The medical school of the future: A year of groundbreaking work

AMA Wire
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The path to preparing the ideal future physician is becoming clearer after a year of developing and implementing innovative ideas for training medical students. Take a look back at how the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative made strides toward creating the medical school of the future during 2014.

Competency-based education

In April, the 11 schools that make up the consortium met at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, marking the initiative’s move from planning to execution. The group spent its time talking about the challenges that come with implementing competency-based education and got its first glimpse of how crucial other stages of medical education will be to implementing changes at the undergraduate medical education level.

Competency-based education allows more learner flexibility, but assessment and timing are difficult. For example, how would the Match have to change? The consortium is currently tackling these important issues.

Interprofessional education

There’s no question that future physicians will need to be good leaders in delivering team-based care. To ensure relevant skills, schools are working through how to train students to effectively work in teams with other health care professionals. At the April meeting, consortium schools shared how they are developing workshops and programs that give medical students learning time alongside  nursing, social work, pharmacy and public health students. 

Master adaptive learning

The consortium knows the future health care system will continue to evolve, but how far the changes will extend is still unknown. Beyond teaching students clinical skills, academic physicians have to teach how to be skilled learners. With access to so much information and data, physicians of tomorrow will need to know how to find and sort through the correct information to deliver the best patient care.

At the September meeting at Vanderbilt University Medical School in Nashville, the consortium schools discussed different ways to train these “master adaptive learners,” including having students continually assess their own skill levels and teaching them how to self-regulate and self-reflect on their knowledge.

Health disparities

One way to reduce health care disparities is to ensure the health care workforce is as diverse as the patient population it serves, and medical schools are starting to take this into consideration as they compose their student bodies. At a Google Hangout in October, academic physicians and students from some of the consortium schools, plus participants from other medical schools, shared their real-world solutions to tackle health disparities and improve diversity.


Simulations, learning portfolios, mobile apps and other technology available to medical students and physicians are evolving at an extraordinarily rapid pace. The consortium schools are working through how to effectively use the best technology to train tomorrow’s physicians and help students learn to choose the right technology. During a December meeting at the University of Texas at Austin, a selection of consortium schools shared their technology projects, opening the door for more medical schools to undertake similar innovations.

Looking forward

In 2015, the Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative is focusing on one major thing: Spread. The consortium wants to involve more medical schools, graduate medical education, continuing medical education and even colleges with pre-med curriculum. Focusing on this “continuum” of medical education will help train physicians who are even better prepared for the future health care system.

The group also will continue to leverage new education models and technology to advance the vision of the medical school of the future.

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is the implication that present physicians are not competent?
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