Trailblazing Educator Dr. Karen Hauer Honored with Prestigious John P. Hubbard Award for Medical Education Research and Assessment

National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME)

PHILADELPHIA, PA — In recognition of her pivotal contributions to medical education research and assessment, Dr. Karen Hauer, MD, PhD, has been distinguished as the recipient of the 2024 John P. Hubbard Award by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). Humbled and deeply honored, Dr. Hauer deems her recognition as following in the monumental footprints of past trailblazers, some of whom have served as her mentors and collaborators.

A lifelong advocate of evidence-based educational design, Dr. Hauer consistently dedicates her work to the refinement and improvement of educational programs. Her ultimate goal? To ensure medical instruction primes physicians to be compassionate, patient-centered experts committed to ongoing learning throughout their careers.

Expressing his support and admiration for Dr. Hauer’s exceptional contributions, NBME President and CEO, Dr. Peter Katsufrakis, lauds the remarkable sense of community fostered by a dedicated group of educators, researchers, and clinicians. Their collective work continues to advance assessment science, ultimately resulting in enhanced patient care. According to Dr. Katsufrakis, Dr. Hauer personifies the finest attributes of a medical educator and researcher, making her a worthy recipient of the Hubbard Award, NBME’s highest form of recognition.

Currently serving as the Vice Dean for Education and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Dr. Hauer is an active researcher in health education. Her key areas of focus include competency-based medical education, workplace-based assessment, equity, and coaching. She champions competency-based education for its capacity to shift focus beyond knowledge, also encompassing clinical, communication, procedural, and teamwork skills that doctors require to best serve their patients. This approach, she explains, is both developmental and adaptive, fostering the evolution of medical education and creating a rich data set about learners.

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Dr. Hauer is a prolific researcher with over 200 peer-reviewed publications to her credit. Her pursuit of multiple research opportunities stems from both her intrinsic motivation and a mentor early in her career who urged her to enhance her capabilities as a clinician educator through research. She recounts how she was advised to contribute to at least one publication per year, leading to her discovery of the power of building evidence-based medical education.

Equity stands at the forefront of Dr. Hauer’s guiding principles in medical education. She maintains that “all learners deserve to learn and be assessed in ways that avoid bias and afford them opportunities to be successful.” Dr. Hauer encourages education program leaders to scrutinize assessment data diligently for signs of bias or disparity, taking timely action to rectify such issues.

Dr. Hauer’s distinguished career trajectory includes an undergraduate degree from Stanford University, followed by medical school, an internal medicine residency, and chief residency at UCSF. She also completed her PhD in medical education as part of a joint program with UCSF and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Today, she practices as an internal medicine specialist in primary care at UCSF Health.

Bestowed since 1982, the John. P. Hubbard Award acknowledges extraordinary contributions to the pursuit of assessment excellence within medical education. Dr. Hauer now joins the ranks of these distinguished individuals, ensuring her place in the annals of medical education history.

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