'More Than Just Facts': The Future of Medical Education

Sheri Sellmeyer


December 02, 2016

Another consortium member, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), has developed a competency-based curriculum, in which students advance through individualized learning plans and have "portfolio coaches" who meet with them every 3 weeks throughout their training. A pilot program for dental school graduates allows them to enter the oral and maxillofacial surgery program once they have passed a test on foundational training, rather than repeating that training. In the future, the school could use that model for students who are already proficient in certain skills, such as an Army medic or nurse, to move through programs faster.

"The biggest thing is that we could get students into the workforce sooner," says Dr Tracy Bumsted, associate dean for undergraduate medical education at OHSU School of Medicine. "It also has the added benefit of reducing debt."

The AMA received 118 applications from the country's 141 medical schools when it launched Accelerating Change in Medical Education in 2013. Besides the initial 11 medical schools, the AMA selected 21 additional schools to become consortium members in 2015.

Outside of the consortium, other medical schools have joined the movement to rethink medical training. Before becoming a member of the consortium this year, Harvard University had redesigned its curriculum to require medical students to learn more actively and be involved in clinical rotations earlier in their training.

Whatever happens to healthcare policy under president-elect Donald Trump, physicians will continue to deal with numerous changes that affect how they practice: consolidation of hospitals and physician groups, reimbursement methods that reward preventive measures and outcomes, and team-based care. "How a student can learn to be a good doctor is more than just medical knowledge and facts," says Dr Bumsted. "You need a more holistic picture."


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