Visiting Scholars Program Opened Her Eyes to the Possibilities in Improving Medical Education

On September 2, 2021

“The program’s ability to take early-career faculty and broaden their horizons to understand that there is more behind the education and training processes is inspiring. Thanks to the program, I met and reconnected with so many brilliant minds who are making broad, sweeping changes in the field.”

Brenessa M. Lindeman, MD, MEHP | American Board of Surgery
Specialty: Surgery

When Brenessa M. Lindeman, MD, MEHP wants to discuss tracking patient outcomes and resident engagement, she sends a group text to some of the members of her 2018-2019 ABMS Visiting Scholars Program cohort.

“Several of us regularly keep in touch because we made personal connections and we are all working on improving the education and experiences of medical students and residents in the U.S.,” said Dr. Lindeman. “These professionals are some of the most creative and thoughtful people on this topic, so their perspectives are incredibly valuable to me and my work.”

Her Visiting Scholars research project, Entrustment as a Framework for Surgical Resident Assessment, examined entrustable professional activities (EPAs). Along the way, the project morphed and lead to exciting opportunities, including studying the implementation of EPAs as part of a pilot program at her institution, and becoming more involved with her certifying board, the American Board of Surgery (ABS).

“For two years, we collected data that gave us insight into the need for enhanced autonomy in the operating room for surgical trainees and indicated that the EPA framework for assessment was feasible,” said Dr. Lindeman. “That experience provided a foundation for success as chair of the ABS General Surgery EPA Revision Committee, which then brought me to my current six-year term as a member of the ABS Council, where I now serve on the Assessment Committee and as a director of the General Surgery Board.”

Dr. Lindeman was part of the team that recently published, A Phased Approach: The General Surgery Experience Adopting Entrustable Professional Activities in the United States, which details the ABS’ process of choosing the initial set of EPAs and provides a roadmap for other disciplines interested in testing the feasibility of this assessment framework while garnering buy-in among the community of educators. She is an author of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency. Dr. Lindeman also has published on resident physician usage of Electronic Health Record, the trainee’s role in surgical patient safety, disruptive surgeon behavior, and the ideal senior medical student experiences for a general surgery Internship.

Dr. Lindeman calls the ABMS Visiting Scholars Program a “hidden gem,” and credits it with opening her eyes to the possibilities in improving medical education. “The program’s ability to take early-career faculty and broaden their horizons to understand that there is more behind the education and training processes is inspiring. Thanks to the program, I met and reconnected with so many brilliant minds who are making broad, sweeping changes in the field.”

When she is not conducting research into improving medical education or serving as an administrator, Dr. Lindeman is working with patients, which she calls a “privilege.” Her clinical interests include thyroid cancer, benign thyroid disease, hyperparathyroidism, adrenal disease, and surgical treatment of inherited endocrine syndromes.


2018-2019 ABMS Visiting Scholars, from left: Victoria Wurster Ovalle, MD; Brenessa Lindeman, MD, MEHP; Brian George, MD, MA; Kevin Cullison, MD; Caitlin Hicks, MD, MS; and Amy Cizik, PhD, MPH. Not pictured: Rodney Omron, MD, MPH


Dr. Lindeman received her medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and was a general surgery resident at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in endocrine surgery at the Harvard/Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

She served as an Administrative Chief Resident at Hopkins and won both the “Medical Student Teaching” and the “Resident Teaching” awards. She earned a Master of Education in the Health Professions from Johns Hopkins University.

Certified by the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Lindeman is Assistant Professor, Section Chief, and Fellowship Director for Endocrine Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. She is also the Wellness Officer for the Department of Surgery, Program Director of the Endocrine Surgery Fellowship, and the Associate Designated Institutional Official for the Clinical Learning Environment. In addition, she serves as Co-Director of the new Multidisciplinary Endocrine Tumor Clinic, which offers comprehensive and streamlined care for patients with benign or malignant tumors of the endocrine organs.

Read more Scholars Impact stories.

Read more about the Visiting Scholars program.


Read More News from ABMS