The Education QI Project

Background and description of project

A 2020 survey of 40 medical schools revealed that only 10% of medical educators believed their students were ‘very prepared’ to manage patients with obesity and one-third reported that their medical school had no obesity education program in place. In response to this need, 12 obesity education modules called FORWARD – Focus on Obesity Education, were recently developed by a small group of content experts. The modules cover a wide range of topics, including stigma & bias, pathophysiology, nutrition, social determinants of health, and pharmacotherapy.

Purpose of This Project

The purpose of this project is twofold:

1) Optimize the FORWARD modules by first undergoing extensive review among medical school educators,
2) Conduct a quality improvement (QI) initiative to assess the impact of introducing curated obesity educational materials into the curriculum. Evaluation of the QI project will be assessed by administering pre- and post-implementation surveys.

The project will be guided by a 6-member steering committee with expertise in obesity and medical education. Ten schools will be selected for the 2-year QI project.

The first year will be focused on refinement of the FORWARD modules, reviewing applicability to the curriculum, stage appropriateness, and usability. Subject areas or formats of instruction that are not addressed will also be identified. Modifications to the materials will be made by the steering committee based on feedback from the medical school educators. The schools will begin to map out plans for implementing the selected materials. A pre-implementation survey developed by the steering committee and school representatives will be distributed prior to year 2.

During the second year, participating schools will deploy the obesity educational curriculum. Quarterly virtual meetings will be conducted to discuss the opportunities and challenges of implementing curricular content. A post-implementation survey will be distributed at the end of year 2. Results of the study will be submitted for publication and the educational resources from the QI project made available free of charge to the medical community.

In summary, participating medical school faculty will be responsible for review of the FORWARD modules, active engagement in delivery or oversight of the obesity curriculum, participation in quarterly virtual meetings, and administration of the project at their school. Approximately 4 hours per month of commitment from participating faculty is anticipated over the 2-year project. Faculty will be financially compensated for their time. The QI initiative is administrated by The Obesity Society and funded by Novo Nordisk.

For further information, please contact Dr. Robert Kushner at [email protected].

The Education QI Project Steering Committee

Robert Kushner, MD, MS, FACP, DABOM. Professor, Departments of Medicine and Medical Education, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL (Chair)

Magdalena Pasarica MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Assistant Dean of Medical Education for M3/4, UCF College of Medicine, Orlando, FL

Jonathan Purnell, MD, DABOM. Professor of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR

Monica Agarwal, MD, MEHP, FACE, DABOM, Professor of Medicine, Director, Obesity Medicine Fellowship Program, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL

Amanda Velazquez, MD, DABOM, Director of Obesity Medicine, Department of Surgery, Acting Assistant Professor, Medicine and Surgery, Center for Weight Management and Metabolic Health, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

B. Gabriel Smolarz MD, MBA, MS, FACE, DABOM, Senior Medical Director Obesity, US Medical Affairs, Novo Nordisk

Amber Olson, MPH, Medical Student, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH

Shameeka Green, Sr. Manager, Membership & Sections – Staff Liaison

If you are interested in submitting an application form, please click on the box below.  All applications should be emailed to, Shameeka Green, Sr. Manager of Member Services & Sections, [email protected].  Please indicate in the subject line “The Education QI Project.”