Dr. Helen Shields received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biological Sciences from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts and her medical degree from Tufts University Medical School. She completed her internship and first year residency in internal medicine at the Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. She was a Senior Resident and then Chief Resident in Medicine at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Shields next completed her fellowship in Gastroenterology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was recruited to the Division of Gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine in Washington University and Barnes Hospital in St. Louis from 1977 to 1983. Dr. Shields was than recruited to the Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School in February, 1983.
In 2010, Dr. Shields was promoted to Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is the first faculty member at Harvard Medical School to be promoted to Full Professor on the Teaching and Educational Leadership Track and the first woman in the field of Gastroenterology at Harvard Medical School to reach Full Professor.
Dr. Shields is Associate Master of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Society, one of the five Harvard Medical School Student Societies. She has served as Director for the past eighteen years of the Second-Year Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology Course at Harvard Medical School. Helen Shields has won multiple teaching awards including the Harvard Medical School Prize for Excellence in Teaching in both 1999 and 2008, the S. Robert Stone Award for Excellence in Teaching and Clinical Medicine in 2003, and the Best Pre-Clinical Instructor Award at Harvard Medical School from the Graduating Classes of 2004 and 2007.
Dr. Shields is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American Gastroenterological Association. Dr. Shields was elected in January 2010 as the American Gastroenterological Association’s Councilor for Education and Training, a Governing Board position. In May 2011, she was awarded the Distinguished Educator Award by the American Gastroenterological Association.
The Johns Hopkins University Press recently published Dr. Shields’ single author book on successful teaching entitled “A Medical Teacher’s Manual for Success” in 2011.
Dr. Shields’ primary teaching interests focus on an innovative faculty development program that uses key Harvard Business School teaching strategies in case-based tutorials and a faculty development program that trains teachers in cross-cultural care. She has also published on the importance of using medical students in the creation of curricular materials for cross-cultural care educational sessions in medical school. She is a member of the Cross-Cultural Care Committee at Harvard Medical School.