Osteopathic Colleges Selected to Join AMA Medical Education Consortium


or the first time, colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) have joined the American Medical Association (AMA) as part of its Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium. The Consortium is aimed at transforming undergraduate medical education through new and innovative training and educational models. Of the osteopathic medical schools that applied, A.T. Still University-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA), Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM), and Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM), were selected to join the consortium.

ATSU-SOMA Collaborates with Community

ATSU-SOMA’s innovative project is a total-immersion training model. In partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), ATSU-SOMA students will work at 12 urban and rural community health centers, conducting needs assessments and performing community-based research, quality improvement, or service projects that recognize the local social and economic determinants of health. The program will extend through the second, third, and fourth years of their undergraduate medical education.

Dr. Lewis_ATSU_AMA articleThe principal investigator for this project is Joy H. Lewis, DO, PhD, ATSU-SOMA Professor, Internal Medicine and Public Health Chair, Department of Public Health Director, Practice-Based Research (at left). “As an internist, public health researcher and former Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, I have been gratified by the opportunity to combine primary care and public health training for our students and residents,” says Dr. Lewis. “We can teach trainees to address the many social and economic determinants of health by implementing Community Oriented Primary Care. Students need to know how to be investigators, to ask questions and to listen to patients and their communities. This is active learning at its best.”

Dr. Lewis further elaborated on the project, detailing that, “SOMA’s unique model includes a variety of curricular innovations necessary to implement a fully-accredited, but decentralized curriculum. From its earliest days SOMA focused on working with health care delivery systems in novel ways, and teaching and assessing new content in health care delivery science. Embedding students within care delivery systems enables improved continuity-of-care, development of employment bonds, and deeply-rooted connections to the local community. By working and living in these authentic settings, SOMA students develop a fuller perspective of the challenges patients experience when trying to access healthcare services (e.g., financial, linguistic, cultural, geographic, mobility, etc.) and learn how to actively contribute to improving the health outcomes of vulnerable individuals and populations.”

“SOMA’s curricular requirement to work in teams to design and implement research-based, community-oriented service projects within the CHC delivery system is a novel approach to preparing health care leaders of the future.”

MSUCOM Aims to Foster Culture of Safety

MSUCOM and its Statewide Campus System are introducing pre-doctoral and graduate medical education (GME) curricula to enhance awareness of patient safety and promote patient-safety research within its partner hospitals. This multiyear project includes use of interactive learning platforms, clinician-led didactic sessions, online curricula, and research tool development to meet these goals. Combining these educational approaches across learner levels provides a unique approach to introduce and reinforce core training over time and to evaluate the success of the initiative to improve the culture of safety for patients. As the grant investigators develop and evaluate the project, they’ll have the opportunity to improve their learnings even further through interaction with medical education leaders at the other Consortium schools.

11-2015_MisraSaroj-AMA-consort“The idea here was to create a generation of learners who would come to the clinical world with a baseline understanding of the concepts of patient safety,” said Saroj Misra, DO, Director of Clinical Clerkship Curriculum for MSUCOM, and the grant’s principal investigator ​(at left). “We can then reinforce what they’ve learned and they can go on to increase the number of related resident research projects that are completed around the subject and could ultimately change culture as far as patient safety.”

What are your expectations with this being the first year that the consortium is open to DO schools?
“My perception is that with the AMA’s desire to incorporate osteopathic schools into this process, it’s tacit acknowledgement of the fact that innovation in medical education is a goal and tool for all of medical educators and that it’s not relegated to allopathic schools,” Dr. Misra explained. “It acknowledges that there’s also great innovation in our osteopathic colleges now. The AMA has been savvy in recognizing that osteopathic colleges sit on the forefront of innovation in medical education and that these schools sit on the forefront of making changes that can have major impact.”

What do you think OME has to offer the consortium, and what unique role do you think osteopathic medicine can play in achieving the goals of the initiative and working toward transforming medical education?
When asked, Dr. Misra noted that, “One of the things about osteopathic medicine is that its very nature is innovation. Osteopathic medicine was founded by an allopathic physician who was looking for an innovative approach for caring for patients. That approach has carried into osteopathic medicine for decades. We’ve always been primed to come up with innovative ways to teach, not only things that are considered the basis and foundation of medicine, but also new paradigms and advances in the field in an effort to ensure the highest quality of care in our next generation of physicians.”

OU-HCOM Tackles Transformative Care

OU-HCOM’s project focuses on developing a new osteopathic medical education (OME) value-based care curriculum. Developed in partnership with Cleveland Clinic, this curriculum will be an innovative, competency-based program that integrates primary care delivery and medical education. The new curriculum will build upon and integrate Cleveland Clinic's approach to patient-centered, value-based care, as well as recommendations from "Building the Future: Educating the 21st Century Physician," the 2013 report by the Blue Ribbon Commission for the advancement of osteopathic medical education. The project will be implemented at the Heritage College, Cleveland, under the leadership of principal investigator Isaac Kirstein, DO, dean of the Cleveland campus, beginning in July 2018.

“Our new transformative care curriculum, which we’re developing now, fits nicely into the kind of focus the AMA is looking for on community-based care,” Dr. Kirstein explained. “The basic idea behind the project is to identify students who are committed early on to primary care, and provide them with a seamless learning experience that puts an emphasis on clinical experience from the very beginning, and that flows straight through from undergraduate medical education into practice. We are exploring bringing in new methods of competency-based evaluation. We aim to produce graduates who are board-eligible, practice-ready primary care physicians, competent in population health and medical informatics, who are ready to serve as leaders in the transformation of health care.” The streamlined program calls for these physicians to reach this stage in six years, rather than the traditional seven.

What do you think OME has to offer the consortium, and what unique role do you think osteopathic medicine can play in achieving the goals of the initiative and working toward transforming medical education?
“We are innovating specifically in the area of primary care education, and OME has long played an important role in providing community-based primary care education,” said Dr. Kirstein. “We think that’s a comparative strength that we bring to the table, which can complement the strengths of schools that may have a different focus based on their affiliations with big urban health care complexes.”

Coordinated Change

The Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium partner schools will continue to work synergistically to transform medical education in the following six key areas:

  • Pathways
  • Content
  • Health care delivery
  • Technology
  • Adaptive learning
  • Integrating leadership and teamwork training

Through a competitive grant process, schools were selected from among 170 eligible U.S. medical schools by a national advisory panel, which sought proposals that would significantly redesign medical education. With the added schools, the now 32-school consortium will support training for an estimated 18,000 medical students who will one day care for 31 million patients each year.

For more information, visit the AMA website.

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November 2015