Karen Spear Ellinwood, PhD, JD, EdS, BSW

Director, Faculty Instructional Development

Curricular Affairs

Karen Spear Ellinwood, PhD, JD, EdS, BSW, serves as the Director of Faculty Instructional Development and is Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the UA College of Medicine-Tucson. She creates programs for educator development of faculty, fellows and residents, and provides direct services and support for instructional design, as well as conducts workshops on the use of technology for teaching. Dr. Spear Ellinwood practiced law for 13 years before entering the education profession and was a Fiction Fellow in the CUNY Graduate Writers Institute (2010-11). She is currently completing a higher education certificate in flipped learning methodologies through the Flipped Learning Network.

Dr. Spear Ellinwood also serves on all of the Steering Committees for developing and implementing interprofessional activities for the Center for Transformative Interprofessional Healthcare of the UA Health Sciences Center. She creates and contributes to the development of curriculum and facilitator training for activities that focus on students’ development of awareness and reflective practices with respect to interacting with patients with disabilities, concerning patient safety, and for effective team behaviors and communication in circumstances involving emergent medicine and pandemic diseases.

Dr. Spear Ellinwood also designs and conducts workshops on the use of technology for teaching in various settings, including creating programming and durable materials as well as collaborating with other UAHS colleges to support the development and enhancement of technology skills for faculty and office staff. (See, SOS).

Faculty Appointment

Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Education Scholar Non-tenure Track

Committee Service

Dr. Spear Ellinwood serves on the Dean's Council on Faculty Affairs (Chair, 2018-19), and is a member of  Women in Academic Medicine . She also serves on the Steering Committee and as a mentor for medical students in the Medical Education Distinction Track. She also provides support for other educational and policy committees in the College of Medicine.  


Karen Spear Ellinwood is the Director of Faculty Instructional Development, and Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, UA College of Medicine. She practiced law (primarily criminal defense) for 13 years before entering the education profession. Dr. Spear Ellinwood earned her JD from Brooklyn Law School (1986), following a bachelor's degree in Social Work (1982). She earned her PhD in education in 2011, and an Education Specialist (EdS) degree in bilingual education in 2003, from the University of Arizona College of Education. Karen also completed a Fiction Fellowship at CUNY Writers' Institute in 2010-11, and writes fiction and children’s books in her spare time. Dr. Spear Ellinwood currently directs instructional development efforts for the College of Medicine - teaching physicians and science faculty strategies for teaching and how to use technology in classroom and clinical settings. She also conducts education research and assists in developing curriculum for medical students. 

Research and Scholarly Interests

Interprofessional education curriculum and faculty development; Reflective engagement in teaching, active learning and inquiry-based strategies in classroom and clinical settings; medical ethics and the connection with legal and professional standards of practice; metacognitive engagement in clinical problem-solving; development of clinical reasoning and professional identity; formative feedback; development of communication skills for teaching in clinical settings, conveying "bad news"; developmental approach to curriculum development; and the integration of technology to create curricular materials and promote active and reflective engagement in learning; self-regulated learning.

Select Publications

  • Waterbrook A, Spear Ellinwood K, Pritchard TG, Bertels K, Johnson AC, Min A & Stoneking LR. Shadowing Emergency Medicine Residents by Medical Education Specialists to Provide Feedback on Non-Medical Knowledge Based ACGME Sub-Competencies. Advances in Medical Education and Practice 2018:9 307–315.
  • Spear-Ellinwood K. Teaching and Mentoring Trainees and Junior Faculty: Feedback Strategies to Promote Reflective Practice. Continuing Medical Education, The University of Arizona (3 CME Credits) [enduring materials to be offered online at the Virtual Lecture Hall; 2016.  
  • Min AA, Spear-Ellinwood KC, Berman Melissa, Nisson P & Rhodes SM. Social Worker Assessment of Emergency Medicine Residents' Skill at Bad News Delivery: A Novel Direct-Observation Milestone Assessment. Internal and Emergency Medicine. Springer; pp. 1-10; 2016.
  • Reed, Heather MD; Ellinwood, Karen Spear PhD, JD; de Leon, Sonia BS. The Effect of a Front-Loaded Curriculum on Student Preparedness for the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship. Obstetrics & Gynecology: October 2015.
  • Min A, Grall K, Stoneking L & Spear Ellinwood K. Implementation of the Introductory Clinician Development Series: an optional boot camp for Emergency Medicine interns. Advances in Medical Education and Practice; 2014:5, pp. 275—279.
  • Stoneking LR, Grall KH, Min A, Dreifuss B, and Spear Ellinwood KC. Role of an Audience Response System in Didactic Attendance and Assessment. Journal of Graduate Medical Education: June 2014, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 335-337; 2014.
  • Martinez GF, Lisse J, Spear-Ellinwood K, Fain M, Vemulapalli T, Szerlip H, Knox KS. Finding a mentor: the complete examination of an online academic matchmaking tool for physician-faculty. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2014;9(6):320-32. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13175/swjpcc138-14
  • Andrade R, Stevens S, Moll LC, & Spear-Ellinwood KC. Establishing ties: HIV prevention through Facilitation: The case of Mujer Sana – Healthy Woman. In C Grant & L Summerfield (Eds.), Humanizing pedagogy through HIV/AIDs Prevention: Transforming Teacher Knowledge. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; 2005.


Ph. 520.626.1743   Em. kse@medadmin.arizona.edu   Office: Room 3207 in Curricular Affairs

Related Sources

Bio CV  Academia.edu Grand Rounds