This profile is part of a series designed to highlight the importance and impact of the hospital’s teaching mission and the work of the MGH Executive Committee on Teaching & Education (ECOTE). James “Kimo” Takayesu, MD, is the departmental simulation officer and assistant residency director in Emergency Medicine.

What do you enjoy about teaching? What makes you most proud of your work as an educator?

I love the interaction and engagement of teaching. I love being able to demystify concepts and – perhaps most importantly – break down the power dynamic between teacher and learner. We can all learn from each other in many different ways, and each of us has our own expertise. Creating an egalitarian relationship in a learning situation, recognizing that we have all been novices at something sometime, fuels the ability to transfer knowledge and create the open atmosphere that is necessary to incite change. As an educator, I am most proud of integrating simulation into emergency medicine training at the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency at MGH/Brigham and Women’s Hospital, based on the Kolb learning cycle. Now, 14 years after starting that process, I am proud to see that a new generation of educators is challenging the assumptions of that curriculum to create new curricula and novel methods to train in emergency medicine.

Share a magical teaching moment. What did it look like when you saw the “spark of understanding” and/or witnessed the growth?

The greatest value as an educator is hearing from your learners when they see and experience real-life encounters that challenge their knowledge and skills. My most magical moment as an educator was when – after designing and implementing an airway assessment curriculum for our senior residents – one of the recent graduates thanked me for a case they had successfully managed on the overnight shift involving a difficult airway scenario that we had trained on. It is rare that educators are able to see the fruition of their efforts. This was one of those moments that affirmed my passion for creating high value educational interventions for our emergency medicine residents.

In the spirit of lifelong learning, what was something new you learned in the past week? How did it make you feel to learn something new?

I have the great privilege of working at a teaching hospital that is full of residents and students who are much brighter than I am. I learn something every single day I come to work. I often describe my role as a supervising attending as a silent observer, commenting on clinical care only when I need to ensure safe and efficient patient care. However, while observing and supervising, I learn a great deal from our incredibly bright residents, consultants and colleagues on the different services here at MGH. This past week, I learned about a cervical plexus block that can be used for headache. This was brought to me by a resident who questioned whether they could use this in the management of a patient with intractable migraine. More than a decade out of training, it is now time for me to learn from the rising generation of clinicians as much as I supervise them.

What do you wish everyone knew about education at MGH? Why is MGH’s commitment to education important?

Education is explicitly valued at MGH, which is the main reason why I have stayed here for the past 14 years and will continue to do so. Having a commitment to education ensures that the next generation of clinicians will practice high-quality medicine and question past assumptions in seeking future innovations. I can think of no better environment that has the unique combination of patient complexity and volume, student and resident aptitude, and depth of clinical expertise. This, combined with a commitment for educating our peers and our patients, creates an environment that is unique. I feel truly privileged to work and teach here.

To nominate learners or educators – from any profession and at any career stage – email Andrea Paciello, executive director of Teaching & Education, at

This article was originally published in the 07/21/17 Hotline issue.