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Jennifer McCallister: Cultivating the Future of Pulmonary and Critical Care Education

January 2015
Jennifer McCallister, MD

Jennifer McCallister,

Preparing the next generation for careers in pulmonary medicine is a passion of Jennifer McCallister, MD, and as director of the Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine Fellowship program at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, she has noticed a promising trend.

“The face of academic medicine has changed to include the clinician-educator now as a strong, viable career path,” says Dr. McCallister, who also serves as an associate professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at OSU. “An important role for the ATS is to recognize the value of medical educators in our profession. The momentum for this is great, and as chair of the ATS Training Committee, I am very excited that I can be at the forefront of that charge and help establish a solid home for medical educators in our Society.”

At OSU, Dr. McCallister mentors 18 fellows in adult pulmonary and critical care, and is also an educator at the OSU College of Medicine, where she has played an active role in the redesign of the curriculum. As the curriculum approaches its final stages, Dr. McCallister will serve as the director of advanced competencies and clinical tracks for fourth-year students.

“Jennifer is an outstanding clinician and educator who blends compassion and drive for excellence in all her endeavors,” says John Mastronarde, ‎MD, professor of medicine at Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, who has worked with Dr. McCallister since 2007.

After graduating summa cum laude from West Virginia University where she received her medicine degree, Dr. McCallister completed an internal medicine residency and pulmonary-critical care fellowship at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., where her interest in medical education truly began when she served as the chief medical resident.

“I met amazing people, not just with a fantastic bedside manner, but artful teachers who were able to translate what they did into helping others learn,” says Dr. McCallister, who joined the faculty at OSU upon completion of her fellowship in 2007.

A dedicated clinician, Dr. McCallister allots half of her time to patient care at Wexner, where she focuses on asthma and pulmonary diseases in pregnancy. She also participates in clinical research, investigating sex differences in asthma.

“Jenn is a gifted medical educator who blends educational innovation and educational scholarship to attain a positive and lasting impact on medical education,” says Kristin M. Burkart, MD, MSc, program director of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship and associate professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. “She has received national recognition for an innovative didactic- and simulation-based month-long fellow orientation which shifted the traditional orientation paradigm from an administrative task oriented process to an educational focus. Her dedication, drive, and desire to improve medical education through creative and novel approaches is inspiring.”

Dr. McCallister went to her first ATS International Conference as a second year fellow and has returned every year since, finding new opportunities, expanding her network, working with talented individuals from around the world, and growing personal friendships. Recently, she was asked to be the guest editor for a special issue on medical education for the Annals of the American Thoracic Societywhich will be published in April.

In her professional mentoring, Dr. McCallister stresses the importance of work-life balance to her trainees, so it’s important she maintains it herself, too. To that end, she enjoys photography and likes that she can do it while also spending time with her family, which includes her husband Jeff, daughter, Riley, 6, and two sons, Kieran, 9, and Aiden, 12. Recently, Riley expressed her own interest in medicine. “She told me, ‘I want to be a doctor,’” Dr. McCallister says. “It struck a chord. Like my daughter—for as long as I can remember—I’ve always wanted to be a physician. That has always defined who I am.”

Life in ATS

ATS Member Since: 2004

Primary Assembly: Allergy Immunology & Inflammation

Secondary Assemblies: Behavioral Science and Health Services Research, Critical Care

Committee: Training Committee, chair 2013-present

Last Reviewed: September 2017