HERSHEY, Penn. — Since announcing the expansion of its Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium last fall, the American Medical Association (AMA) is kicking off the next phase of its work to ensure that future physicians are prepared to care for patients in the rapidly changing 21st century health care environment. The AMA, along with Penn State College of Medicine, convened the now 32 medical school Consortium in Hershey, Penn. this week to further the innovative efforts underway to reshape medical education across the country.

Only a year and a half after launching its new Systems Navigation Curriculum in August 2014 thanks in part to a $1 million grant from the AMA, Penn State’s new curriculum has sparked interest from several medical schools that plan to adopt similar programs, including Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Sophie Davis Biomedical Education/CUNY. Both of these schools are among the 21 schools recently selected to receive AMA funding and join the newly expanded Consortium, based on their proposed projects that will build upon Penn State’s new program aimed at aligning medical education with the health system and immersing students in the local health care system from day one of medical school.

“The AMA has been working with some of the nation’s leading innovators in medical education over the past several years to create the medical school of the future—incorporating the newest technologies, health care reforms and scientific discoveries that continue to alter what physicians need to know to practice in the modern health care system,” said AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D. “As we now continue this work with nearly triple the number of medical schools, we will be able to more quickly bring about the type of significant change that our medical education system needs so that our future physicians can better care for their patients.”

“With the support of the AMA we have been able to bring to our medical students the important study of today’s evolving healthcare system. In addition, we have been able to pair the students’ classroom studies with real-life experiences across our health system. By serving as patient navigators our medical students see healthcare and its challenges not only from the perspective of doctors but also through the patients’ eyes,” said Penn State College of Medicine Vice Dean for Educational Affairs Therese M. Wolpaw, M.D.

Penn State College of Medicine collaborated with its health system leaders to design a new curriculum to meet the needs of the health system. The new program, which embeds first-year medical students working as patient navigators in clinical sites throughout central Pennsylvania, was created to ensure students learn not only the basic and clinical sciences, but also health systems science. This is an important innovation given that the majority of medical students still receive their training in hospital settings despite the fact that the majority of patients are now being cared for in out-patient settings to treat chronic conditions.

“The work we’re doing together with these 32 medical schools will directly impact the way that health care will soon be delivered to patients nationwide,” said Susan E. Skochelak, M.D., M.P.H., AMA Group Vice President for Medical Education. “We will continue to collaborate with even more medical schools, medical education innovators and students to ensure we are taking the right steps to prepare tomorrow’s physicians to be equipped to quickly adapt to the changing health care landscape and make a significant impact on the way health care is delivered in this country.”

Further expanding the reach of the Consortium, the AMA also announced during today’s meeting the winners of its inaugural Medical Education Innovation Challenge, which called on medical students to share their ideas on how they would “turn medical education on its head.” The AMA awarded $10,000 in prizes amongst the following four student-led teams to help foster further innovation in medical education:

  • First Place Team: Amol Utrankar and Jared A. Shenson, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Topic: Open access curriculum exchange
  • Second Place Team: Ludwig Koenecke-Hernandez, Mark Mallozzi, Tim Bober, and Lorenzo Albala, Sidney Kimmel Medical College/Thomas Jefferson University, Topic: Making Health (3-D Printing: The Future of Medicine
  • Third Place Teams (Tie):

    • Anish A. Deshmukh, Matthew S. Neal, Melinda C. Ruberg, and Katherine E. Yared, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Topic: Happy Healers, Healthy Humans
    • Carol Platt, Nicole Paprocki, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Topic: Health Disparities

Information about the four winning teams and their project videos can be found online at www.changemeded.org.

The AMA launched its Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative in 2013 to bridge the gaps that exist between how medical students are trained and how health care is delivered. The AMA has since awarded $12.5 million in grants to 32 of the nation’s leading medical schools, including Penn State, to develop innovative curricula that can ultimately be implemented in medical schools across the country. These innovative models are already supporting training for an estimated 19,000 medical students who will one day care for 33 million patients each year—including an estimated 1,700 medical students in Pennsylvania who will one day care for 3 million patients each year. This work has sparked interest across the medical education community—most recently serving as the model for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s new Pursuing Excellence in Clinical Learning Environments initiative.

*Editor’s Note: A summary report was created to highlight the current progress of the founding 11 consortium schools. Learn more information about the winners of the first-ever AMA Medical Education Innovation Challenge on AMA Wire.

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.