This Month's News
Med schools push forward with competency-based programs
Physician educators made strides in redesigning medical education this week during a special consortium meeting at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where 11 AMA grant recipients discussed how they're moving from planning stages to execution.
Representatives from the 11 medical schools that received grants from the AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative gathered in Michigan to delve deep into innovations in medical education, including competency-based assessment, online courses open to students across different schools, real-time and virtual health care systems in education, and quality and safety education.
"We spent the first tenth of our existence forming," said Mark Quirk, EdD, vice president of medical education outcomes at the AMA. "Trust was a big factor, and getting to know people. Now, we're deciding what problems we're really supposed to solve and working to achieve consensus on the solutions."
And consortium schools are taking steps to solve these problems. The University of Michigan Medical School has implemented pilot programs for interprofessional education, such as pairing medical students with nursing and social work students to learn how to break bad news to patients. At Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, a real-time educational health care system allows students to get immediate reports on their own progress and assessments.
The University of California San Francisco School of Medicine is identifying different ways to build entrustable professional activities – competency milestones defined by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education – into a model curriculum that allows students to move through their education at their own pace.
"If these are the things we want to teach, do we have the faculty to teach it? And what are we going to do to prepare our faculty for this new world?" said George Thibault, MD, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and special guest at the meeting. "That's pretty uncomfortable, but it's something we have to take on."
The consortium is finding the complexity of developing flexible progression through medical school is greater than anticipated, and figuring out a way to advance through the curriculum based on competency, rather than time, has been difficult. Attendees spent a lot of time discussing how to best approach this objective.
"To achieve flexible progression within the walls of undergraduate medical education, we need to speak the same language as graduate medical education," said Darcy Reed, MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs at Mayo Medical School. "We need to make the learning opportunities flexible, and leverage technology like blended learning and online opportunities."
To that end, schools are working to correct disconnects between undergraduate and graduate medical education. For example, the University of California Davis School of Medicine makes students active participants in ambulatory care settings, immediately placing new students in clinics to promote seamless integration between their medical education and entry into clinical practice.
As consortium schools continue to implement solutions, schools will share materials, tools and ideas with one another. Once refined as best practices, the consortium will disseminate these solutions to medical schools across the country.