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Featured Teacher

Morgan Soffler

Morgan SofflerWhy did you decide to make education your career path?

I have always found one of the greatest privileges and responsibilities in our field to be that of teaching one another to be the best possible clinicians and researchers.  I have benefited so much from the wonderful educators in my life and I draw on my experiences with them daily to guide my continued growth as a physician.  I always knew that I wanted to have a prominent role in education, regardless of my eventual specialty, to help foster this love of learning in others and find new and exciting ways to help learners accomplish their goals.  As I advanced in training, I was so excited to learn of the various ways educators can forge a career path in academic medicine and was happily overwhelmed by all of the opportunities.

What roles do you have in the education of trainees or patients?

I am a simulation educator at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  I have created and implemented a longitudinal simulation program for our fellows that highlights applying physiologic principles at the bedside, leadership and communication skills.  I am one of the core faculty of educators for the internal medicine residency program simulation program that aims to help residents develop skills in responding to acute care scenarios.  I have also had the opportunity to design and teach a training program for respiratory therapists using simulation, as well as help students transition from the classroom to the clinical setting as faculty in the hands-on, simulation-based transitions course.

Who have been your career mentors and how have they helped you?

Drs. Molly Hayes and Richard Schwartzstein have been my mentors throughout my fellowship training and transition to faculty.  They have helped me understand how to turn my love for education and education research into a career path in academic medicine and have provided me with countless opportunities to grow as an educator and researcher, all while providing invaluable guidance and support.

What have been the greatest satisfactions of being an educator?

The most satisfying thing about being an educator is helping learners believe in themselves and giving them the tools and inspiration to continue to grow.  Combating imposter syndrome and sparking joy in learning is what it is all about.

What have been some of the challenges to your career as an educator and how have you overcome them?

As a person who loves to teach, it can be easy to say “yes” to teaching opportunities all day long, leaving time for little else!  It has been helpful to have mentors who have guided me to develop and define my niche, which allows me to balance these great teaching opportunities with those that will help me continue to develop as an education researcher and leader. 

What do you think are the most important characteristics of an educator?

I think great educators should be able to exude what they hope to inspire in their learners – curiosity and a growth mindset.  This includes curiosity about our current educational practices and potential new approaches as well as curiosity about our learners and how they make decisions.

How had the ATS assisted you?

The ATS has been an incredible resource and guiding light as I pursue a career in education.  As an early career professional, and even as a trainee, the ATS was overwhelmingly welcoming and has given me opportunities to work with and learn from phenomenal and innovative educators from around the country through participation in programs run by SoME and through the Training Committee.

What advice would you offer others who are considering or have committed to a career as an educator?

Find mentors who believe in your passion and can help you identify your niche and expertise in a particular area of medical education.  Academic advancement on this pathway can be a challenge without someone guiding you towards the right opportunities.