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Photo of Tekian, Ara

Ara Tekian, PhD, MHPE

Professor and Director of International Programs

Associate Dean for the Office of International Education

Department of Medical Education


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Dr. Tekian is Professor and Director of International Affairs at the Department of Medical Education (DME), and the Associate Dean for the Office of International Education at the College of Medicine, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).  He joined DME in 1992, and is involved in both teaching courses offered in the Master’s of Health Professions Education (MHPE) program and advising graduate students.  Prior to joining DME, he was the founding Director of the first Medical Education Department in Saudi Arabia, at King Saud University, College of Medicine in Riyadh (1983 – 1990).  He served during the 80s and 90s as a consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) for projects in the Division of Development of Human Resources for Health.  He also served as consultant to the Ministries of Health and Education in most of the Eastern Mediterranean countries. Dr. Tekian established a number of medical education departments/ units in the Eastern Mediterranean countries.

Dr. Tekian is an internationally recognized scholar and leader in health professions education.  He has organized and conducted over 250 workshops in more than 45 countries and 60 cities, as well as presented over 200 keynote addresses nationally and internationally.  His consultations and workshops have focused on curriculum development, assessment, program evaluation, simulations, and international medical education.  His scholarship in health professions education is reflection in publications in the premiere medical education journals.  Dr. Tekian is the senior author of the book Innovative Simulations for Assessing Professional Competence: From Paper-and-Pencil to Virtual Reality published in 1999.

Ara Tekian has received numerous honors and awards.  In 1996, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Tashkent University in Uzbekistan.  Dr. Tekian was the recipient of the 1997 Teaching Recognition Program Award from the University of Illinois (UIC) Council for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.  He is also the recipient of the 2012 ASME (Association for the Study of Medical Education) Gold Medal Award which is one of the most prestigious international awards in medical education.  In 2014, he was honored by receiving the most revered Lifetime Achievement Award by the Armenian American Medical Society.  He also received the “Faculty of the Year” award from UIC-DME in 2015. He has served as the President of the Division of Education in the Professions of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) from 2009 – 2012, which is a major venue for presentation of scholarship in health professions education.   AERA is the leading international professional association for the field of education.  In 2017, Dr. Tekian received AERA’s most prestigious Division I’s Distinguished Career Award.  He was also the 2017 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which recognizes individuals who have made their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, courage, compassion and unique talents, all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the vision and spirit of America. Dr. Tekian is also the recipient of the highly competitive.

UIC Award for Excellence in Teaching for the 2017-18 academic year. Currently, he

is the Chief Editor - Springer-ICPE Book Series.

Current research interests:

  • Medical curriculum development and curricular change
  • Student assessment and innovative testing methodologies
  • Methods for assessing competencies, milestones and Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs)
  • Standard setting procedures
  • Simulations in Medicine
  • Master’s and doctoral level programs in health professions education
  • Communication skills, patient safety and medical errors
  • International faculty development
  • International Medical Graduates (IMGs)

International Teaching and Consulting:
Canada,  Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, The Netherlands,  Sweden, Armenia, Lithuania, Poland, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Tunis, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Australia, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Iran, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil.

Research Interest

ORCID 0000-0002-9252-1588

Research and Teaching Interests Dr. Tekian’s teaching interests include assessment in health professions education (HPE), curriculum development, and medical simulation. He is involved in teaching both core and elective courses in HPE. Ara Tekian is a leading scholar in professions education with significant and sustained research contributions that have made groundbreaking and longstanding impact on educational practices of health professionals, both within the United States and around the world. His work has advanced educational research and influenced practice in four programmatic research areas: (1) underrepresented minorities in medicine, (2) international faculty development, (3) simulation in medical education, and (4) assessment of competence in medicine. His research has vastly improved standards for educational practice and training of health professionals and transformed international guidelines that have direct consequences on the quality of patient safety and public good. Overall, Ara has published over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and presented over 140 peer- reviewed presentations. He teaches widely, conducting over 295 invited workshops and courses, and 235 invited presentations, in 45 countries. During the past decade, he has secured over 5 million dollars of external grant and contract funds to conduct educational research and to train leaders and scholars in health professions education. In July 2012, the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) conferred its ASME Gold Medal to Ara, in recognition of his scholarship and leadership in international contexts. In 2017, Ara received the prestigious AERA Division I Distinguished Career Award. He was also the 2017 recipient of the highly acclaimed Ellis Island Medal of Honor.