Catalyst Magazine

Meet UMB’s Educators of the Year

Educators of the Year
Photo by Matthew D’Agostino

Renaissance Curriculum Team
School of Medicine

About the Renaissance Curriculum Team

The team — Philip Dittmar, MD; Olga Ioffe, MD; Constance Lacap, DO; Joseph Martinez, MD; Donna Parker, MD, FACP; Devang Patel, MD; Sandra Quezada, MD, MS; Norman Retener, MD; Nirav Shah, MD; and Kerri Thom, MD, MS — revamped the School of Medicine’s (UMSOM) curriculum. The mission was to develop curriculum to train the Renaissance Physician: lifelong learners who are clinically excellent and possess humanism, professionalism, scholarship, leadership, critical thinking, and attention to social justice and diversity.


The team was preparing to implement the Renaissance Curriculum when COVID-19 disrupted clinical care and medical education. The team quickly and thoughtfully made changes to meet the needs of students, balancing education with the responsibility to protect health and safety. The curriculum was launched for the Class of 2024 in August 2020, with pandemic-related changes including virtual courses.


“Team-based learning specifically and active learning in general are wonderful ways to engage students in their own education. Having students work together to problem-solve with faculty supervision is a great way to teach them to think like physicians.” — Parker, senior associate dean for undergraduate medical education, UMSOM

“Word of the new curriculum has spread far and wide among the pool of students seeking to attend medical school. Applications to UMSOM are at an all-time high. Based on anecdotal evidence, at least part of the increased interest is due to the new Renaissance Curriculum.” — James B. Kaper, PhD, vice dean for academic affairs, UMSOM

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Jen Badie

Jen Badie is the assistant director of editorial services in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

CATALYST magazine

Executive Board

Lynne Henry, Laura Kozak, Larry Kushner, Jennifer Litchman, Thomas Sullivan, Kate Ostrowski


Lynne Henry

Managing Editor

Chris Zang

Assistant Editor

Kate Ostrowski

Photography Director

Matthew D’Agostino


Michelle Baffuto

Web Director

Amir Chamsaz

Marketing Manager

Kristi McGuire