32 innovative medical schools, including U of C Pritzker School of Medicine, working to expand AMA’s national initiative to reimagine medical education and ensure future physicians are prepared to practice in rapidly evolving health systems

CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) today convened leaders from 32 innovative medical schools from across the country taking part in its Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium to reshape medical education. The Consortium, which added the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine among its latest round of new schools this year, gathered to continue its work to ensure that future physicians are prepared to care for patients in evolving 21st century health systems.

Leaders from the Chicago-based University of Illinois College of Medicine, which is working alongside the Consortium during their curriculum redesign, also participated in the meeting where they presented the findings of an independent study analyzing the outcomes of the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative. The study examined the value of the innovations underway at the Consortium schools and their potential for adoption by other schools.

“Since launching this effort three years ago, the AMA has led the way in developing bold, innovative ways to improve physician training. We are confident that students will emerge from medical school empowered and better prepared to serve patients,” said AMA CEO James L. Madara, M.D. “We are excited to continue this work with some of the nation’s leading innovators in medical education 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.”

The AMA launched its Accelerating Change in Medical Education Initiative in 2013 — providing $11 million in grants to fund major innovations at 11 of the nation’s medical schools. Together, these schools formed a Consortium that shares best practices with a goal of widely disseminating the new and innovative curricula being developed. The AMA expanded its Consortium earlier this year with grants to an additional 21 schools, including the University of Chicago, to develop new curricula that better align undergraduate medical education with the modern health care system.

The University of Chicago’s new curriculum, VISTA, launched earlier this month, thanks in part to a $75,000 grant from the AMA, with its first class of medical students currently learning about value-based and team-based care. VISTA stands for “value, improvement, safety and team advocates” and aims to help students understand how health systems science improves medical care, a concept that the majority of today’s medical students aren’t taught during medical school.

“We want our students to be engaged members of the health care team, which is critical in today’s complex and evolving health care system,” said Vineet Arora, M.D., assistant dean for scholarship and discovery at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. “The VISTA curriculum will work in tandem with their medical education to provide a core understanding of how the health care system works and how science can improve medical care.”

Under the new curriculum, medical students are being immersed in the health care system from day one of medical school — a unique approach given that medical students typically aren’t introduced into the clinical setting until their third or fourth years. The new curriculum allows first-year medical students to learn first-hand the value of teamwork by shadowing nurses in the clinical environment and participating in activities such as team huddles, intake assessments, and discharge processes with patients. This will not only help students understand the care process from the nurse’s perspective and learn how they perceive their roles with the patient, but will also serve as a model for future interprofessional interaction among students. Additionally, second-year medical students are currently working alongside pharmacy students and residents to learn how to work in teams.

Over the next two days, leaders from each Consortium school will work together to identify the best ways to build upon the projects underway at the 32 schools, awarded AMA grants to accelerate change in medical education and quickly spread these and other innovations. 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.

*Editor’s Note: A summary report was created to highlight the current progress of the founding 11 consortium schools.

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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.