As medical school enrollment begins to surge, medical schools must begin to close the widening gap between how students are trained and the future needs of the nation’s health care system. Through its “Accelerating Changes in Medical Education” initiative, the American Medical Association (AMA) is already taking a step forward to close this gap by investing $10 million in innovative ideas designed to align medical student training with the quickly changing health care landscape. The following 11 recipient medical schools were selected for their bold, ground-breaking projects designed to alter medical education in a very big way

New Dual Degree Program

The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Thanks to the grant award the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University will receive from the AMA, the school will move forward with its plans for a new dual -degree program in medicine and population health. The novel MD/ScM program will help develop physicians who, with training focused on public health, can be future leaders in community-based primary care. “The goal is to educate a new type of physician leader with a primary care background and the skills to promote the health of the population they serve,” said Dr. Phil Gruppuso, associate dean for medical education. “The course of study will emphasize teamwork and leadership, population science, and behavioral and social medicine.” According to the school’s website, the funds will be used for planning, piloting, creating an admissions process, and evaluation.

Enhanced Systems Based Learning Curriculum

Penn State College of Medicine

With plans to implement a new component in its medical education curriculum in which students will serve as “patient navigators” it’s no wonder Penn State College of Medicine was among those chosen for this award recognizing and supporting innovation. The school will use its award to create Systems Based Learning, a new component of their curriculum. According to the school’s website, this new addition will allow students to serve patients in a meaningful way during their education, preparing them to work within all aspects of the nation’s evolving health care system. Penn State COM was the only school in Pennsylvania to receive the AMA grant and says the grant will position the school as one of the nation’s innovators in medical education. “As one of the nation’s leading integrated health systems, Penn State Hershey is in an excellent position to teach medical students how to provide excellent care while also helping their patients better understand and navigate a rapidly changing health care system,” said Dr. Harold L. Paz, CEO of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Hershey Health System, Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs and dean of Penn Stat College of Medicine. “Ultimately, this will prepare our students to be better clinicians as well as effective leaders ready to develop innovative solutions for improving the quality, efficiency and accessibility of care.”

Curriculum 2.0

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Designed to coach students how to become life-long learners, Vanderbilt School of Medicine’s Curriculum 2.0 may have been exactly what the AMA envisioned in what the future of medical education should look like. From introducing students to a clinical site in the second month of medical school to self-assessments, personalized learning plans, faculty coaching, and curricular flexibility, Vanderbilt School of Medicine’s Curriculum 2.0 “represents the departure from a highly regarded, but traditional medical school curriculum to a complex, integrated, collaborative and flexible course schedule that includes less traditional lecture and more clinical and case-based experience.” The school will use its grant money to support changes within its Curriculum 2.0, as well as pay for enhancements in the school’s informatics infrastructure supporting student learning. “This is a validation that Curriculum 2.0 represents some of the most exciting and innovative ideas for medical education,” said Bonnie Miller, M.D., senior associate dean for Health Sciences Education. “It is just what the AMA is looking for. Through its grant, the AMA hopes to disseminate best practice to medical educators throughout the nation. We believe this funding and collaboration will allow us to accelerate the changes we hope to bring about with Curriculum 2.0, and to rigorously evaluate the curriculum’s effectiveness.”

From Flexner to Flexible

University of Michigan Medical School

With a new curriculum that will put medical students in front of patients earlier in their training, the University of Michigan Medical School is creating a way for students to build skills while working with patients and other health care professionals. Furthermore, the school plans to place a lot of attention on helping students develop leadership skills and their professional identity. According to the school’s press release announcing the award, the proposal continues the school’s long tradition of emphasizing accountability throughout the learning process, and strong training in the scientific underpinnings of human disease and also adds greater flexibility in how students will progress and choose to focus on certain areas. “We need to bring medical education into the 21st century, where data-driven, team-based health care, grounded in science and quality, and informed by ethical, social and patient-centric factors, is the norm,” said Rajesh Mangrulkar, M.D., associate dean for medical student education, associate professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Education, and Principal Investigator of the proposal. “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.”

New Comprehensive Core Curriculum

The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University

The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University will receive funding to train its students under a new comprehensive core curriculum in patient safety and clinical quality improvement. As with other innovative approaches, ECU will feature integration with other health-related disciplines to foster interprofessional skills and prepare students to successfully lead health care teams as part of the transformation. “Our medical schools today not only have the imperative to teach the art and science of medical care, but to train our graduates how to work in, and improve, complex health systems,” said Dr. Elizabeth Baxley, senior associate dean for academic affairs and professor of family medicine in the Brody School of Medicine. “Preparing students to work in teams with other health professionals is a hallmark of the needed changes, as is a better understanding of the ‘health’ of a community and how we can positively impact that.” The grant will also be used to fund training for faculty members who will be tasked with teaching the new program. Faculty will work to engage students more actively in their own education through various strategies, including but not limited to, e-learning, simulation, problem-based learning, clinical skills training and targeted clinical experiences.

Integrated Care Coordination and Analysis Curriculum

New York University School of Medicine

Through the combined efforts of NYU’s Division of Education Informatics and NYU Langone Medical Center’s Clinical Integrated Network (CIN), NYU School of Medicine plans to roll out its new Integrated Care Coordination and Analysis Curriculum (CCAC) as soon as next year. According to the press release announcing its grant award, the CCAC project will feature innovative technology solutions and CIN’s collection of clinical practice data for the creation of a new program that will allow students to manage an authentic panel of patients within the CIN. “Our hope is that this robust curriculum will prepare our graduates to meet the future needs of the ever evolving healthcare delivery system by giving them the tools and skills necessary to care for not just an individual patient, but for an entire population of patients,” said Marc Triola, M.D., associate dean for education informatics, assistant professor of medicine, director, Division of Educational Informatics at NYU School of Medicine, who is the principal investigator for the CCAC initiative. Using what they call, ePortfolio, students will be tested and evaluated to measure their progress, serving as a way to integrate a variety of data, including computer-based exams, simulation center performance, clinical evaluations, and patient logs.

Bridges Curriculum

University of California – San Francisco School of Medicine

In an effort to “reboot” the medical school curriculum, the University of California San Francisco is transforming physician training through its Bridges Curriculum. Preparing students to contribute more than clinical expertise, the school hopes to will train students to collaboratively and continuously innovate to improve the country’s health care and biomedical discovery systems. The school says they will provide “authentic workplace learning experiences that leverage the talents and commitment of students to improve health today while sustaining these skills in future practice.” “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, M.D., vice dean for education at the UCSF School of Medicine.

M.D. Curriculum Transformation

Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine

In 2012, Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine was ahead of the game when it launched its Curriculum Transformation initiative, which will now be amplified and accelerated thanks to funding from the AMA grant. Through the initiative, the school is looking to answer the question: What will society need from physicians and health care professionals over the next 20 to 30 years? “Transforming medical education is essential to maintaining and enhancing education excellence at OHSU, and to contributing to the evolution of Oregon and the nation’s health care landscape,” said Dean Mark Richardson. “The physician of the future will require different skills as we move into a new era in which genetics, health care reform and technology will exert strong influences on the future health care landscape.” Some of the school’s guiding principles behind its innovative curriculum include acknowledging the different learning styles among students, emphasizing student-centered instruction, active learning over passive learning, and application and synthesis of knowledge in critical reasoning over memorization.

Accelerated Competency-Based Education in Primary Care Program

University of California Davis School of Medicine

Focused on an elite group of medical students committed to careers in primary care, the University of California Davis School of Medicine’s innovative training comes in the form of an unconventional program called the Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care (ACEPC). The program, which will be funded through the AMA’s grant award, keeps students for three years, including training and education during the summer. Through the program’s partnership with Kaiser Permanente, students will have the opportunity to gain clinical experiences, gaining immediate and valuable exposure to patient-centered clinical practice. Additionally, students learn patient-focused communication, population health, chronic disease management, quality improvement, team-based care and preventive health, emphasizing providing care to diverse and undersreved patients. “ACE-PC is an intensive, integrated, current approach to education for a subset of highly motivated students who know what medical specialty they want to pursue,” said Tonya Fancher, UC Davis associate professor of internal medicine and principal investigator for the grant. “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.”

New Second Degree Option

Mayo Medical School

To speed change in medical education, Mayo Medical School has created a new model for undergraduate education that gives students the option of completing a master’s degree in the science of health care delivery as they earn Mayo medical degrees. In collaboration with Arizona State University (ASU), Mayo will expand its reach to the Phoenix metro area. “The health care landscape is changing so quickly, and we need to ensure that medical education keeps pace,” said Michele Halyard, M.D., vice dean of Mayo Medical School. “We are eager and ready to implement the transformative changes needed, such as the science of health care delivery degree, with ASU to respond to the future needs of patients.” According to the school’s website, the master’s degrees components include social and behavioral determinants of health, health care policy, health economics, management science, biomedical informatics, systems engineering and value principles of health care.

Virtual Health Care System Curriculum

Indiana University School of Medicine

To prepare students for practice in a changing care delivery system, Indiana University School of Medicine will introduce its novel virtual health system curriculum, utilizing a teaching version of an electronic medical record that incorporates actual patient data – with identifying information removed. The school hopes that its innovative approach to training students will provide the realistic environment needed to develop clinical decision-making skills. In addition, students will have the opportunity to monitor health care decisions and costs, compare their decisions to those of practicing physicians and to their peers, and learn how huge quantities of data and genomic information are changing the way health care is delivered. “It’s critical that students learn about how systems of care delivery affect the health of their patients and about how patient and social factors impact both health and disease,” said Dr. Gusic, Dolores and John Read Professor of Medical Education and professor of pediatrics. “Importantly, this proposal meets our institutional mission to advance health in the state of Indiana and beyond by promoting excellence in education and patient care.”