AMA: Accelerating change in medical education

Today’s medical students will care for tomorrow’s patients, and future physicians need to be prepared to thrive in a rapidly changing health care environment. Future physicians will need to be able to navigate new and increasingly complicated health information technologies, understand and use advances in personalized medicine and many will need to know how to lead accountable care organizations.

Gaps between how physicians are trained and the future needs of health care exist and must be narrowed. Many schools have begun innovative programs to advance medical education. Many more have conceptualized initiatives but lack the time or resources to implement them. In keeping with the American Medical Association’s (AMA) historic leadership in all levels of physician education, our aim is to identify and develop innovative new education models that can be duplicated in medical schools throughout the country.

As part of the “Accelerating Change in Medical Education” program, the AMA is launching a $10 million initiative to help medical schools develop innovations that will prepare students to meet the future needs of a rapidly evolving health care system. The aim of this initiative is to facilitate bold change by providing $10 million over the next five years to fund 8-10 projects that support a significant redesign of undergraduate medical education.

We are seeking to attract and support bold, rigorously evaluated innovations that align medical student training with the evolving needs of patients, communities and the changing health care environment. Specifically, we are looking for creative ideas to enhance education in a number of critical ways. These include developing new methods for teaching and assessing key competencies; fostering flexible, individualized learning plans; promoting methods to achieve patient safety, performance improvement and team based care; and improving understanding of the health care system and financing.

Interested medical schools are invited to submit brief proposal ideas by February 15. From the initial pool of proposals, the AMA will invite a select group of medical schools to submit a full proposal by May 15 and will conduct a thorough review of all materials before announcing the selected schools at its Annual meeting in June 2013.

We’ll also form a learning consortium so that participating schools can share best practices and structural innovations. Ultimately, our goal is to showcase successful innovations and promote their adoption in medical schools nationwide.

In the months ahead, we look forward to working with medical schools to launch innovations to prepare the medical students of today to better care for the patients of tomorrow.

Jeremy Lazarus is President, American Medical Association.

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