This Unsung Hero nomination was submitted by Julie M. Aultman, Ph.D., interim dean, College of Graduate Studies, director, Medical Ethics and Humanities Program, and professor of family and community medicine.
Erin Franks, Ph.D., is director of the Master in Foundations of Medicine (MFM), and a highly valued educator among her students.
The MFM program provides students with the fundamentals of biomedical science and clinical research, while equally emphasizing the importance of diversity, inclusivity and equity in scientific and medical education and research.
Dr. Franks continually aims to foster inclusivity and promote diversity in science and medicine where students from various backgrounds and life experiences can come together and learn, not just from the lessons presented in the anatomy lab, classroom or through their capstone experiences, but also from each other. Dr. Franks embodies cultural humility through reflective listening, recognizing and mitigating power dynamics and imbalances, and bringing on essential change at the course, program and college levels. She continues to transform the MFM program to meet the needs of her students and their desire to succeed and progress in science and medicine. I value her humility, inquisitiveness and leadership. She is an outstanding educator and mentor to students who are eager to learn and value the academic and professional lessons being taught. Dr. Franks works diligently to identify individual capstone experiences and capstone mentors for her students where they can learn in laboratories or clinical environments based on their unique interests and academic goals. Every year in spring her students present amazing capstone projects, and either continue to medical school at NEOMED or seek out additional academic or professional opportunities in science and medicine -- and have acquired a solid foundation for leading future generations in science and medicine.
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