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Choosing the medical education grant winners “was no easy task,” said AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD. “The quality of proposals reminded us that America's medical schools are a seemingly boundless source of constructive, smart, innovative ideas.” Photo by Ted Grudzinski / AMA

11 medical schools earn AMA grants for education innovation

Physicians and educators hope the $11 million initiative will spark nationwide curriculum changes to better prepare future doctors for leadership roles in team-based care.

By — Posted June 15, 2013

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The American Medical Association has announced the 11 medical schools that each won $1 million, five-year grants to reshape medical education by focusing more on patient safety, quality improvement, team-based care and competency-based assessment that can allow students to graduate in less than four years.

“We do this for the benefit of our patients, our profession, the country's health care system and the health of the nation,” AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, said in revealing the winners of the $11 million initiative at the opening reception of the Association's Annual Meeting on June 14.

The winners, selected by a nationwide advisory panel, are medical schools from across the country. They are:

  • Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.
  • Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.
  • Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn.
  • New York University School of Medicine in New York.
  • Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine in Portland.
  • Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey.
  • University of California, Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento.
  • University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.
  • University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.
  • Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn.
  • Warren Alpert Brown Medical School of Brown University in Providence, R.I.

While each school presented a unique proposal, there are some common themes. Oregon Health & Science University, UC Davis, UCSF and Vanderbilt will base student advancement on tests of competency and individualized learning plans rather than the traditional time-based model of four years and out. At UC Davis, for example, students can enroll in a competency-based primary care track that will enable them to complete their medical school and and graduate medical education in six years, as opposed to the traditional seven.

The AMA funding will help UC Davis speed the training of students who know they want to pursue primary care, said Tonya Fancher, MD, associate professor of medicine at the school and principal investigator for the grant.


“My guess is that we’ll look back at this and say this was an important point in the history of the next wave of medical education change,” said Rajesh A. Mangrulkar, MD, associate dean for medical education at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. The medical school earned a $1 million grant for its proposal to teach medical students the skills they will need to assume leadership roles in health systems. Photo by Ted Grudzinski / AMA

“The need for generalists is greater today than ever before and is expected to grow as health care reform is implemented. We applaud the AMA for being a catalyst in addressing this critical need,” Dr. Fancher said.

Coordinated care from day one

Another commonality among the grant winners are plans to embed medical students within the health system as soon as possible, as opposed to waiting until the third-year clerkship to thrust students into clinical rotations. At Penn State, for example, students will work in hospitals, nursing facilities and other areas and serve as patient navigators.

Meanwhile, NYU and Indiana University will create virtual electronic health records using deidentified patient data to help students master the systems that are becoming the norm in practice to better manage population health. At the University of Michigan, students will be trained in how to assume leadership roles and carry out quality improvement and management changes.

The AMA grant will help execute a long-overdue transformation of U.S. medical education, said Rajesh Mangrulkar, MD, associate dean for medical student education at the University of Michigan Medical School.

“We need to bring medical education into the 21st century,” Dr. Mangrulkar said. “Our new curriculum will ensure we produce doctors who will be ready to lead changes in different aspects of health care that will have an impact on patients and their communities.”

Eighty-two percent of the nation's 141 accredited medical schools — 119 in all — outlined grant proposals in February. The field was narrowed to 28 in March, and those schools entered their final proposals in May. The winning schools will take part in a learning consortium that will meet at least twice annually to share best practices and lessons learned.

The AMA effort to transform medical education is part of the Association's strategic direction announced in June 2012.

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External links

Details about the medical school grant proposals that won AMA funding (link)

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