Celebrating Kristi Ferguson’s retirement and career

UI Health Care faculty, staff members, and students are invited to a retirement reception for Kristi Ferguson, PhD, director of the Office of Consultation and Research in Medical Education (OCRME), and professor of internal medicine. The reception will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 25, Seebohm Conference Room, 283 EMRB, with remarks at approximately 4:30 p.m.

Ferguson’s career at the University of Iowa has spanned more than 35 years, beginning in 1983 when she joined OCRME as an assistant research scientist after receiving her PhD at University of Michigan. She rose quickly through the ranks within OCRME, serving as acting associate director for two years prior to being named director in 1996.

She was the first woman director and is only the fourth director of the office, which started its life in 1973 as the Learning Resources Unit under Lewis Holloway. He was followed by two directors who served eight years each before Ferguson was appointed and worked for more than 22 years as director of this important educational resource.

Either directly or through her leadership of OCRME, Ferguson has established and supported the University of Iowa as a major innovator in medical education, embracing innovative teaching methods including problem-based learning, team-based learning, simulation, computer-based instruction, and video—winning several awards for an educational documentary that she produced in 1992.

She has impacted the practice and careers of hundreds, if not thousands, of medical educators and learners. Among the noteworthy achievements of her career are:

  • Contributor to the major curriculum revisions in the College of Medicine over the past 30 years, from the most recent New Horizons curriculum to prior efforts that established innovations such as problem based learning, the learning communities, and more.
  • Directing the Masters in Medical Education program, begun in 2007, which has had 41 master’s graduates, with eight receiving the Certificate in Medical Education from throughout the College of Medicine, and many of whom have ended up in leadership positions in the Carver College of Medicine and in organizations nationwide.

Over the course of her career she has received honors for her teaching skills—twice recognized with the Collegiate Teaching Award; served as principal investigator or co-PI on many grants and publishing more than 100 peer-reviewed articles; and influenced medical education nationwide through her leadership of national professional organizations.

Reflecting on her career at Iowa, Ferguson said:

“During my career at the University of Iowa I have had the privilege of working with exceptional colleagues both inside and outside the Office of Consultation and Research in Medical Education. Through OCRME’s Masters program and Teaching Scholars Program, I have had the unique opportunity to work with faculty and fellows as learners, as they impact the education of our students and residents in countless ways.

“Through my work as a curriculum director for Foundations of Clinical Practice, as co-director of the Teaching Elective, and as strand director for Medical and Society I have worked with hundreds of students, and I continue to be impressed with the quality of our applicants as well as the significance of their progress from pre-M1s to graduation. The quality of our educational enterprise is exceptional, and I will miss the collegial atmosphere that supports it.”