Tracy B. Fulton, PhD
Professor of Biochemistry
University of California, San Francisco
Over the past two decades, Dr. Fulton has worked to transform medical biochemistry from a siloed collection of enzymes and pathways to an applied discipline focused on understanding. She worked with a team to implement and study the Pathways of Human Metabolism Map, a visual tool for health professions students that promotes deep learning and application of classroom concepts to clinical problems.
In an interview with the UCSF School of Pharmacy, Dr. Fulton shared that in her courses, she is more interested in what students can do with the information they learn than whether they can recite it from memory. Students say of her teaching, which embraces collaborative learning and prioritizes application of their biochemistry lessons to real-life scenarios, “I feel like this style of learning will serve me so much better as a clinician.”
Dr. Fulton is passionate about helping students see connections between biochemistry and other disciplines and collaborates with faculty locally and nationally in this effort. She brings this focus to her leadership in the partnership between Aquifer and the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) to design instructional tools that facilitate integration of basic sciences with clinical reasoning. She recently joined the joint UCSF-University Medical Center Utrecht Doctoral Program in Health Professions Education to study how students and faculty integrate their knowledge in the clinical workplace.
As chair of two committees that redesigned UCSF’s pre-clerkship student assessment in 2015, Dr. Fulton led efforts to replace multiple-choice with open-ended questions, also in support of deep learning. In 2020, she led a complete revision of learning materials in the block she directs, REG-N (Renal, Endocrine, GI, and Nutrition), to eliminate language that perpetuated racism and gender bias. In addition to her work at UCSF, Dr. Fulton was a member of the group that produced the AAMC Core Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) for Entering Residency in 2014 and has served on United States Medical Licensing Examination committees, co-chairing the pharmacology/biochemistry item-writing committee for three years.
She received a prestigious Henry J. Kaiser award in 2008 and has been nominated almost annually for the Essential Core Teaching Award, which she won in 2009 and 2015. Outside UCSF, Dr. Fulton was the recipient of the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) Master Teacher Award in 2017 — the first woman to receive the faculty-selected award in a decade.
Dr. Fulton received her PhD in biochemistry in 2000 from USCF. She joined the university faculty shortly after, where she continues to teach as a professor in the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Dentistry. Since 2013, she has held the Academy of Medical Educators Endowed Chair for Excellence in Foundational Teaching.