“It Feels Like Mission Work”

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

Janet Tillman, who has been a a standardized patient (SP) and gynecological teaching associate (GTA) for decades, shared her wisdom with Stanford 25. Photo courtesy of Janet Tillman.

I wish all the students who work with an SP or GTA would understand and appreciate the value of what we have to offer. I want them to know that we’re committed to supporting their learning, and to benefiting their future patients. It's important for them to ask questions and get our perspective.

March 14, 2023 - By Cassie Myers

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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