Dr. Seetha Monrad – Laying the Groundwork for Our Future Doctors

April 20, 2021

Seetha Monrad, MD, an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine Division of Rheumatology and the Medical School Department of Learning Health Sciences, cares for patients with general rheumatic diseases at the Rheumatology Clinic at Taubman Center. Dr. Monrad's research interests are in medical education, with an emphasis on medical student education and curriculum transformation. In 2018, Dr. Monrad was appointed Assistant Dean for Assessment, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement in the Medical School where she focuses on program evaluation, educational assessment, and quality improvement. In addition, she is serving as Interim Assistant Dean of Curriculum and chairs the Medical School Competency Committees.

Dr. Monrad has received multiple awards and honors in recognition of her excellence in patient care and teaching. In 2011, she received the Department of Internal Medicine Richard D. Judge Award - Medical Student Teaching and was the 2014 recipient of the Kaiser Permanente Excellence in Teaching (Pre-Clinical) Award, the most prestigious teaching award given by the Medical School. In 2015, Dr. Monrad was inducted into the Department of Internal Medicine Clinical Excellence Society and the Medical School League of Educational Excellence. She is also a member of the Gold Humanism and Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Societies.

Behind the Scenes with Dr. Seetha Monrad

Dr. Seetha Monrad

Tell us about your research and why it interests you.

I study the impact of assessment on learning in medical education. We often think that the purpose of assessment is to determine what someone knows or does. However, assessment has a powerful impact on how someone learns, why they learn it, what they can do in the future (independent of what the test was about), and their well-being. All of these outcomes of assessment are critically important to understand in the education of a physician.

Dr. Monrad’s recent publications include:

"What Is the Association Between Student Well‐Being and High‐Stakes Examination Scores?", which was led by Dr. Monrad and published in Medical Education.

"University of Michigan Medical School", which was published in the Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges Academic Medicine in the "A Snapshot of Medical Student Education in the United States and Canada: Reports from 145 Schools” edition.

What is the ultimate goal of your research?

I hope to use assessment to promote learning in a way that causes more good than harm.

What are your clinical interests?

Being a medical educator, my clinical practice is general rheumatology. General rheumatology provides wonderful opportunities to learn general medicine, involving multiple organ systems and ranges of acuity. The ability to care for patients with complex rheumatic disease over many years is a source of joy and a talisman against burnout.

What do you do in your role as the Assistant Dean for Assessment, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement?

My role involves overseeing the entire program of assessment for the University of Michigan Medical School, evaluating outcomes at multiple levels, and engaging in continuous quality improvement of the curriculum.

What initiatives are you currently working on?

We are working to genuinely bring competency-based education to the Medical School. Providing feedback to students on their development in core physician competencies has much more potential for learning than just receiving a grade in a course or a clinical rotation.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Being the mother of two wonderful sons and the wife of a wonderful husband.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering specializing in rheumatology?

Do not be afraid of the inherent uncertainty in rheumatology! It keeps your mind limber and interested, and patients are so appreciative of your willingness to work with them even if they do not fit neatly into a diagnostic bucket.

More about Dr. Monrad...

You can find all of her publications and read more about her research at Michigan Research Experts.

You can keep up with what she’s doing on twitter @seethamonrad.