With five medical schools this year graduating their first classes of students fully trained under a transformative national curricula redesign initiative, the American Medical Association (AMA) is highlighting innovations from recent years that have better trained the next generation of physicians. Launched five years ago, the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium includes 32 of the country’s leading medical schools working together to create the medical school of the future.
The first medical students to graduate after receiving full training using the Consortium’s innovative curricula include, NYU School of Medicine, Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine, the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine, and Penn State College of Medicine. These schools were among the 11 founding medical schools to receive $1 million AMA grants to develop curricula to reimagine medical education and join the AMA Consortium.
The innovations developed and implemented over the past five years by the AMA Consortium include, the AMA’s Health Systems Science textbook, a teaching electronic health record (EHR), competency-based programs, curricula that allow medical students to be totally immersed within the healthcare system from day one of medical school, training in physician leadership, education in team care skills, and curricula aimed at achieving health equity and increasing diversity in the physician workforce.
Many of the students graduating this month were trained using these innovations. For example, students at Penn State College of Medicine are among the first-in-the-nation to graduate with training received through the AMA’s “Health Systems Science” textbook. The textbook was developed by the AMA Consortium to help students learn how to navigate the changing landscape of modern health systems when they enter practice, especially as the nation’s healthcare system moves toward value-based care. The textbook was released in 2016 and is currently being used in 14 medical schools across the country, including seven medical schools that are not part of the AMA consortium.
In addition to the textbook, medical students graduating later this month from Penn State also gained hands-on experience within the health system as the first students to work as patient navigators under their school’s new curriculum. These students were embedded in clinical sites throughout central Pennsylvania during their first year of medical school. The “Systems Navigation Curriculum,” which was developed and implemented by Penn State in August 2014 through its AMA grant, is being used by four other medical schools, including Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Sophie Davis Biomedical Education/CUNY, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
Other recent graduates were trained using the teaching EHR that was developed by IU School of Medicine as part its AMA grant, along with the Regenstrief Institute, to incorporate EHR training into its curriculum so it could be implemented by other medical schools. The platform is currently in use at IU and seven other medical and health professions schools in the U.S. reaching more than 3,000 learners.
The Consortium has also produced competency-based curricula that are allowing students to advance through medical school after successfully mastering defined milestones through their own individualized learning plans, which means some students are graduating sooner with reduced debt. For example, OHSU School of Medicine developed a competency-based program as part of the five-year grant it received through the AMA’s Consortium which has reduced medical student debt by nearly 17 thousand dollars per student since 2015, and allowed nearly 25% of its 2018 graduating class to graduate early.
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 healthcare is delivered in the modern healthcare system. The AMA has since awarded $12.5 million in grants to 32 of the nation’s leading medical schools 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.
The next phase of the AMA Consortium will be announced later this year. Additionally, as part of the AMA’s commitment to improving physician training across the continuum of medical education, the AMA will also soon begin work to ensure that the changes being made to medical school curricula will offer students a seamless transition into residency.