Kelley M. Skeff, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Stanford University School of Medicine

Georgette A. Stratos, PhD
Senior Research Scholar
Stanford University School of Medicine


  • To disseminate teaching improvement courses to medical teachers nationally and internationally through a train-the-trainer dissemination model.

The center's programs offered career development opportunities for individual faculty participants and, simultaneously, provided a mechanism for institutional improvement.

Graduates of all of the SFDC programs can be contacted directly to arrange for workshops at other institutions, and at regional and national meetings. Large groups of participants can be accommodated by using a number of trained facilitators to work with small, break-out groups.

  • To provide teaching improvement support for medical teachers involved in undergraduate and graduate education at Stanford University through workshops and consultation.

From 1986 to 2019, SFDC trained physician faculty to provide ongoing faculty development in subject areas critical to medical education and practice:

  • Clinical Teaching
  • Geriatrics in Primary Care
  • Preventive Medicine
  • End-of-Life Care
  • Medical Decision Making
  • Professionalism in Contemporary Practice

The SFDC has responded to recognized needs for faculty development in these areas as well as a lack of available on-site programs at most institutions. Trained facilitators deliver faculty development curricula to colleagues and residents in local, regional, national and international settings. To date, SFDC programs have been disseminated to well over 15,000 medical teachers worldwide.

Graduates of all of the SFDC programs are available to conduct workshops at other institutions, and at regional and national meetings. Large groups of participants can be accommodated by using a number of trained facilitators to work with small, break-out groups. 

Center Funding

Over the years, the SFDC received financial support from various sources including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Josiah Macy, Jr., Foundation, and the Stanford School of Medicine.

Dissemination Model

The center used a train-the-trainer approach in which selected faculty participated in a 1-month facilitator-training course at Stanford. Following the training, these faculty returned to their home institutions prepared to deliver a series of seven seminars in one of the program content areas for fellow faculty and residents.

Facilitator Training at Stanford

The intensive, month-long facilitator training included didactic sessions, readings, group discussion, role-play exercises, video-assisted feedback on practice teaching, guest lectures, and home-site program implementation sessions.

Participating faculty-trainees received training in:

  • background knowledge related to the program content
  • skills for effective teaching in general
  • facilitation skills for conducting faculty development training with medical teachers

Program Dissemination

Since 1986, 401 medical faculty from158 institutions have been trained as seminar facilitators.

  • 215 in Clinical Teaching
  • 32 re-trained in Basic Science
  • 17 in End-of-Life Care
  • 44 in Geriatrics in Primary Care
  • 58 in Medical Decision Making
  • 37 in Preventive Medicine
  • 30 in Professionalism in Contemporary Practice


By 2019, participating institutions were affiliated with approximately 65% of U.S. medical schools and include university, Veterans Affairs, military, and community-based programs. Approximately 20% of participating institutions are located in 19 other countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, England, Germany, Italy, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Thailand. Approximately 55% of these institutions have sent more than one faculty member to be trained at Stanford. Over 30% have sent three or more trainees.

Program Evaluation

Program evaluation focused on both the effectiveness of the facilitator training at Stanford and the impact of the seminars delivered by facilitators at their home sites. A variety of measures were used to assess the effects of the training on the seminar facilitators and the teachers who attended their seminars. These included: self-report, content knowledge tests, video review, ratings of facilitators by home-site seminar participants and structured interviews.

Overall conclusions:

  • The overwhelming majority of participants rated the seminars as beneficial and useful.
  • Significant gains in seminar participants' knowledge, skills, and attitudes were found.
  • The Stanford Faculty Development Center offered effective and well-received programs to improve medical teaching.