Carrie Chen, MD, PhD, chose to pursue pediatrics because it allowed her to think about health in a very broad way. The role you assume as a pediatrician, she explains, is so much more than curing or preventing disease. She says it’s about setting a foundation for a child to be healthy and successful over the course of their lifetime.
Although Dr. Chen is no longer practicing clinically, her background in helping others thrive has been a strength in her role as the Senior Associate Dean of Assessment and Educational Scholarship at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Dr. Chen oversees the development of curricula and assessment programs and provides leadership for medical student, resident, and fellow education. Dr. Chen is also a Professor of Pediatrics at Georgetown University School of Medicine and an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
“When you think about children, there’s joy when they learn. People come to medicine because they have a passion for medicine. And in training, we sometimes suck the joy out of it, and it doesn’t have to be that way,” she said.
As an educator, Dr. Chen is always looking for better ways to do things and bring the joy back to learning medicine, asking questions like: Are there better ways to educate someone to help them reach their full potential? How can we make the educational experience a joyful one?
While much of Dr. Chen’s work directly impacts Georgetown University School of Medicine students, Dr. Chen notes that the close partnership with MedStar Health – where so many students go on to become residents – means that, “whatever we’re doing to make things better for our students will also make things better for all of our residents.” To further that work, Dr. Chen serves on the MedStar Health GME Consortium Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC).
Dr. Chen and others from Georgetown University also recently partnered with the Working Group for Racial Justice on a series of virtual workshops to educate faculty, fellows, residents, and staff on the basics and core values around creating equitable and inclusive learning environments. These workshops are meant to bring about systematic changes to address potential grading inequities based on student gender, race, or other demographics and combat deeply ingrained perceptions.
Dr. Chen says her talents for helping her students thrive, unfortunately, do not extend to caring for plants.
“I love plants. But I can’t keep any of my plants alive. I’m going to eventually kill off any plant that I bring home, and I keep trying,” she laughed. “Maybe if I actually studied and tried to understand the different plants and their individual needs, I’d have more success.”