Kitt Shaffer, MD, PhD
Rabkin Senior Fellow in Medical Education
Professor of Radiology, Boston University School of Medicine
Lecturer in Radiology, Harvard Medical School
Vice-Chair of Radiology for Education, Boston Medical Center
Exploration of the possible impact of different grading systems on collaborative work and collegial atmosphere in medical education
Dr. Kitt Shaffer is Vice-Chair for Education in the Department of Radiology at Boston Medical Center, a medical educational consultant for Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Clinical Professor of Radiology at Boston University Medical School. Dr. Shaffer began medical school at the University of Kansas in an MD/PhD program in anatomy. After completing the lab portion of her research on cellular ultrastructure and cytoskeletal imaging using electron microscopy, she transferred to Tufts Medical School, where she received her degree in medicine. She completed a medical/surgical internship at Newton-Wellesley Hospital and went on to a radiology residency at New England Medical Center. Upon completion of her residency, she entered a fellowship in thoracic radiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, afterwards joining the staff in the Division of Chest Imaging. She was acting co-director of the section before taking over as Clinical Director and then Assistant Chief of Radiology at Dana-Farber. She served for three years as Director of Undergraduate Medical Education at Cambridge Health Alliance, overseeing and coordinating undergraduate clerkships in Medicine, Psychiatry, Ob/Gyn, Neurology and Radiology. She developed and ran the Radiology clerkship of the Cambridge Integrated 3rd year program.
Dr. Shaffer is a frequent speaker nationally and internationally on topics in thoracic, breast and oncologic imaging as well as digital educational methods, and has written book chapters in these areas. She was course director for the BWH/DFCI radiology core and elective clerkships for 10 years as well as Director of the HMS Human Body anatomy course for 5 years, where she introduced first year students to sophisticated imaging to demonstrate anatomy. In 2004, she received the HMS Faculty Prize in Medical Education, Years 3/4. She is an active alumnus of the Harvard Macy Institute, taking part in many of its seminars and acting as a project group leader, facilitator for microteaching, and organizing the OSCE exam for Macy scholars. She developed the radiology station for the Harvard fourth-year comprehensive OSCE exam and has been active in the Patient Doctor II OSCE as well as in the classroom-to-clerkship transition course for second-year students. She was a member of the admissions committee at Harvard for many years and interviewed radiology applicants for the BWH residency and fellowships. Her main areas of interest in education include testing and evaluation methods, use of the web for education, and development of interactive methods of teaching cross-sectional anatomy. With grant support from the Dean's IT and HU Provost's Innovation Funds, Dr. Shaffer developed innovative web-based materials for the Human Body and Human Systems courses at Harvard. Since moving to BU, she has also taken an active role in developing a longitudinal curriculum in imaging that begins in the 1st year Anatomy course and continues through the 4th year of medical school.
As a Rabkin Senior Fellow at the Institute, Dr. Shaffer investigated the interactions of grading and evaluation on a clerkship's social and collegial interactions. She was invited to take part in a Harvard symposium on grading and wrote a summary paper stating her views on these topics. As a result of this activity, she was appointed to the Dean's Task Force on Grading and Evaluation at Harvard which explored the problems with existing grading systems and sought to develop new and more equitable methods of student assessment. As part of her fellowship she also designed and implemented a survey of past students in her radiology clerkship inquiring about their perceptions of the effect the grading system has had on their interactions with staff and fellow students, with particular emphasis on comparison to similar interactions during the first two years of pass-fail grading. As part of her fellowship she also designed and implemented a survey of past students in her radiology clerkship inquiring about their perceptions of the effect the grading system has had on their interactions with staff and fellow students, with particular emphasis on comparison to similar interactions during the first two years of pass-fail grading. In 2009 she was named Educator of the Year by the Radiological Society of North America. In 2012 she was named a Fellow of the American College of Radiology.