“It Feels Like Mission Work”

Janet Tillman on Her Life as a Standardized Patient and Gynecological Teaching Associate

Written by Cassie Myers

Janet Tillman, who has been a a standardized patient (SP) and gynecological teaching associate (GTA) for decades, shares her wisdom. Photo courtesy of Janet Tillman.

I love knowing that the students are motivated to learn and I get to help them," Janet says. "None of us are meant to learn things by ourselves.

When you start speaking with Janet Tillman, you immediately understand why she got involved in education. She has a warmth that comes across even on the phone, and an immediate, wonderful compassion and intelligence.  Janet has led an adventurous life, and education has often been at its core. As a standardized patient (SP) and gynecological teaching associate (GTA), Janet has played the role of patient thousands of times over the years, helping medical students learn how to conduct breast and pelvic exams as well as master other basic skills including patient interaction, diagnoses, and more.

And as a GTA and standardized patient for our very own Stanford 25, she’s been instrumental in teaching hundreds of Stanford medical students, helping them get the experience and feedback that they need to become fully-fledged doctors. She retired from GTA work in 2016 but still works regularly with Stanford as a standardized patient. I spoke with Janet about her life and work. 

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