Perspectives

A Word From the President

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Core Competencies and the Heart of Learning

by Darrell G. Kirch, MD, AAMC President and CEO
As a medical school dean, I always enjoyed the month of September. First-year medical students gather on campus, full of excitement and ready to begin their medical careers. Medical students further along in their training are returning from summers spent conducting research, working in a clinical environment, or studying for the USMLE Step 1 exam. They will be sharing their real-world experiences and connecting what they learned over the summer with their work in the classroom and the clinic in the coming year.
 
Today, the realities of medical practice and the rapid advancement of science require medical education to focus much more on developing practical skills and competencies. When I was a medical student, I was responsible for memorizing—not to mention retaining—as many facts as possible about the basic sciences, disease, and best practices in care. Most of my examination questions were based on that retention of facts. But with the explosion of scientific knowledge, medical students can no longer learn everything they will need to know in four years for a lifetime of practice.

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Viewpoints

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Training Future Physicians to Address Opioid Criss

by  Robert J. Sokol, MD, President, and Kevin Kunz, MD, Executive Vice President of the Addiction Medicine Foundation

The country is struggling to reverse the devastating opioid epidemic, which has its roots in many places and requires a collective response across multiple sectors. For their part, medical schools and teaching hospitals are actively working to address the crisis in their communities. But to be maximally effective, we must ensure these efforts go beyond academic medicine’s traditional commitment to increasing knowledge and finding best practices we can “import” to our own environments. We must ensure we are translating that knowledge into real change in the community.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Humanism Increasingly Important in a Changing Health Care Landscape

by Richard I. Levin, MD, President and CEO of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation

As the academic medicine community faces new demands, maintaining a human connection with our patients is more crucial than ever.

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Back in 2003, researchers surveyed thousands of medical residents on cross-cultural care, attempting to tease out a clearer picture of the residents’ ability to practice medicine in ways that could eventually narrow health disparities.

The results, published in 2005 in JAMA, found that while nearly all respondents believed it was important to address cultural issues in care delivery, fewer than half felt well prepared to treat patients from diverse cultures, underserved populations or different socioeconomic classes, and racial and ethnic minority groups. The findings “set the stage” for developing a disparities-focused curriculum for graduate medical education (GME) that was practical, actionable, and discipline specific, said Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH, one of the study’s authors.

“It’s important that medical students get a good foundation in this topic,” said Betancourt, director of the Disparities Solution Center and multicultural education at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston. “But as a med student, it’s still fairly theoretical. It’s in the GME space that you develop habits and behaviors, and that’s why it’s essential that we really embed this in resident education.”

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Academic Medicine in the News

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Study of Genetic Causes of Mental Illness

Javier I. Escobar, MD, associate dean for global health and professor of psychiatry and family medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is examining the relationship between genetics and behavioral disorders. Escobar's research focuses on the Paisa population, native to northwest Colombia where he grew up. The Paisa community is considered a "genetic isolate" and has higher than average suicide rates.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

SimCentral Cuts Ribbon on New Amarillo Building

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo, Texas, has opened a new SimCentral building, which will assist in training students from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and other health professions, with the goal of improving patient safety, promoting precise teamwork, and saving lives. The facility will include space for teaching clinical simulations, classrooms, and space for staff and equipment.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Headed in the Wrong Direction, for the Right Reasons

Pat Conroy, director for safety and environment of care at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, headed to Florida as part of a support effort to assist during and immediately after Hurricane Irma, along with a Colorado emergency preparedness team.

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