A number of similarities exist between the retirement of Kristi Ferguson, MSW, PhD and the other recent retirement of Dr. Peter Densen. Each of them has served the University of Iowa for 35 years, each of them has been a beloved mentor to dozens and dozens of students over those decades, and each of them has produced transformative impacts on medical education within the Carver College of Medicine that will help this institution remain one of the best in the country.
The Loop published a retrospective on Dr. Ferguson’s career ahead of her farewell event on September 25. In conversations with those who worked alongside her, many of the article’s details were repeated as remarkable achievements. The Masters in Medical Education program, for example, that Dr. Ferguson directed through the Office of Consultation and Research in Medical Education (OCRME) has seen 41 graduates in just over a decade, with eight more earning Certificates in Medical Education. These students now fill leadership roles within CCOM and at other academic medical centers.
The award-winning documentary that Dr. Ferguson produced that the article refers to is called The Barbara Fassbinder Story, and it tells the story of an Iowa nurse who acquired HIV while on the job in 1986. The film humanized the toll that AIDS takes, helping to destigmatize the disease for its 1991 audience in addition to educating about actual transmission mechanisms. The next year, the film received the prestigious Golden Eagle award from the DC-based CINE. Other notable recipients of this award for their films include Ron Howard, Robert Altman, Julie Taymor, and Mel Brooks.
Dr. Densen, who has not yet sailed off from the coast of Maine just yet, appraised Dr. Ferguson’s impact. “Under her leadership, OCRME became a powerful partner in initiating effective change in the medical curriculum, curricular content, instructional pedagogy, and assessment. She has been a terrific advocate for medical education and a wonderful colleague and friend.” Other colleagues in OCRME and throughout the College identify Dr. Ferguson as having a consistent quality of unflagging support, encouragement, and belief in the ability to succeed, which is the same attitude she has held for her beloved Chicago Cubs!
Best wishes to Dr. Ferguson in her retirement. Congratulations!