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It takes a dedicated, empathetic and effective educator to take on the role of Hospital, Interventional and Surgical Care (HISC) course director, previously known as the Internal Medicine Clerkship. Raquel Reyes, MD, MPA, associate professor in the Division of Hospital Medicine, will be stepping into this position at the end of June.

The HISC course allows medical students to apply what they have learned from a traditional classroom setting to caring for hospitalized medical and surgical patients. Each student will spend eight weeks in the Adult Inpatient Medicine Block.

“As the students are going through this phase they are thinking about their careers,” Dr. Lee Berkowitz, Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Medicine, said. “This is really key for students who may be interested in internal medicine. We want them to see what we all enjoy about internal medicine.”

Dr. Reyes will be tasked with creating the curriculum for the course, building relationships with students while guiding them through challenges and running the evaluation process. A critical duty will also involve writing an extensive letter for each student pursuing residency in internal medicine.

“This is a letter from the Department of Medicine,” Dr. Berkowitz said. “It’s one of the most scrutinized, key pieces of information that a residency uses to decide if they want a medical student.”

Born in a rural town in Texas, the possibility of becoming a doctor didn’t occur to Dr. Reyes until she moved to Boston to attend Harvard College. Throughout her training, she valued interacting with other learners and quickly became interested in medical education.

“Learning from other people is just part of what it means to be moving in the world of being a physician,” Dr. Reyes said. “My first job out of residency was in Uganda as the site director, it is one of the principal partnership sites for Massachusetts General Hospital. Part of my job was not only to focus on partnership building from a clinical standpoint but a lot of it also involved working with resident and student learners.”

Over the seven years Dr. Reyes has been at the University of North Carolina her passion for teaching has continued to flourish. She has facilitated small groups for the Population Health course, became the associate program director for the Med Peds Residency Program and worked as a tutor for the Patient Centered Care course where students learn about patient doctor relationships.

Now, transitioning into the HISC course director position, Dr. Reyes will be filling the shoes of Christopher Klipstein, MD, who has spent the last 20 years transforming the program. She is looking forward to continuing his legacy and brining her own personal touch to the course.

“Everybody has life that happens to them along the way,” Dr. Reyes said. “I remember what it was like for myself to be a student at that phase of learning and the impact your role models can have on you and on your trajectory. This is exactly the sort of thing I love to do.”