March 29, 2013

AMA: $20M in Grants for Med Schools to Create Education Innovation

The American Medical Association (AMA) will offer medical schools $20 million in grants to develop innovation in education. The schools must submit proposals by May 15, 2013. By July 1, the AMA will announce the winners of the grant program, which begins on September 1, just in time for the new academic year.

On January 17, AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, described the program with these comments:
Today, a gap exists between physician training and the day-to-day realities of the evolving and emerging health care system. The AMA wants to change that and lower barriers for engagement. We want to bring schools together to foster and accelerate the kind of bold changes that will help you not only succeed, but thrive in the evolving health care environment. 
In recent posts, I’ve discussed the the shifting roles of medical professionals as the healthcare environment evolves (i.e., “gets more complicated”):
Those are all big questions, and it seems absolutely right that the AMA is pro-actively urging med schools to create new ideas for a new time… and then funding the “winning” efforts, presumably to create blueprints other schools can follow.

The grant program competition to retool med school education is just part of the AMA’s five-year plan announced in 2012. Other focus areas include improving health outcomes (always a priority, it would seem) and enhancing doctors satisfaction through improved healthcare delivery and payment models.

To help prospective entrants to the grant program competition, the AMA supplied these three examples of innovative approaches it’s looking for:

Individualized, flexible learning plans
  • Allow students to progress through variable timelines, including advanced placement for core knowledge and skills already achieved before matriculation.
  • Replace fixed rotations through clinical clerkships with variable experiences tailored to students’ career selections.
  • Streamline core curricular content to allow for new content in areas such as genomics, decision support and population management.
Improve knowledge of the health care system and financing
  • Partner with health care systems actively involved in performance improvement and population management to develop experiential, longitudinal-learning opportunities for students.
  • Offer students the opportunity to manage patients through electronic simulation of patient panels or participate in quality improvement projects supported by the health care delivery partner.
  • Assign medical students clinical homes for ongoing longitudinal experiences.
Optimized learning environments
  • Address formal and informal aspects of the learning environment to foster relationship building, facilitate reflection and support the inculcation of professional values and ideals.
  • Have mentors guide experiential learning and collaborate in defining the expected outcomes, pace and direction of the student’s learning.
  • Identify the essential learning outcomes and have mentors give feedback that supports longitudinal acquisition and demonstration of professional values and behaviors.
Interested to learn more about the AMA's five-year plan? Click here.

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