Shaping the Future of Medicine: Q&A with Dr. David Serota

This summer, our longitudinal clinical educators (LCEs) share their experiences mentoring the next generation of physicians at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Dr. David Serota with medical students he mentors as a longitudinal clinical educator

When the Miller School implemented its LCE program, David Serota, M.D. ’13, associate professor of clinical medicine, felt compelled to sign up. Dr. Serota, an infectious disease expert and Miller School alum, sees the LCE as a vital pillar of stability for medical students in the evolving medical landscape. His dedication and exceptional contributions to mentoring students over the past year earned him the Outstanding LCE Award.

Dr. Serota reflected on this honor and his enriching experiences with the program.

I love working with open-minded students who are eager to learn medicine and bring a fresh perspective that is necessary in the field. I believe that each generation of physicians is better than the last and I’m excited to play a role in shaping that future.

When I was a student at the Miller School, I remember our anatomy professor, Dr. Blanks, explaining that the best way to maintain one’s knowledge, skills and mastery is to teach. His lesson stuck with me, as I’m also doing this a little self-servingly, to be the best doctor I can be!

It has been great to get to know my students on a deeper level and see them as they grow through school and then graduate into amazing doctors.
—Dr. David Serota

Medical training is an exercise in perpetual adaptation to new experiences. In the classroom, topics change drastically week by week. In the hospital, trainees constantly change rotations, work in different settings with different patient populations and regularly confront new challenges and expectations.

This constant change can be disorienting and LCEs help anchor stability from the first day of school through graduation and beyond. They provide a safe space, and a brave space, for students to be vulnerable while learning new things, confronting new challenges and figuring out their professional identity. LCEs are the fairy godmothers of medical school and I love getting to flap my little wings.

Some of the values I hope to instill in my students through our small groups are focusing on patient-centered care by learning the values of your patient and applying evidence-based medicine through their lens, open-mindedness to new ways of doing things, understanding behaviors and medical conditions as a product of the environment and structures of our society and learning to maintain one’s values and professional identity despite healthcare forces sometimes countering those principles.

I was shocked and honored to receive this award. It felt wonderful to be acknowledged for my work in helping to develop our students and create the unique learning experience we have here at the university. 

Seeing our first class of NextGenMD students graduate this past spring was a major highlight. As educators, we most often only get to interact with students for random snippets of time, maybe a short clinical rotation, a single research project and one small group session. It has been great to get to know my students on a deeper level and see them as they grow through school and then graduate into amazing doctors.

I am proud to work at a university that values physician-educators and invests in their development and retention. Having a cadre of well-trained educators who are granted dedicated time and support to teach and mentor students enriches our academic community. It improves the quality of the doctors we graduate.

Tags: Dr. David Serota, longitudinal clinician educators, medical education