SOURCE: American Medical Association

American Medical Association

September 22, 2014 13:59 ET

AMA Marks Major Milestone in Reshaping Medical Education Nationwide

Leaders From 11 Top Medical Schools Convene at Vanderbilt University to Discuss Next Steps in Preparing Medical Students for Changing Health Care Landscape, as Part of AMA's Accelerating Change in Medical Education Initiative

NASHVILLE, TN--(Marketwired - September 22, 2014) - It's been a year since the American Medical Association (AMA) awarded $11 million to 11 of the nation's top medical schools as part of its ambitious initiative Accelerating Change in Medical Education and today, leaders from each of the selected medical schools convened at Vanderbilt University's School of Medicine to embark on the next phase to help reshape the way medical students are educated in this country.

"There has been a universal call to transform the teaching of medicine to shift the focus of education toward real-world practice and competency assessment, which is why the AMA launched the Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative," said Robert M. Wah, M.D., president, American Medical Association. "The AMA is proud to be leading the charge to answer this call. Over the last year, we have made significant progress in transforming curriculum at these medical schools that can and will help close the gaps that currently exist between how medical students are trained and the way health care is delivered in this country now and in the future."

The 11 medical schools were selected based on their bold and innovative ideas to reshape medical education. To date, many of their plans have been put into action at their respective schools -- including leading-edge educational models that allow medical students to gain experience within the health care system from day one of medical school, new curriculum that give students with prior healthcare experience an opportunity to progress through medical school based on individual competency, classes designed to boost physician leadership and team care skills, and courses that ensure medical students are trained on the use of electronic health records.

The meeting at Vanderbilt is part of the Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative's learning consortium that was established to ensure the 11 selected schools share best practices and ideas for future implementation of their programs in medical schools across the country. Over the next four years, the AMA will continue to track, gather data and report on the progress of the medical schools' collective work in order to identify and widely disseminate the best models for transformative educational change.

Vanderbilt's Curriculum 2.0 has the potential to make a significant impact on medical education through the creation of a curriculum where students will become master adaptive learners embedded in the health care workplace during their first years of medical school. Based on the assumption that the commonly used classroom and clerkship-based curriculum should be more oriented towards one that focuses on lifelong learning. This model allows medical students to assess what they don't know and teaches them how to find the information they need and synthesize it. It also introduces medical students to the clinical setting earlier, which allows them to experience different types of healthcare environments.

"The most important thing is not how much time your doctors spend in medical school but whether or not they've learned what they need to know before they move on to residency," said Bonnie Miller, M.D., senior associate dean for Health Sciences Education at Vanderbilt. "We should allow students to graduate when they have attained a level of competency that ensures patient safety. This is the crux of competency-based education. But the ability to do it well requires a clear definition of what those expected outcomes are, descriptions of how students should look developmentally along the way, and valid and reliable ways of measuring growth in knowledge, skills and attitudes."

"Each school has taken major steps forward to advance their grant projects and, collectively, we have made great strides in moving the needle toward reshaping medical education on a national level," said Susan Skochelak, M.D., M.P.H., AMA Group Vice President for Medical Education. "These efforts will help propel medical education into the 21st century and ultimately improve care and outcomes for patients." 

Other schools that have made great progress are Penn State School of Medicine and Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine (OHSU), both of which have implemented bold new curriculums this fall as part of their five-year grant projects. Penn State's course entitled the Science of Health Systems teaches first year medical students how to practice within health care systems by working as Patient Navigators to help patients and their families navigate through the system. But perhaps one of the most noteworthy curriculums being tested is OHSU's bold new learner-centered, competency-based course that enables medical students to advance through medical school based on their own individualized learning plans, which allows them to track milestones through their own portfolio. This gives some medical students the opportunity to complete medical school in less than four years and will also help students become lifelong learners who can self-assess, adapt, and be better prepared to manage the needs of patients and populations. Each school's grant project can be tracked at

"Through this bold and collaborative effort, the AMA is at the forefront of creating the medical school of the future and ensuring medical students are provided the training needed to become our physicians of the future," said Dr. Skochelak.

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About the AMA
The American Medical Association is the premier national organization dedicated to empowering the nation's physicians to continually provide safer, higher quality, and more efficient care to patients and communities. For more than 165 years the AMA has been unwavering in its commitment to using its unique position and knowledge to shape a healthier future for America.

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