AMA Awards $1M to UCSF to Transform Physician Training

By Jeffrey Norris

The UCSF School of Medicine is one of 11 medical schools that’s been selected by the American Medical Association (AMA) to receive $1 million over five years to develop and implement innovative curricula around the best medical practices.

American Medical Association (AMA)

Bridges to High Quality Health Care Curriculum

The 11 grants were selected from among 119 proposals submitted, representing more than 80 percent of eligible medical schools nationwide. 

The $1 million will be issued through the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative, the association announced Friday.

“We are excited that the AMA has recognized the importance of UCSF's vision for a curriculum designed to prepare graduates who are experts in providing patient-centered care, as well as in working collaboratively within interprofessional systems to continuously improve the quality, safety and equity of health care for all,” said Catherine Lucey, MD, vice dean for education at the UCSF School of Medicine.

UCSF’s proposal, “Bridges to High Quality Health Care Curriculum,” seeks to create the “collaboratively expert physician,” one who embraces the responsibility to work within interprofessional teams to continually improve the safety, quality and value of health care.

Lucey and Mark Laret, CEO of the UCSF Medical Center, are leading the UCSF curriculum development.

The UCSF medical school curriculum will be explicitly designed so that students will actively contribute to the continual improvement of health care systems, as they learn the competencies needed to provide care for patients and patient populations, according to Lucey.

“We are committed to designing this curriculum so that our students, from the time they begin medical school, are prepared to add value to the clinical sites in which they are learning,” she said.

Entering students will be embedded in clinical environments in which they will advance initiatives that aim to improve care and outcomes. Long-term assignments will ensure that students have sufficient time to build relationships with diverse professionals and patients. Students will be evaluated for core competencies using assessment systems that will enable trainees to complete these requirements more quickly.

“We are grateful for the support of our partner health care systems, who already provide clinical education for our students and who have enthusiastically endorsed this new vision,” Lucey said. “We are working closely with UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland Medical Center.” 

The UCSF curriculum redesign, which began in May 2012, is currently in the planning phase and will be fully implemented by 2016 for all medical students. There have been several pilot projects, including one in which students were taught process mapping and assigned to find ways to improve access in an endocrinology clinic.

A critical component of the AMA’s initiative will be to establish a learning consortium with the selected schools, to rapidly disseminate best practices to other medical and health-professional schools.

This video explains UCSF's vision for the Bridges to High Quality Health Care Curriculum.

In announcing the awards, AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, said, “We are thrilled to award funding to 11 medical schools for their bold, transformative proposals designed to close the gaps between how medical students are trained and how health care is delivered. This AMA initiative will identify specific changes in medical education that can be applied in medical schools throughout the nation to enable students to thrive in a changing health care environment and to improve the health of our nation’s patients.”

Schools that competed for the awards submitted letters of intent outlining their proposals in February. Twenty-eight individual schools and three collaborative groups of schools were then selected to submit full proposals in March. A national advisory panel worked with the AMA to select the final 11 schools.

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