Devon Rupley, MD, Named 2020-21 Vanneck-Bailey Scholar

Devon Rupley, MD

Devon Rupley, MD

The Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators has selected Devon Rupley, MD, as the 2020-21 recipient of the annual Vanneck-Bailey Award. Rupley is assistant professor of obstetrics & gynecology at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S). The Vanneck-Bailey Award is given annually to support a VP&S faculty member in developing educational programs for medical students.

Rupley will use the $40,000 award to collaborate in redesigning the Ready for Major Clinical Year course at VP&S with William Fuller, MD, assistant professor of medicine. 

“As Columbia students enter their major clinical year, the transition between the pre-clinical and clinical setting is a significant milestone in their journey to becoming physicians,” says Rupley. “We’re redesigning the course to be more of a longitudinal experience for students. It will include a simulation curriculum that ties to all aspects of professional identity formation.”

“Dr. Rupley is a dedicated medical educator who excels at teaching and mentoring medical students and residents,” says Rita Charon, MD, PhD, director of the Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators. “Of the many extraordinary applications we received for this award, this proposal has the potential to reach every single VP&S student to humanize their educational experience and render them all the more powerful allies and clinicians for their patients.” Charon also is professor of medicine, chair of the Department of Medical Humanities & Ethics, and founder of Columbia Narrative Medicine. 

Rupley’s path to medicine was unexpected. She studied government at Cornell University and planned to become a lawyer, but a year spent in Ghana after college changed her mind. She worked for the Ghana Health and Education Initiative, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to improving outcomes for women and children in rural areas. “This experience of working to ensure access to basic but essential health services completely changed my career path and led me to the field of women's health,” she recalls. 

She enrolled in a postbaccalaureate premed program and earned her medical degree at the University of Michigan. During a residency in obstetrics & gynecology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, she learned about the Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators while collaborating with Rini B. Ratan, MD, associate professor of obstetrics & gynecology, on a project supported by a medical education grant. Together they used the grant to create a multimedia tool to help patients understand the risks and benefits of a C-section and then adapted it to teach medical students and junior residents about informed consent for surgical procedures.

“It’s a really interesting time to be an educator,” says Rupley. “There are so many changes happening in medical education because students want different styles of instruction. I feel privileged to work in a space where we can develop and deliver new ways to teach medicine driven by our students.”

The Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators is comprised of 82 members who promote, reward, and support outstanding education for Columbia medical students, residents, fellows, and faculty. This is the fourth year that the Vanneck-Bailey Award has been given. Awardees are reviewed and selected by a committee of Apgar members.