In a major effort to revamp the nation's medical education system, the American Medical Association will award $10 million in competitive grants to medical schools that develop innovative curricula on subjects like team-based care and patient safety.
The goal is to narrow the gap between how physicians are currently trained and the future needs of the U.S. healthcare system. “Rapid changes in healthcare require a transformation in the way we train future physicians,” Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, president of the AMA, said in a news release
. “We hope to find and support proposals to develop innovative new education models that can be duplicated in medical schools across the country.”
The initiative has a fairly rapid timeline
: Schools have until Feb. 15 to send in a letter of intent to participate; between March 4 and 8, the AMA will invite selected schools to submit full proposals, which will be due May 15. Winning projects will be announced no later than July 1 and are scheduled to start Sept. 1.
In an interview, Dr. James Madara, AMA executive vice president and CEO, said that while medical school curriculum is updated all the time, “the structure of that curriculum has been the same for a century.”
While many have expressed a need and desire to change the structure medical school formats, Madara said change is difficult. He added that the resilience of medical students has made it possible to put off this difficult task.
“Part of the reason we hesitate in restructuring is because our medical students are so fabulous, and they can overcome the structure we put them in,” said Madara, a former professor at Harvard Medical School and Emory University School of Medicine and former dean of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine biological sciences division.
The AMA will be providing $2 million annually over the next five years to fund eight to 12 projects. According to the news release, the AMA is looking for projects that will be: Developing new methods for teaching and/or accessing key competencies and fostering methods to develop flexible, individual learning plans; promoting patient safety, performance improvement and patient-centered team-based care; and “enhancing development of professionalism.”
Although the structure of medical education needs to change, one aspect Madara said he would like to keep is the “ability to develop personalized mentoring.”
Madara said the money will come from the AMA operating fund. He added that the initiative is part of the AMA's new three-pronged, five-year strategic plan
that seeks to transform medical education, improve patient outcomes and enhance physician satisfaction and practice sustainability.
He describes these elements as three ideas joined by a common theme of focusing on outcomes and not processes. Also, Madara noted how in recent years the AMA has brought groups together to work on common issues, but now the goal is “not to be an organization that only convenes, but focuses on doing and partnering.”