Steven J. Durning, M.D., PhD, FACP

Steven J. Durning, M.D., PhD, FACP

Steven Durning

Name: Steven J. Durning, M.D., PhD, FACP

Department of Primary Appointment: Dept. of Medicine
Position: USU Faculty
Title: Professor and Director

Email: (link sends e-mail)
Room: Room A3068

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Citations on Google Scholar


Dr. Durning is a professor of medicine and pathology at the Uniformed Services University (USU) and is the Director of Graduate Programs in Health Professions Education. He received his MD degree from the University of Pittsburgh and he practices general internal medicine. He received his PhD from Maastricht University, which addressed the influence of contextual factors on clinical reasoning. As an educator, mentors graduate students and faculty, teaches in the HPE program and also directs a second year medical school course on clinical reasoning. Dr. Durning holds appointments in the departments of medicine and pathology.

As a researcher, Dr. Durning has been the principal or associate investigator on a number of grants totaling several million dollars. His current research interests include enhancing our understanding of clinical reasoning and its assessment to include unraveling the phenomenon of context specificity and incorporating biologic measures into this empirical work.

Dr. Durning is the co-principal investigator of USU's Long Term Career Outcome Study. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 20 book chapters, and has edited 5 books. Dr. Durning serves on a number of national and international organizations and is the Deputy Editor for Research for Academic Medicine.

Research Interests

Dr. Durning's research interests include clinical reasoning, assessment of individual learners, and program evaluation and educational theory.


  • Director-Clinical Reasoning Course
  • Instructs medical students, residents, and graduate students in areas of expertise
  • Systems Seminar
  • Theory to practice in HPE: Advanced Learning Theories
  • MHPE and PhD in HPE Seminar
  • MHPE and PhD in HPE Practicum

Areas of Expertise

  • Medical specialty in internal medicine
  • Research expertise in clinical reasoning, assessment of individual learners and programs and educational theories

Professional Activities

  • Deputy Editor for Research, Academic Medicine
  • Consultant, Cognitive Assessment, American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Founding Research Committee Chair, AMEE
  • Co-chair, USMLE Introduction to Clinical Medicine, Physical Diagnosis, and Communication Test Material Development Committee

Select Recent Publications

  1. McBee E, Ratcliffe T, Picho K, Schuwirth L, Artino AR Jr, Yepes-Rios AM, Masel J, van der Vleuten C, Durning SJ. Contextual factors and clinical reasoning: differences in diagnostic and therapeutic reasoning in board certified versus resident physicians. BMC Medical Education, 2017;17(1):211.
  2. Artino AR Jr, Phillips AW, Utrankar A, Ta AQ, Durning SJ. "The Questions Shape the Answers": Assessing the Quality of Published Survey Instruments in Health Professions Education Research. Academic Medicine, 2017; [Epub ahead of print].
  3. Sklar DP, Weinstein DF, Carline JD, Durning SJ. Developing Programs That Will Change Health Professions Education and Practice: Principles of Program Evaluation Scholarship. Academic Medicine, 2017;92(11):1503-1505.
  4. Jones AT, Barnhart BJ, Durning SJ, Lipner RS. The Association of Changing Practice Settings on Maintenance of Certification Exam Outcomes: A Comparative Study of General Internists Over Time. Academic Medicine, 2017; [Epub ahead of print].
  5. Torre DM, Durning SJ, Daley BJ. Concept Maps: Definition, Structure, and Scoring. Academic Medicine, 2017; [Epub ahead of print].
  6. Sklar DP, Hemmer PA, Durning SJ. Medical Education and Health Care Delivery: A Call to Better Align Goals and Purposes. Academic Medicine, 2017; [Epub ahead of print].
  7. Lipner RS, Brossman BG, Samonte KM, Durning SJ. Effect of Access to an Electronic Medical Resource on Performance Characteristics of a Certification Examination: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2017;167(5):302-310.
  8. Meyer HS, Durning SJ, Sklar D, Maggio LA. Making the First Cut: An Analysis of Academic Medicine Editors' Reasons for Not Sending Manuscripts Out for External Peer Review. Academic Medicine, 2017; [Epub ahead of print].
  9. Surry LT, Torre D, Durning SJ. Exploring examinee behaviours as validity evidence for multiple-choice question examinations. Medical Education, 2017;51(10):1075-108.
  10. Torre D, Daley BJ, Picho K, Durning SJ. Group concept mapping: An approach to explore group knowledge organization and collaborative learning in senior medical students. Medical Teacher, 2017;39(10):1051-1056.
  11. Gruppen L, Durning SJ. Needles and haystacks: finding funding for medical education research. Academic Medicine, 2016;91:480-484.
  12. Durning SJ, Costanzo M, Beckman T, Artino AR, Roy MJ, Van der Vleuten C, Holmboe ES, Lipner R. Functional neuroimaging correlates of thinking flexibility and knowledge structure in memory: exploring the relationships between clinical reasoning and diagnostic thinking. Medical Teacher, 2016; 38:570-577.
  13. Durning SJ, Dong T, LaRochelle JS, Artino AR, Gilliland WR, DeZee KJ, Saguil A, Cruess DF, Picho K, McManigle JE. The Long-Term Career Outcome Study: Lessons Learned and Implications for Educational Practice. Military Medicine, 2015;180(Suppl):164-170.
  14. McBee E, Ratcliffe T, Picho K, Artino AR, Schuwirth L, Kelly W, Masel J, van der Vleuten C and Durning SJ. Consequences of contextual factors on clinical reasoning in resident physicians. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 2015; 20:1225-36.
  15. Durning SJ, Dong T, Artino AR, van der Vleuten C, and Schuwirth L. Dual process theory and experts’ reasoning: exploring thinking on national multiple-choice questions. Perspectives in Medical Education, 2015;4:168-175.
  16. Durning SJ, Kelly W, Costanzo ME, Artino AR, van der Vleuten C, Beckman TJ, Roy MJ, Holmboe ES, Wittich CW, Schuwirth L. Relationship of Neuroimaging to Typical Sleep Times During a Clinical Reasoning Task: A Pilot Study. Military Medicine, 2015;180(Suppl):129-135.
  17. Durning SJ, Dong T, Hemmer PA, Gilliland WR, Cruess DF, Boulet JR, Pangaro LN. Are Commonly Used Premedical School or Medical School Measures Associated With Board Certification? Military Medicine, 2015;180 (Suppl):18-23.
  18. Harris E, Durning SJ, Holmboe E. A measured approach to enhancing the non-clinical skills of US MDs. Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 2015;7:133.
  19. Durning SJ, Costanzo ME, Artino AR, Graner J, van der Vleuten C, Beckman TJ, Wittich CM, Roy MJ, Holmboe ES, Lipner R, Schuwirth L. Neural basis of non-analytical reasoning expertise during clinical evaluation. Brain and Behavior, 2015;5;1-10.
  20. Durning SJ, Gruppen L. Learning and Instruction: The world inside of the head or the head inside of the world? Medical Education, 2015;49:351-2.
  21. Artino AR, Gilliland WR, Cruess DF, Durning SJ. America’s Medical School: 5,000 Graduates Since the “First Class”. Military Medicine, 2015;180 (Suppl):1-3.
  22. Dong T, Swygert KA, Durning SJ, Saguil A, Gilliland WR, Cruess DF, DeZee K, LaRochelle J, Artino AR. Validity evidence for medical school OSCES: associations with USMLE step examinations. Teaching and Learning in Medicine; 2014; 26(4): 379-86
  23. Durning SJ, Costanzo M, Artino AR, van der Vleuten C, Beckman TJ, Holmboe E, Roy MJ, Schuwirth L. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to improve how we understand, teach and assess clinical reasoning. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 2014;34:84-90.
  24. Durning SJ, Costanzo M, Artino AR, Dyrbye LN, Beckman TJ, Schuwirth L, Holmboe E, Roy MJ, Wittich CM, Lipner RS and van der Vleuten C. Functional neuroimaging correlates of burnout among internal medicine residents and faculty members. Frontiers in Affective Disorders and Psychosomatic Research, 2013;4:131-6.
  25. Durning SJ, Ratcliffe TR, Artino AR, Beckman TJ, Holmboe E, van der Vleuten C, Lipner R, and Schuwirth LT. How Is Clinical Reasoning Developed, Maintained, and Objectively Assessed? Views from Expert Internists and Internal Medicine Interns. Journal of Continuing Education for the Health Professions, 2013; 33:215-23. 
  26. Durning SJ, Artino AR, van der Vleuten C, Schuwirth L. Clarifying assumptions to enhance our understanding and assessment of clinical reasoning. Academic Medicine, 2013;88:442-8.
  27. Durning SJ, Artino AR, Dong T, Cruess D, Gilliland WR, DeZee K, Waechter D, McManigle J. The Long-Term Career Outcome Study (LTCOS): what have we learned from 40 years of military medical education and where should we go? Military Medicine, 2012;177(Suppl.):81-6.
  28. Durning SJ, Artino AR. Situativity theory: A perspective on how participants and the environment can interact. Medical Teacher, 2011;33:188-199.
  29. Durning SJ, Artino Jr AR, Pangaro L, Van der Vleuten CPM, Schuwirth LWT. Context and clinical reasoning: understanding the perspective of the expert’s voice. Medical Education 2011;45:927-38.

Textbook Publications

  1. Holmboe E, Durning SJ, Mosby HR (eds). Practical Guide in the Evaluation of Clinical Competence, 2nd edition. 2018. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
  2. Cleland J, Durning SJ (eds). Researching Medical Education. 2015. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell.
  3. Durning SJ, Carline JD (eds). Review Criteria for Research Manuscripts, 2nd edition. 2015. Washington, DC: Association of American Medical Colleges.
  4. Trowbridge R, Rencic J, Durning SJ (eds). Teaching Clinical Reasoning. 2015. Philadelphia, PA: American College of Physicians.