Steven Cheng and Timothy Yau Appointed to Team That Will Design New Medical School Curriculum


Drs. Steven Cheng (L) and Timothy Yau on team to help re-vamp medical school courses.

Congratulations to Associate Professor of Medicine Steven Cheng, MD, and Assistant Professor of Medicine Timothy Yau, MD, who are joining Washington University School of Medicine’s Phase 1 Integrated Curriculum Design team that is tasked with the development of a new curriculum for the entering class of medical students in 2020.

As part of the overall curriculum transformation leadership team, the Phase 1 Designers will use the science of learning to completely re-imagine the medical school curriculum.  It has been 20 years since the last curriculum renewal.

Four teams, consisting of 4–5 individuals each, will design the modules of the Phase 1 Gateway Curriculum.  The teams are:  Basic-Clinical Sciences Integration, Assessment, Clinical Skills/Immersions, and Community Engagement/Social & Health Systems Sciences.  Phase 1 of the Gateway Curriculum will be approximately 16 months long, will include 4-5 blocks of basic and social sciences, and three clinical immersions.  Design team appointment is for six months beginning July 1, 2019, with the opportunity for immediate renewal for an additional six months pending progress toward the team’s goals.

Dr. Cheng was appointed to the Basic-Clinical Sciences Integration Team, which is led by Dr. Sabrina Nuñez, Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Foundational Sciences, Office of Medical Student Education.  This team will create the core outline for all major modules within Phase 1 and will inform the foundational components of Phase 2, including content outline and mapping.

As the course director for a 1st year elective, the 2nd year renal pathophysiology course, and a 4th year elective rotation, Cheng has extensive experience with medical students.   He has received multiple awards for his exemplary skills in medical education.  In 2018, he received the Distinguished Service Teaching Award for Course Director of the Year (Class of 2020),  in 2017 was awarded the Distinguished Professor of the Year Award (Class of 2019), and in 2015 received the Course Master of the Year (Class of 2017).  In 2012, Cheng was a recipient of the Samuel R. Goldstein Leadership Award for Medical Student Education, one of the highest honors that teachers in the School of Medicine can achieve.

“I’m just proud to continue representing the division in nephrology in this incredible opportunity!” Says Cheng.

Dr. Yau was appointed to the Clinical Skills/Immersions team, which will integrate clinical skills into the preclinical curriculum.

A respected and valued teacher, Yau was named Course Director of the 1st and 3rd year Practice of Medicine courses in 2016 and has received seven Distinguished Service Teaching Awards since joining the faculty in 2011.  Most recently (2019), he received a Samuel R. Goldstein Leadership Award in Medical Student Education.   Yau is the creator of the popular award-winning Washington University Nephrology Web Video Series.  He was appointed Social Media Editor for the American Journal of Kidney Disease In 2017 and is currently on the faculty of the Nephrology Social Media Collective.

In addition to their skills as teachers, Cheng and Yau are also accomplished musicians.  Cheng is a talented violinist who serves as co-concertmaster for the Saint Louis Philharmonic Orchestra.  He is also a member The Osler Quintet, a musical group of four medical professionals and one web developer.  Yau plays guitar, fiddle, bouzouki, and mandolin and is a big fan of traditional Irish music.

Cheng and Yau have even incorporated their musical talents into their medical school teaching.  See here for a YouTube video of Cheng and Yau (together with WU faculty Seth Goldberg, MD, and Rowena Delos-Santos, MD) performing a song written for WU Medical Class of 2020 to the music of “Paradise” by John Prine, and here for the same group performing “The Little Nephron Hornpipe.”  Lyrics of both songs were written by Yau.

Follow Dr. Cheng @RenalRhapsody and Dr. Yau @Maximal_Change on Twitter.