Academic Physicians

2019 APS Interim Meeting highlights

AMA policy review, educational sessions and networking opportunities with academic physician colleagues were part of the Academic Physicians Section (APS) meeting, Nov. 15-16 in San Diego.

Participants—comprising deans and faculty from a wide range of medical schools, graduate medical education programs and academic health systems nationwide—voiced their opinions and reached decisions on recommendations for reports and resolutions to be acted upon by delegates at the Interim Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates (HOD), Nov. 16-19. Their work guides the section delegate and alternate delegate in the discussions and voting during the AMA meeting.

Issues covered included key topics of interest to academic physicians and those in medical education, including:

  • Health care finance in the medical school curriculum
  • Establishment of a two-interval, or pass/fail, grading system of non-clinical curriculum in medical schools
  • Strengthening standards for LGBTQ medical education
  • Issues with the residency match
  • Ensuring access to safe and quality care for our veterans
  • Expediting entry of qualified international medical graduate physicians to practice in the U.S.

In all, the APS reviewed more than 20 business items to go before the AMA HOD.

Educational sessions

The education component of the meeting featured three options of special interest to academic physicians, which offered the opportunity for physicians to earn continuing medical education credits:

  • “The power and promise of Project ECHO to enhance patient care through empowered learner communities”
  • “Recruiting, retaining, ‘retraining’ and rewarding community physicians”
  • “Update on ABMS Continuing Board Certification”

Project ECHO, or Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes, is a mechanism for both bringing care to the underserved as well as enhancing medical education across the continuum. Lead faculty for the session were:

  • Lisa Ayoub-Rodriguez, MD, assistant professor at Texas Tech Health Science Center El Paso, and hospitalist at El Paso Children’s Hospital and division chief of pediatric hospital medicine
  • Ron Stock, MD, clinical innovation advisor to the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network at Oregon Health & Sciences University, where he is accountable for development of the Oregon ECHO Network. He is also clinical associate professor of family medicine at OHSU.

For the session on the “4 Rs” of community physician preceptors/faculty, cosponsored by the Senior Physicians Section, APS members heard on three different education models, in Florida, Virginia, and Texas, respectively, from the following presenters:

  • Alma Littles, MD, senior associate dean for medical education and academic affairs at Florida State University College of Medicine, and APS alternate delegate
  • Cynda Ann Johnson, MD, founding dean emerita at Virginia Tech Carilion, and APS liaison to the Council on Medical Education
  • Jose Manuel de la Rosa, MD, vice president for outreach and community engagement and professor of pediatrics at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in El Paso, and APS chair

The third CME session, “Update on ABMS Continuing Board Certification,” was cosponsored by the Council on Medical Education and Young Physicians Section.

In his presentation, lead faculty Richard Hawkins, MD, president and chief executive officer of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), made note of the “anger, frustration and fear” around Maintenance of Certification (MOC) and the work of the ABMS to address these concerns.

He was joined on the dais by a reactor panel of three physicians, including Dr. Cynda Ann Johnson:

  • Christie Morgan, MD, past chair, Young Physicians Section, and chair, ABMS Professionalism Task Force
  • Cynthia Jumper, MD, a member of the Council on Medical Education, member of the ABMS Vision Commission, and chair of the ABMS Stakeholder Council

The reactors applauded the work of the AMA and its HOD to craft policy to guide many of the changes described by Dr. Hawkins, along with working to convene key stakeholders to improve the relevance and convenience of continuing certification for physicians and “add value before we add burden,” as Dr. Hawkins noted.

In addition, Liana Puscas, MD, chair of the Council on Medical Education nominations committee, presented on opportunities for service on national medical education organizations. These are listed on the council website.

Update on the AMA’s work to accelerate change in medical education

In 2019, the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education consortium entered a new phase of growth, expanding from an undergraduate medical education perspective into graduate medical education. APS members heard an update on the association’s work to foment innovation in medical education, featuring Susan Skochelak, MD, MPH, the AMA’s chief academic officer, along with Khanh-Van T. Le-Bucklin, MD, vice dean for medical education at the University of California, Irvine, a member school of the consortium.

Dr. Skochelak described the release of publications and products highlighted the consortium’s role in disseminating medical education innovations nationwide, including a webinar series and online discussion forums. She also covered the wide-ranging work of the newest consortium members in the graduate medical education space, focused on such issues as addressing underserved populations, ensuring medical students’ readiness for residency, and inculcating the critical competencies of interprofessional education into the residency curriculum. In her presentation, Dr. Le-Bucklin provided insight into the work of UC Irvine to address the unfortunate impacts of the hidden curriculum and medical student mistreatment.

Election of new governing council member, and 2020 call for nominations

Due to the election of Sharon Douglas, MD, to the AMA Council on Medical Education in June 2019, the APS had a vacancy for an at-large member position on its governing council, the section’s nine-member leadership body. After a call for nominations and review of applicants, the nominations committee put forward for election during the meeting Mark Meyer, MD, associate dean for student affairs at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Dr. Meyer assumed office upon his election on Nov. 16, and serves the remainder of Dr. Douglas’s term, through June 2020.

In January, APS nominations will again be open, to include the following positions beginning in June 2020:

  • Chair-elect
  • Delegate
  • Alternate delegate
  • At-large member (three total)

APS members are invited to apply for nomination and/or nominate fellow APS members for these roles. A call for nominations will be issued in January.

Reflections on the 2019 Interim Meeting

The APS meeting was led by Dr. de la Rosa, in his role as APS chair. Reflecting on the event, Dr. de la Rosa said, “Having the opportunity to lead this important arm of AMA policy, representing my fellow academic physicians and medical educators nationwide, is both professionally and personally fulfilling on many levels. As evidenced by our engaging and interactive continuing medical education sessions at this meeting, and our partnerships with fellow AMA sections, including our young physician and senior physician colleagues, the APS continues to demonstrate its pivotal role in providing educational value to our AMA. Our APS looks forward to supporting community-based medical faculty members by exploring ways to provide the ‘4 Rs’ (recruiting, retaining, retraining, and rewarding) of community engagement to all AMA medical school faculty who chose to join our section. We will no doubt build upon our proud legacy in 2020 and beyond.”

Next AMA-APS meeting

The next meeting of the APS is June 5-6 in Chicago.