At the University of Missouri School of Medicine, patient-centered care is our highest priority. In recognition that many of our best and most memorable teachers are our patients, we created the Legacy Teachers™ program to celebrate and recognize our patients’ contributions to our lifelong learning and development.

Each year, third-year medical students are invited to participate in the program by reflecting on patients who have had a lasting impact on their ability to provide patient-centered care. Students submit essays, artwork or poetry describing patients who stands out as especially important to their growth as physicians.

Participating patients and their families are called Legacy Teachers because they have taught important lessons to a physician-in-training that will last the physician’s practice lifetime and positively affect future patients, creating a powerful legacy for generations to come.

Participating patients and students are recognized at an annual luncheon that attracts hundreds of supporters. Our luncheon dates are set for March 27 in Springfield and April 26 in Columbia.

The Columbia Luncheon Celebration took place Friday, April 26, 2024

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Recognize a patient or family as a Legacy Teacher

Submission Guidelines

Your submission should be about a patient you have directly cared for as a third-year medical student. Essays, poems and artwork are all acceptable. Emphasize how the experience affected you and the lessons you were taught, using medical details only to illustrate the lessons learned. You might want to describe:

  • A patient who changed you and helped make you a better future physician;
  • A patient who taught you to listen deeply and to understand his or her experience;
  • A patient who showed you the crucial roles of comfort and compassion, the importance of good communication, or the vital role of family and caregivers;
  • A patient you will never ever forget, whose lessons will always be a part of who you are; or
  • A patient who taught you the most about yourself as an individual and as a future physician.

Essays should be two to three pages long. Please use a pseudonym for your patient. For poems and artwork, please include a one-page description explaining what your patient taught you. Please submit your essays here on or before February 19, 2024.

Previous Legacy Teachers share stories about being recognized by the medical student who treated them in a video shown at the luncheon.

Watch them tell their stories