Tracy Rydel is Clinical Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine where she holds the positions of Assistant Dean for Clerkship Education and Director, Core Clerkship in Family and Community Medicine. She has also served as the Director of Medical Student Education in the Division of Primary Care and Population Health, and was an Educator-4-CARE faculty from 2017-2020. She is a family physician with a passion for medical education. She completed the Rathmann Family Foundation Fellowship in Patient-centered Care and Medical Education in 2012, is part of the Peer Coaching Program under the Stanford Teaching and Mentoring Academy, and was the Director of the Practice of Medicine Year One Course at Stanford from 2013-2016. She emphasizes patient-centered care in the pursuit of clinical and educational excellence. She is frequently an invited presenter at the national conferences of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM), and the Western Group on Educational Affairs (WGEA) regional group of the AAMC; her scholarly work focuses on medical education endeavors, including the scrutiny of systems of medical education assessment for racial/ethnic- and gender-based disparities. She has also presented on topics in nutrition education and the teaching kitchen, working with medical scribes, Entrustable Professional Activities, primary care career recruitment and mentoring, procedures training, time management in ambulatory teaching, communication skills, virtual health and telehealth, and learning communities.

Clinical Focus

  • Family Medicine
  • Medical student education
  • Integrative/Holistic Medicine

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Assistant Dean for Clerkship Education, Stanford School of Medicine (2020 - Present)
  • Associate Director, Medical Student Education, Division of Primary Care and Population Health, Department of Medicine (2020 - 2022)
  • Director, Core Clerkship, Family and Community Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine (2010 - Present)

Honors & Awards

  • Excellence in Mentoring Award, Stanford COMET (Clinical Observation and Medical Transcription) Scribe Fellowship (2020)
  • Award for the Excellence in Promotion of the Learning Environment and Student Wellness, Stanford University MD Program (2019)
  • Division of Primary Care and Population Health Teacher of the Year, Stanford Department of Medicine (2018)
  • Arthur L. Bloomfield Award in Recognition of Excellence in the Teaching of Clinical Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine (2014)
  • Rathmann Family Foundation Fellowship, Rathmann Family Foundation Educators-4-CARE Medical Education Fellowship in Patient-Centered Care (2012-2013)
  • Arthur L Bloomfield Award in Recognition of Excellence in the Teaching of Clinical Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine (2010)
  • General Internal Medicine Division Teaching Award, Family & Community Medicine, Department of Medicine, Stanford Hospital and Clinics (2010)
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Stanford University Medical Student Education (2008)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, Committee on Performance, Professionalism and Promotion (CP3) (2018 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Fellowship, University of Arizona, Program in Integrative Medicine (2010)
  • Board Certification: American Board of Family Medicine, Family Medicine (2007)
  • Residency: UCSF-Graduate Medical Education (2007) CA
  • Medical Education: Temple University School of Medicine (2004) PA

2023-24 Courses

All Publications

  • Teaching transgender cultural competency with standardised patients MEDICAL EDUCATION Mukund, A. X., Jia, J. L., Nedelman, M., Rydel, T. A., Bajra, R., Srinivasan, M., Schillinger, E., Laniakea, B. H. 2024

    View details for DOI 10.1111/medu.15325

    View details for Web of Science ID 001161460300001

    View details for PubMedID 38348701

  • Training future clinicians in telehealth competencies: outcomes of a telehealth curriculum and teleOSCEs at an academic medical center. Frontiers in medicine Bajra, R., Srinivasan, M., Torres, E. C., Rydel, T., Schillinger, E. 2023; 10: 1222181


    This study describes the program and learning outcomes of a telehealth skills curriculum based on the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) telehealth competencies for clerkship-level medical students.A total of 133 third- and fourth-year medical students in a required family medicine clerkship at Stanford University School of Medicine participated in a telehealth curriculum, including a telehealth workshop, site-specific telehealth clinical encounters, and telemedicine objective structured clinical examinations (teleOSCEs) between July 2020 and August 2021. Their workshop communication and physical examination competencies were assessed in two teleOSCEs utilizing a novel telehealth assessment tool. Students' attitudes, skills, and self-efficacy were assessed through voluntary pre-clerkship, post-workshop, and post-OSCE surveys.Most learners reported low confidence in their telehealth physical examinations [n = 79, mean = 1.6 (scale 0-5, 5 = very confident, SD = 1.0)], which improved post-workshop [n = 69, 3.3 (0.9), p < 0.001]; almost all (97%, 70/72) felt the workshop prepared them to see patients in the clinic. In formative OSCEs, learners demonstrated appropriate "webside manner" (communication scores 94-99%, four items) but did not confirm confidentiality (21%) or review limitations of the visit (35%). In a low back pain OSCE, most learners assessed pain location (90%) and range of motion (87%); nearly half (48%) omitted strength testing.Our telehealth curriculum demonstrated that telehealth competencies can be taught and assessed in medical student education. Improvement in self-efficacy scores suggests that an 80-min workshop can prepare students to see patients in the clinical setting. Assessment of OSCE data informs opportunities for growth for further development in the curriculum, including addressing visit limitations and confidentiality in telehealth visits.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fmed.2023.1222181

    View details for PubMedID 37849494

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10577422

  • Hands Off Yet All In: A Virtual Clerkship Pilot in the Ambulatory Setting During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges Rydel, T. A., Bajra, R., Schillinger, E. 2021


    PROBLEM: There is a paucity of guidance regarding implementation of telemedicine curricula at the clerkship level, particularly with students actively engaged in video and telephone encounters. The COVID-19 pandemic caused rapid shifts in the delivery of medical education to clerkship-level students. This article describes the successful pilot of a direct patient care, virtual health curriculum at the clerkship level and discusses lessons learned.APPROACH: All 18 preceptors and 5 students at Stanford University School of Medicine, California, enrolled in the required 4-week family medicine clerkship in April 2020 were connected as virtual partners via a commercial video platform. The combined use of both this video program and Epic electronic health record (EHR) software as modes for teaching and patient care led to technical challenges and logistical hurdles. As part of an iterative process, clerkship leadership identified problems via preceptor and student interviews and integrated that feedback in order to create a model for delivering high-quality, clerkship-level clinical instruction during the COVID-19 shelter in place order.OUTCOMES: Of those who completed an evaluation, the majority of preceptors (n = 16; 89%) and students (n = 4; 100%, 1 student did not respond) expressed satisfaction with the virtual, remote teaching model conducted over 37 clinic visits. A detailed 14-step process list resulted from identifying and addressing both audio and video technical challenges and is provided for use by other institutions that wish to implement this workflow.NEXT STEPS: Future directions include assessing patient perspectives on the involvement of students in virtual visits, soliciting patient input for a more robust patient-physician-student virtual experience, and integrating a multi-party platform, when available, via the EHR to afford greater student autonomy.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/ACM.0000000000004127

    View details for PubMedID 33883401

  • Balancing Forces: Medical Students' Reflections on Professionalism Challenges and Professional Identity Formation. Family medicine Maitra, A. n., Lin, S. n., Rydel, T. A., Schillinger, E. n. 2021; 53 (3): 200–206


    Professionalism is essential in medical education, yet how it is embodied through medical students' lived experiences remains elusive. Little research exists on how students perceive professionalism and the barriers they encounter. This study examines attitudes toward professionalism through students' written reflections.Family medicine clerkship students at Stanford University School of Medicine answered the following prompt: "Log a patient encounter in which you experienced a professionalism challenge or improvement opportunity." We collected and analyzed free-text responses for content and themes using a grounded theory approach.One hundred responses from 106 students generated a total of 168 codes; 13 themes emerged across four domains: challenging patients, interpersonal interactions, self-awareness, and health care team dynamics. The three most frequently occurring themes were interacting with emotional patients, managing expectations in the encounter, and navigating the trainee role.Medical students view professionalism as a balance of forces. While many students conceived of professionalism in relation to patient encounters, they also described how professionalism manifests in inner qualities as well as in health systems. Interpersonal challenges related to communication and agenda-setting are predominant. Systems challenges include not being seen as the "real doctor" and being shaped by team behaviors through the hidden curriculum. Our findings highlight salient professionalism challenges and identity conflicts for medical students and suggest potential educational strategies such as intentional coaching and role-modeling by faculty. Overall, students' reflections broaden our understanding of professional identity formation in medical training.

    View details for DOI 10.22454/FamMed.2021.128713

    View details for PubMedID 33723818

  • Entice With Procedures, Inspire With Primary Care: A Preclerkship Pipeline Course. PRiMER (Leawood, Kan.) Lin, C., Zheng, J., Shivakumar, V., Schillinger, E., Rydel, T. A., Montacute, T. 2021; 5: 22


    Background and Objectives: The growing demand for primary care clinicians in the United States continues to outstrip their dwindling supply. Many allopathic medical schools, including Stanford University School of Medicine, are not adequately meeting this shortage. We sought to develop a preclerkship elective to increase the visibility and desirability of primary care at our institution.Methods: A novel 9-week preclerkship elective titled "Primary Care Defined: Perspectives and Procedures," was designed as a series of procedural workshops followed by interactive sessions with local primary care clinicians. A total of 36 medical and physician assistant students were enrolled. We administered a questionnaire pre- and postcourse to evaluate the impact of the elective on learner interest and attitudes toward primary care.Results: Twenty-four enrolled and 10 nonenrolled learners completed the questionnaire both pre- and postcourse. A one-way analysis of covariance controlling for gender, program (medical doctor versus physician assistant), and precourse responses demonstrated that enrollees had a significantly increased interest in primary care compared to nonenrollees after the course (F 1,32=9.22, P=.005). Enrollees also more positively rated their attitudes toward compensation, scope of practice, and job fulfillment than nonenrollees. Both groups had high levels of agreement on statements concerning patient-physician interactions and the importance of primary care to the health care system.Conclusion: The design and content of this elective offers a framework for other institutions looking to promote the value of primary care specialties, particularly family medicine. Creating opportunities for experiential learning and early student-faculty engagement may encourage preclerkship learners to consider a career in primary care.

    View details for DOI 10.22454/PRiMER.2021.782026

    View details for PubMedID 34286225

  • The First, Comprehensive, Open-Source Culinary Medicine Curriculum for Health Professional Training Programs: A Global Reach AMERICAN JOURNAL OF LIFESTYLE MEDICINE Hauser, M. E., Nordgren, J. R., Adam, M., Gardner, C. D., Rydel, T., Bever, A. M., Steinberg, E. 2020; 14 (4): 369–73
  • Rethinking empathy decline: results from an OSCE. The clinical teacher Teng, V. C., Nguyen, C., Hall, K. T., Rydel, T., Sattler, A., Schillinger, E., Weinlander, E., Lin, S. 2017


    The phenomenon of empathy decline among medical students during training is widely accepted, with evidence based largely on studies using self-administered instruments. Recently, researchers have called into question this phenomenon, in light of new findings that suggest a discrepancy between self-administered empathy scores and observed empathic behaviours: for example, during objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs). Our objective was to compare observed empathy among medical students in different clerkship years using an OSCE.Participants were medical students in their first or second year of clinical clerkships, enrolled in a required family medicine clerkship at Stanford University. Participants completed an OSCE that was directly observed by trained faculty staff, who used the Measure of Patient-Centered Communication (MPCC) instrument to measure empathic behaviours. Statistics were used to determine correlations between observed empathy and the students' year of clerkship, gender, and specialty preference.A total of 129 medical students, evenly divided by gender and clerkship year, participated. There was a possible trend towards higher MPCC scores among students in their second clerkship year compared with students in their first year (p = 0.09), which became more significant when adjusted for outlier effects (p = 0.05). There was no difference in performance by gender. Students interested in a 'people-oriented' specialty scored higher in 'handling the patient's frustration' compared with those who are interested in a 'technology-oriented' specialty.In our study, observed empathic behaviours were not lower in the second compared with the first year of clerkship training. More research is warranted to investigate the apparent discrepancy between self-administered empathy scores and observed empathic behaviours. New findings suggest a discrepancy between self-administered empathy scores and observed empathic behaviours.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/tct.12608

    View details for PubMedID 28164429

  • Impact of Scribes on Physician Satisfaction, Patient Satisfaction, and Charting Efficiency: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Annals of family medicine Gidwani, R. n., Nguyen, C. n., Kofoed, A. n., Carragee, C. n., Rydel, T. n., Nelligan, I. n., Sattler, A. n., Mahoney, M. n., Lin, S. n. 2017; 15 (5): 427–33


    Scribes are increasingly being used in clinical practice despite a lack of high-quality evidence regarding their effects. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of medical scribes on physician satisfaction, patient satisfaction, and charting efficiency.We conducted a randomized controlled trial in which physicians in an academic family medicine clinic were randomized to 1 week with a scribe then 1 week without a scribe for the course of 1 year. Scribes drafted all relevant documentation, which was reviewed by the physician before attestation and signing. In encounters without a scribe, the physician performed all charting duties. Our outcomes were physician satisfaction, measured by a 5-item instrument that included physicians' perceptions of chart quality and chart accuracy; patient satisfaction, measured by a 6-item instrument; and charting efficiency, measured by time to chart close.Scribes improved all aspects of physician satisfaction, including overall satisfaction with clinic (OR = 10.75), having enough face time with patients (OR = 3.71), time spent charting (OR = 86.09), chart quality (OR = 7.25), and chart accuracy (OR = 4.61) (all P values <.001). Scribes had no effect on patient satisfaction. Scribes increased the proportion of charts that were closed within 48 hours (OR =1.18, P =.028).To our knowledge, we have conducted the first randomized controlled trial of scribes. We found that scribes produced significant improvements in overall physician satisfaction, satisfaction with chart quality and accuracy, and charting efficiency without detracting from patient satisfaction. Scribes appear to be a promising strategy to improve health care efficiency and reduce physician burnout.

    View details for PubMedID 28893812

  • Granule neurons generated during development extend divergent axon collaterals to hippocampal area CA3 JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE NEUROLOGY Hastings, N. B., Seth, M. I., Tanapat, P., Rydel, T. A., Gould, E. 2002; 452 (4): 324–33


    Most excitatory intrahippocampal pathways are characterized by significant, highly ordered projections into the long, or septotemporal, hippocampal axis. However, the mossy fiber system, the excitatory projection by which the dentate gyrus projects to hippocampal area CA3, is considered an exception, being organized to innervate exclusively transversely oriented cortical layers of the hippocampus. In the present study, the anatomy of the rat mossy fiber system was investigated using axonal tracing techniques, with an emphasis on determining its projection pattern into the long hippocampal axis. To this end, we used dual ipsilateral retrograde tracer injections to determine whether individual granule cells extend divergent axon collaterals to septotemporally distinct levels of hippocampal area CA3. We combined this technique with the fluorescent immunohistochemical detection of 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU), a marker of granule cell precursors and their progeny, to address whether the divergence of mossy fiber collaterals within area CA3 might by related to ontogenic gradients in granule cell genesis. We observed single granule neurons that had retrogradely transported both tracers, indicating that they had axon collaterals passing through or terminating within the distinct levels of area CA3 into which tracer had been injected. By using BrdU labeling, we identified divergent granule neurons that were produced during embryonic and postnatal development. We observed no adult-generated granule neurons with significantly diverging mossy fiber collaterals. However, many fewer cells were labeled with BrdU in adult-exposed animals. Because of this smaller sample, we cannot rule out the possibility that small numbers of divergent adult-generated granule cells exist. We conclude that a proportion of the hippocampal mossy fiber projection extends septotemporally divergent axon collaterals to hippocampal area CA3.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/cne.10386

    View details for Web of Science ID 000178392400002

    View details for PubMedID 12355416

  • Exposure to fox odor inhibits cell proliferation in the hippocampus of adult rats via an adrenal hormone-dependent mechanism JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE NEUROLOGY Tanapat, P., Hastings, N. B., Rydel, T. A., Galea, L. A., Gould, E. 2001; 437 (4): 496–504


    To determine whether exposure to fox odor alters granule neuron production, we examined proliferating cells and their progeny in the dentate gyrus of adult male rats exposed to trimethyl thiazoline, a component of fox feces. Additionally, to determine whether this effect is adrenal hormone-mediated, we examined animals exposed to fox odor after bilateral adrenalectomy and replacement with low levels of the endogenous glucocorticoid corticosterone. Stereologic analyses of the number of 5-bromo-2'deoxyuridine (BrdU) -labeled cells revealed that exposure to fox odor but not other, nonthreatening, odors (mint or orange) rapidly decreased the number of proliferating cells in the dentate gyrus. This effect is dependent on a stress-induced rise in adrenal hormones; exposure to fox odor resulted in an increase in circulating corticosterone levels and prevention of this increase (by means of adrenalectomy plus low-dose corticosterone replacement) eliminated the suppression of cell proliferation. Examination at longer survival times revealed that the decrease in the number of new granule cells in fox odor-exposed animals was transient; a difference was still detectable at 1 week after BrdU labeling but not at 3 weeks. In both fox and sham odor-exposed animals, many new cells acquired morphologic and biochemical characteristics of mature granule neurons. The majority of these cells expressed a marker of immature granule neurons (TuJ1) by 1 week after BrdU labeling and markers of mature granule neurons (calbindin, NeuN) by 3 weeks after labeling. These findings suggest that stressful experiences rapidly diminish cell proliferation by increasing adrenal hormone levels, resulting in a transient decrease in the number of adult-generated immature granule neurons.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/cne.1297

    View details for Web of Science ID 000170256900008

    View details for PubMedID 11503148

  • Neurogenesis in the adult is involved in the formation of trace memories NATURE Shors, T. J., Miesegaes, G., Beylin, A., Zhao, M. R., Rydel, T., Gould, E. 2001; 410 (6826): 372–76


    The vertebrate brain continues to produce new neurons throughout life. In the rat hippocampus, several thousand are produced each day, many of which die within weeks. Associative learning can enhance their survival; however, until now it was unknown whether new neurons are involved in memory formation. Here we show that a substantial reduction in the number of newly generated neurons in the adult rat impairs hippocampal-dependent trace conditioning, a task in which an animal must associate stimuli that are separated in time. A similar reduction did not affect learning when the same stimuli are not separated in time, a task that is hippocampal-independent. The reduction in neurogenesis did not induce death of mature hippocampal neurons or permanently alter neurophysiological properties of the CA1 region, such as long-term potentiation. Moreover, recovery of cell production was associated with the ability to acquire trace memories. These results indicate that newly generated neurons in the adult are not only affected by the formation of a hippocampal-dependent memory, but also participate in it.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/35066584

    View details for Web of Science ID 000167464100052

    View details for PubMedID 11268214

  • Regulation of hippocampal neurogenesis in adulthood BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY Gould, E., Tanapat, P., Rydel, T., Hastings, N. 2000; 48 (8): 715–20


    A substantial number of new granule neurons are produced in the dentate gyrus in adulthood in a variety of mammalian species, including humans. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the production and survival of new hippocampal neurons can be enhanced or diminished by hormones and experience. Steroid hormones of the ovaries and adrenal glands have been shown to modulate the production of immature neurons by affecting the proliferation of granule cell precursors. Aversive experiences have been demonstrated to decrease the production of immature granule cells, whereas enriching experiences, including learning, have been shown to enhance the survival of new hippocampal cells. These studies indicate that adult-generated neurons represent a unique form of structural plasticity that can be regulated by the environment, and furthermore suggest that new neurons play an important role in hippocampal function.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/S0006-3223(00)01021-0

    View details for Web of Science ID 000165056200002

    View details for PubMedID 11063968

  • One Year of Family Physicians' Observations on Working with Medical Scribes. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine : JABFM Sattler, A. n., Rydel, T. n., Nguyen, C. n., Lin, S. n. ; 31 (1): 49–56


    The immense clerical burden felt by physicians is one of the leading causes of burnout. Scribes are increasingly being used to help alleviate this burden, yet few published studies investigate how scribes affect physicians' daily work, attitudes and behaviors, and relationships with patients and the workplace.Using a longitudinal observational design, data were collected, over 1 year, from 4 physicians working with 2 scribes at a single academic family medicine practice. Physician experience was measured by open-ended written reflections requested after each 4-hour clinic session. A data-driven codebook was generated using a constant comparative method with grounded theory approach.A total of 361 physician reflections were completed, yielding 150 distinct excerpts; 289 codes were assigned. The 11 themes that emerged were further categorized under 4 domains. The most frequently recurring domain was clinic operations, which comprised 51.6% of the codes. Joy of practice, quality of care, and patient experience comprised 22.1%, 16.3%, and 10.0% of the codes, respectively.Our study suggests that integrating scribes into a primary care clinic can produce positive outcomes that go beyond reducing clerical burden for physicians. Scribes may benefit patient experience, quality of care, clinic operations, and joy of practice.

    View details for PubMedID 29330239