Medical Education Research

Medical education research advances the knowledge and skills of medical learners. We aim to improve the educational environment by designing and evaluating curricular innovations and exploring the perspectives of learners and educators. Medical students, other trainees, and faculty can get involved through these UME programs and opportunities in MedEd Research:

IRB Review of Medical Education Research

All research projects with medical students as research subjects must be reviewed and approved through the UofL Institutional Research Board (IRB). Please ensure that Dr. M. Ann Shaw, Vice Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, is included in the iRIS submission as a Scientific Reviewer for any projects with medical students as research subjects. As per the research regulations at UofL, any students performing educational research must identify a faculty advisor to supervise their research project. 

Distinction in Medical Education (DIME)

The Distinction in Medical Education (DIME) is a longitudinal experience that provides students opportunities to focus on developing their skills in multiple teaching modes pertinent to medical education, as well as conducting educational research. The UME Research Unit provides support to DIME through mentorship and the development of research projects. 

For questions about DIME, reach out to DIME directors Dr. Jennifer Brueckner-Collins and Dr. Adam Patterson. For questions about the Distinction Track program overall, please contact .

Summer Research Scholar Program (SRSP) MedEd Projects

The Summer Research Scholar Program (SRSP) is a research experience open to UofL medical students between their first and second year. Each summer, a limited number of MedEd projects will be available in SRSP for medical students to work with a faculty mentor who is conducting medical education research. Faculty interested in proposing a MedEd project for SRSP should reach out to ahead of the annual SRSP application deadline.

Why choose MedEd Research for SRSP? Participants gain insight into how medical students learn and are assessed, and this work is highly applicable as a medical student/future academic. Students with previous clinical/biomedical research experience also get an opportunity to learn new research skills and clinical skills.

What types of MedEd projects are available for SRSP? The exact projects will depend on which faculty submit projects each year, but previous student projects have included: 

  • Clinical Skills Development - video coding SP encounters for vaccine recommendations, LGBTQ+ clinical skills, physical exam skills, etc.
  • Curriculum Evaluation - developing new communication and physical exam skills training
  • Qualitative Research - student perspectives through interviews and focus groups

What scholarly outcomes do MedEd projects have? Students completing MedEd projects for SRSP have the same scholarship opportunities as biomedical and clinical research. In addition to presenting at R!L (see below), students can present their work at external medical education conferences such as the AAMC’s Southern Group on Educational Affairs (SGEA) held each spring and other national conferences. Specialty-specific conferences often accept relevant educational scholarship as well. Students can also publish their work in one of many health professions education journals

Research!Louisville Medical Education Awards

Research!Louisville is held at the Health Sciences Center each fall. Consider submitting your medical education scholarship and having your work judged for the R!L education awards:

  • Ruth Greenberg Award for Medical Education Research - This award is open to education researchers in the School of Medicine (all levels - faculty/staff/residents/students) who submit studies that investigate methods and outcomes related to teaching and learning for healthcare learners. This award is supported by the Offices of Medical Education and Graduate Medical Education. First, second, and third place awards will be made.
  • Leslee Martin Medical Education Student Award - This award is open to medical students whose innovative research or scholarship aims to improve medical education by examining the learning environment or developing educational resources for trainees. This award is supported by the School of Medicine in honor of Dr. Leslee Martin, former Director of Undergraduate Medical Education, who worked tirelessly to enhance the learning experiences of our medical students.
  • Professional & Educational Development Award - This award is open to scholars at all levels across the HSC (dentistry, medicine, nursing, and public health). Professional and educational development projects focus on health professions education research with HSC learners, leadership training, and other faculty development initiatives. This award is supported by the HSC Office of Professional and Educational Development (OPED). 

Education Award Review Criteria - R!L posters may be reviewed remotely or in-person, depending on the availability of judges. Please email  with questions or if you would like to serve as a judge for any of these education award categories. We look forward to seeing your educational scholarship!

  • Project established clear goals for improving health professions education
  • Work was grounded in health professions education literature
  • Team implemented strong research methodology or curriculum design
  • Project highlighted innovative approaches to health professions education
  • Results focused on original quantitative and/or qualitative data collected by the team
  • Outcomes have useful implications or applications to health professions education
  • Poster presentation effectively communicated the work 

Medical Education Research Award (MERA)

The MERA program is open to bachelor’s level pre-medical students at the University of Louisville. MERA is funded by the UofL College of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office. The goal of the MERA program is to engage pre-med undergraduates in educational research to prepare for medical school.

MERA participants collaborate with researchers in the Medical Education Research Unit at the UofL School of Medicine to complete a project reviewing standardized patient encounters, which are typical student assessments in medical school. The projects provide research training for participants and critical insight into the clinical skills curriculum. Pre-med students present their work as a poster at the A&S UG Research Showcase.

Research Support

  • Open Office Hours - Open to Distinction Track students and other students seeking support for project, abstract, and poster development
  • MedEd Writing Group - Open to SRSP, DIME, and other students who have completed a medical education scholarly project
  • LinkedIn Learning - Open to all students and faculty looking for self-directed training resources
  • Presentation Skills Toolkit for Medical Students - open access AAMC resource with tips on developing and presenting scholarly work
  • MedEd Research Listserv - Open to all students and faculty to keep updated on opportunities; to subscribe, send a note to and include only the following command in the body of your email message: subscribe MedEdResearch 

UME Medical Education Researchers

Medical Education Research Unit, Instructional Building 311W, 500 S Preston, Louisville, KY 40202

Assistant Professor, Undergraduate Medical Education - (502) 852-7436

Emily J. Noonan, PhD, (she/her/hers) is a medical anthropologist and Assistant Professor in Medical Education at the University of Louisville (UofL) School of Medicine. Her primary areas of research are curriculum to reduce disparities experienced by LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities. Dr. Noonan is a Course Co-Director for Introduction to Clinical Medicine, focusing on social medicine. Dr. Noonan also directs the Distinction Track program.  Dr. Noonan earned a Bachelor's Degree from Warren Wilson College, a Master's Degree from Georgia State University, and a PhD in medical anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Assistant Professor, Undergraduate Medical Education; Director of Research for Health Professions Education - (502) 852-0771

Dr. Weingartner joined the Medical Education Research Unit in Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) in 2016 with a focus in health disparities and clinical skills research. She also directs faculty development research and develops programming for health professions education research with the HSC Office of Educational & Professional Development. Dr. Weingartner is a course director for the M1 Biostatistics and Evidence-Based Medicine and is an instructor for the graduate program in Health Professions Education. Dr. Weingartner’s undergraduate background is in secondary science education, botany, and zoology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She continued at Miami University to complete an MS in Botany studying molecular evolution, and she completed an MS in Biostatistics at the University of Louisville. Dr. Weingartner completed her doctorate in Biology at Indiana University studying evolutionary genetics.