This Month's News
Podcasts, presentations now available from AMA med ed meeting
Leaders in medical education gathered at a conference in October to explore ideas and innovations to propel the educational system for physicians into the next century of medicine.
Learn more about these ideas via newly posted podcasts of all plenary sessions as well as presentations from the many concurrent seminars that were held during the two-day event.
Part of the AMA's Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative, the conference brought together nearly 200 thought leaders and international experts to discuss new ideas for closing the gap between 20th-century medical education models and 21st-century health care needs.
Among those heading up the conference's discussions were leaders from the 11 schools selected to receive approximately $1 million grants from the AMA for bold, innovative projects that will be executed over the next five years. Each of the schools is participating in an AMA-led consortium that will be identifying best practices and rapidly disseminating these insights to medical schools nationwide.
The future of medical education, and health care, was a common theme throughout the conference, especially in the plenary presentations.
For example, Richard DeMillo, PhD, director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Institute of Technology, spoke of the promise of technology to enhance learning for tomorrow's physicians.
"Technology removes the ‘you can'ts' from higher education," DeMillo said—particularly when those "can'ts" are centered around cost concerns. For example, technology can allow for individualized instruction and lead to wide distribution of high-quality courseware. And it can accommodate a learning experience that is "more aligned with how the brain learns—which has nothing to do with sitting in a lecture hall," he added. (Indeed, advances like Computer Augmented Visualization Environments, or CAVES, and Massive Open Online Courses may represent the future of medical school instruction.)
Other plenary speakers at the conference included:
- George E. Thibault, MD, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, who called for closer alignment of health profession education with public needs
- George Lueddeke, PhD, an international expert in educational development, who outlined some key public health threats and the needed for medicine (and medical education) to respond proactively to these challenges
- Mark E. Quirk, vice president of Medical Education Outcomes at the AMA, who led a joint discussion with representatives of the 11 medical school recipients of the AMA's grant funding initiative.
AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, in describing some elements of what the medical school of the future might look like, admitted that that challenges and intrinsic barriers to change are daunting. Still, he encouraged broad ideas and bold action.
"The question should not be, how about this problem," said Dr. Madara. "The question should be, are these aspirations great enough?"