Published May 7, 2021
Jennifer A. Meka, PhD, the inaugural director of the Medical Education and Educational Research Institute (MEERI) in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has been promoted from assistant to associate dean for medical education.
The promotion, announced by Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School, reflects the instrumental role that Meka is playing in fundamentally redesigning the medical school’s educational programs.
Meka, an assistant professor of medicine, was appointed the inaugural director of the MEERI, which was established in the spring of 2019 as a comprehensive institute for advancing medical education at UB. It functions as an academy for UB’s medical educators, supporting, advancing and recognizing Jacobs School faculty and instructional staff in teaching, learning, scholarship in education, mentoring and peer coaching.
Meka co-chairs the school’s Curriculum Revision and Redesign Committee and the Task Force for the Curriculum Sub-committee of the Diversity and Learning Environment Committee, in which she plays a key role in developing anti-racism and culturally sensitive curriculum in the classroom and clinical settings.
She also is instrumental in developing a comprehensive approach to analysis of patient cases used across the curriculum to ensure inclusivity and best practices for cultural sensitivity. This includes revising course and clinical evaluation for medical students, graduate students and residents.
A returning scholar for the Harvard Macy Institute Program for Health Educators, which is dedicated to improving educators’ skills within health professions education, Meka has created and implemented the Jacobs School’s Learning Sciences and Educational Success Program with the addition of the school’s first learning specialist, Caroline Gillings, MEd, senior curriculum coordinator.
This program provides integrated curriculum, workshop sessions, and individual consultations to promote effective and efficient lifelong learning.
The offerings are designed to develop essential skills, provide opportunities for applying these skills to relevant content, and guide students in implementing strategies for academic success.
Meka recently designed and led a workshop series for UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute on “Effective Teaching for the Culturally Responsive Educator” with Alysia V. Kwiatkowski, DO, assistant professor of medicine.
Completion of the workshop resulted in a digital badge (microcredential). Meka has also been instrumental in the adaptation of the medical school curriculum during the COVID-19 pandemic.
MEERI was established by a Jacobs School committee that has been working on enhancing the school’s medical curriculum in response to innovations led by the American Medical Association’s Change MedEd program and an enhanced emphasis on active learning from the Liaison Committee for Medical Education, the national accrediting body for medical schools.