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David M. Worthen Award Recipient for 2014

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David M. Worthen Award

Curtis Scott Smith, MD, Co-Director of the VA Center of Excellence in Primary Care Education at the Boise VA Medical Center and Residency Director, has been selected by the Interim Under Secretary for Health to receive the David M. Worthen Award for Career Achievement in Educational Excellence for 2014.   This is the highest award given by the Veterans Health Administration to recognize outstanding achievements of national significance in health professions education.

Dr. Smith began his career as a primary care physician at the Boise VA Medical Center in 1990 and has been a leader in education at that site.  During the 1990s, he pioneered the creation of firms, or teams to organize care.  The firm also played a central role in ambulatory care curriculum for internal medicine residents.  By the late 1990s, the ambulatory care curriculum that Dr. Smith developed was adopted as an exemplar and national model curriculum.  He also developed a framework for dealing with physicians who were experiencing difficulties in training.  In the year 2000, he led the Boise VA Medical Center in serving as a pilot site for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education development of outcomes-based training for residents.  That pilot work has since become the national standard.  Dr. Smith also led the development of a rural residency training program at his site, and in recent years he has served as a VHA Center of Excellence in Primary Care Education Co-Director.

Dr. Smith’s contributions to advancing education and training in the field of Internal Medicine are truly outstanding.  Of particular importance is his work in three major domains: curriculum development, examination of learning difficulties and competencies, and rural education.  These contributions have been highly impactful and sustained over a considerable period of time.  He has dedicated his extensive career to building capacity for high quality health professional education within and outside VA.

Dr. Smith is an incredibly productive educator, outstanding collaborator and leader, as well as a truly innovative thinker whose work has had a profound impact on the training of health professionals and the care of our Nation’s Veterans.

The Worthen Award may be given annually to recognize a VHA employee from any health care discipline who has made contributions of national significance to education in the health professions.  This award, which was first issued in 1988, commemorates David M. Worthen, MD, an inspirational leader of VA’s education mission.