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

    Full Proposals - Due by January 22, 2024

    Applications and proposals must be submitted by January 22, 2024. Electronic submission is preferred. Email all completed documents, forms and attachments as attachments to 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.

    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:
    Office of Educational Affairs
    Tufts University School of Medicine
    145 Harrison Avenue
    Boston, MA 02111
    Attention: Innovations in Education

  • Grants of up to $10,000 per proposal will be awarded for a 12 to 18-month period. Funds will be dispersed on July 2024. 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
    Phone 617-636-6588
    Fax 617-636-0894

    OEA Educational Grant Administrator
    Emily Nuttall
    Program Coordinator for Faculty Development and Educational Research
    Tufts University School of Medicine
    Office of Educational Affairs
    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.

    Payment Schedules

    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 amount Timeframe of project (months) July 2017 - Full payment Dec 15, 2017 - Progress report due June 15, 2018 - Final report due
    Doe John $10,000.00 12 $10,000.00    

    For an 18 month period IEG grant:

    Last name First name Award amount Timeframe of project (months) July 2017 - Full payment Dec 15, 2017 - Progress report due June 15, 2018 - Progress report due Dec 15, 2018 - Final report due
    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: June 15; 18 month period: December 15).

    Both the progress and completion reports can be completed online:

  • A Preclinical Curriculum in Physician Advocacy 
    Principal Investigator: Elizabeth J. Quinn, MD 
    Co-Investigators: Nina Ashford, Dr.P.H., MPH; Jen Greer-Morrissey, M.Ed.; Anna Kheyfets, M24; Keith Nokes, MD, MPH; Emma Noyes, M24; Mark Pearlmutter, MD; and Sarah Rosenberg-Scott, MD, MPH

    Although many of TUSM’s offerings introduce students to examples of physician advocacy, Tufts does not have a structured curriculum to help students develop the skills needed engage in advocacy. Such a curriculum would advance TUSM’s values “To serve and advocate for all people, especially underserved and vulnerable patients and populations,” and its Strategic Planning Goal of “training students to advocate for the health of populations,” and the American Medical Association (AMA) statement that physicians must “advocate for the social, economic, educational, and political changes that ameliorate suffering and contribute to human well-being.” Given Tufts’ deep commitment to civic engagement, we should be among the many medical schools that offer training in advocacy. The goal of our grant project is to conduct an inventory of current related curricular offerings and develop a longitudinal curriculum template to integrate advocacy training throughout medical school, including elective options for students who might want to focus their medical careers on advocacy work with a potential for an academic track. 

    Applying Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Knowledge to Clinical Management Decisions by Medical Students During their Pediatric Clerkship
    Principal Investigators: Charles Hannum, MD and Lisa DelSignore, MD

    The lens through which patient care is viewed has been evolving and now includes anti-racism and health equity frameworks. It is paramount that we adequately prepare our students to apply these frameworks in the care of patients. Our aim is to improve student understanding of how social determinants of health (SDOH) influence disease presentation and disease management. At TUSM’s Pediatric Clerkship, we are implementing an innovative curricular intervention to improve student’s knowledge and behaviors in applying social determinants of health (SDOH) concepts to medical care in the clerkship. The goal of this grant project is to develop an innovative assessment framework that would integrate the use of a modified clinical reasoning tool. Grant funding will allow us to take a mindful and interprofessional approach to the development of the assessment approach and to evaluate the curricular intervention. We hope that our proposed framework can be used as an assessment strategy in any clinical setting and across TUSM clerkships.

    Competency Assessment Through Student Engagement (case) Study 
    Principal Investigator: Kenneth Chui, MPH, PhD
    Co-Investigators: Virginia Chomitz, PhD and Susan Koch-Weser, ScD

    Competency-based assessment is the foundation of many professional degrees, including Master of Public Health (MPH). Conventionally, instructors interpret their course’s adopted or assigned competencies and break them down into objectives, learning activities, and assessments; students rarely participate in this design process, and eventually perceive assessments as a ritual of achieving standards set up by the instructors, ultimately losing their sense of ownership and control. Alternative assessments provide a sleuth of tools for instructors to re-imagine their ways of teaching and evaluation and can serve as a gateway to invite students to ponder how they want to be assessed. Yet, alternative assessments come in many forms which can be intimidating. In addition, they are highly customizable, emphasizing on “one size does not fit all.” All these moving parts can deter even very passionate instructors from taking their first step. The aim of the CASE Study is to create a new assessment culture that encourages students to take academic risks, monitor their own learning, and supports collaborative relationships with the instructor. The project will develop up to eight MPH faculty members in student-centered assessment techniques and incorporate program competencies into class-level student assessments. Through an inclusive and safe faculty learning community for exploring the use of alternative assessments, this grant project is aimed to increase faculty skill in developing student-centered assessments, enhance student engagement in learning and competency assessment, and eventually share resources for dissemination in the Tufts MPH program and larger public health venues.

    Tufts Medicine Hospice and Palliative Care Elective 
    Principal Investigator: Tamara Vesel, MD
    Co-Investigators: Drs Bernice Burkhart, Jatin Dave and Mary Buss
    Despite popular culture suggesting otherwise, death remains universal, yet many medical students have little to no experience with death personally. In current society, most deaths are preceded by a period of illness during which death could be anticipated. Physicians caring for seriously ill patients have an opportunity to help prepare patients and families for the dying process, yet most graduating medical students have little to no exposure to patients at the end of life and lack the knowledge and skills to care for the seriously ill. The goal of this grant project is to develop, implement and assess a fourth-year elective to provide senior students with a novel 4-week intensive educational experience in palliative care and hospice, drawing from resources across the Tufts Medicine system, including Tufts Medical Center, Tufts Medicine Care at Home and in partnership with MassHealth. For the first time in the current curriculum, students will gain exposure to seriously ill patients in the hospital (palliative care consultation), at home (on hospice), and in an inpatient hospice facility. In addition to the clinical exposure across diverse settings, the elective will include administrative aspects of care that affect re-imbursement, patient eligibility, care delivery with attention to promoting equitable access to end of life care.