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2020 Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education

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Sondra Zabar, MD

Sondra Zabar, MD

Professor of Medicine
Director, Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Innovation (DGIMCI)
Director, Program in Medical Education Innovations and Research (PrMEIR)
Director, New York Simulation Center (NYSIM/NYU) Standardized Patient Program
NYU Grossman School of Medicine (NYUGSOM)

Through scholarship, mentorship, and educational and assessment innovation, Sondra Zabar, MD, professor of medicine at NYUGSOM, has been on the leading edge of teaching and evaluating clinical care.

Dr. Zabar pioneered the use of unannounced standardized patients to assess trainees’ clinical performance, and she has designed simulation-based programs, including Night on Call and First Night on Call, to prepare trainees for transition to residency. She leads the Standardized Patient Program at NYU/NYSIM, which serves more than 15,000 learners every year. Her insistence on taking a unified approach to assessing communication skills has enabled her to monitor performance longitudinally and compare performance across trainees in different disciplines.

Dr. Zabar is a diligent and rigorous scholar. She has had continuous funding for educational research for two decades, including multimillion-dollar grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). She and her team established the IRB-approved Database for Research on Education in Academic Medicine (DREAM), with over 3,000 subjects, providing an ethical framework for longitudinal medical education outcomes studies. She has published more than 70 peer-reviewed articles and authored the seminal textbook on objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs).

Dr. Zabar’s commitment to medical education scholarship extends far beyond her own research. In addition to her leadership of interdisciplinary teams and mentoring other educators in adapting her curricular designs at their own institutions, Dr. Zabar fundraised for and founded the Program in Medical Education Innovations and Research (PrMEIR). To date, PrMEIR has awarded more than 30 teaching fellowships and 50 seed grants to advance medical education scholarship and institute patient-centered best practices.

Dr. Zabar completed her undergraduate education at Brown University and her MD at NYUGSOM. She completed her residency in primary care at NYUGSOM, where she served as chief resident. Dr. Zabar’s accolades include the Distinguished Teaching Award, NYU’s most prestigious educational honor, and the Medical Educator Award and the Scholarship in Medical Education Award from the Society of General Internal Medicine.

Learn more about the Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education

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