Sigall Bell, MD

Rabkin Fellow in Medical Education/ Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School Fellowship Project: The medical writing initiative: An introduction to academic and reflective writing for 3rd year medical students during a longitudinal clerkship.

Dr. Bell completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 1992, graduating summa cum laude in Molecular and Cell Biology. While at UC Berkeley, she was the recipient of several scholar-athlete awards, a 4-time Academic All-American, an NCAA National Championships gymnast, and a member of the US gymnastics team at the World Maccabiah Games. She earned her MD from Harvard Medical School in 1997, and completed her residency training in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA in 2000. After serving as Chief Medical Resident, she studied at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and contributed to public health and clinical efforts in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Brazil, Israel, and South Africa. She completed her fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 2005.

Dr. Bell is a member of the Division of Infectious Diseases at BIDMC with clinical interests in HIV and tropical medicine. Her academic interests focus on fostering humanism in patient care through the study of medical culture, the patient experience, and improving communication after harmful events. She teaches medical students, residents, and fellows as a ward attending and clinic preceptor, and in several courses at Harvard Medical School. She is the Writing Program Director for Harvard Medical students at BIDMC and is the site director for the BIDMC HMS Patient-Doctor III course. During her Rabkin Fellowship in Medical Education, she developed and implemented a curriculum to explore the relationship between reflective writing and humanism in patient care, and to provide students with an early introduction to academic writing. The resulting program “Reading, Writing, and Reflection: the New ‘3R’s’ of Medical Education” was subsequently supported by the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center.

Among other educational initiatives, Dr Bell has also co-developed a DVD-based curriculum on the human dimension of medical error with her collaborators, using the film “When Things Go Wrong: Voices of Patients and Families.” As a recipient of grants from the Zlinkoff Foundation and the Harvard Risk Management Foundation, she co-developed a “Train the Trainer” program with her collaborators, to help implement curricula on improving the human response to medical error in academic centers across the country. She serves as an expert consultant to the Harvard Risk Management Foundation in the development of educational materials related to medical error and disclosure. Her work in medical education can be found in Academic Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the New York Times.

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