Creating a new model for medical education

East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine is embarking on a new initiative made possible with a $1 million grant from the American Medical Association’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative.

“We are thrilled that the AMA has selected Brody as one of 11 medical schools in the country to receive funding to support an innovative curriculum that will help shape the future of medical education and improve the health of our patients,”  said Dr. Luan Lawson, assistant dean of academic affairs and assistant professor of emergency medicine, who is a co-principal investigator on the grant. “These innovative, comprehensive and systematic curricular changes will ensure our graduates are prepared with the skills necessary to provide high quality care and improved health for our region,”

As a leader in preparing students for primary care and practicing in underserved areas, Brody School of Medicine and the ECU Division of Health Sciences is poised to create and test new models of medical education. Since the creation of the medical school at  in 1977, ECU has focused on producing primary care physicians, meeting the health needs of our region, and offering physician training to students from non-traditional, diverse backgrounds. We have been engaged in curriculum revision to ensure our graduates are equipped with the new competencies needed to provide safe, patient-centered care.

Brody will partner with Vidant Health to implement a longitudinal curriculum focusing on patient safety and quality improvement of complex health care delivery systems.  Partnering with other health care professionals will prepare students to work in teams to improve health care delivery with a focus on prevention in the community.

The rapid changes in health care over the past several decades have resulted in the lack of a critical mass of clinically-based faculty members trained in the competencies necessary to treat principles of patient safety, quality improvement and team-based care. Partnering with ECU’s College of Education to develop the Teachers for Quality Academy will help provide professional development for faculty in these new competencies, in addition to providing practical skills in curriculum development, new teaching methods and assessment tools.

A select group of students known as LINC (Leaders in Innovative Care) Scholars will gain advanced expertise in patient safety, quality improvement, interprofessional and team-based care, and leadership in change management through experiential collaborative activities with Vidant Health, the ECU College of Nursing and public health. LINC Scholars will earn a certificate in health system transformation and leadership. This advanced knowledge and mentored projects in the clinical setting will immerse learners into quality improvement systems and support leadership development.

The support and collaboration across multiple areas of the university and health system will ensure the success of our vision of a comprehensive, integrated curriculum in patient safety, quality improvement and team-based care with a well-prepared core of highly skilled and motivated faculty that will perpetuate continued growth and improvements across the school. The partnership with Vidant Health, ECU College of Education, ECU Department of Public Health, and ECU’s Division of Health Sciences will enhance our shared goals of providing safe, optimal and satisfying care, while educating the future workforce of the region. Most importantly, we will be producing a new kind of graduate prepared for residency training and ready to incorporate these skills into future care. Furthermore, graduation of the first LINC Scholars in 2018, and annually thereafter, will provide future leaders with skills and self-efficacy to address the complex problems facing our health care system.

We believe that the proposed changes in curriculum will move the BSOM, its partners in nursing, allied health, the School of Dental Medicine, and Vidant Health closer to a goal of improving the health of the citizens of eastern North Carolina and reducing health disparities. “We are honored to share innovative ideas as part of the learning consortium of other grant recipients to develop best practices in medical education to ensure a healthier future for our patients and our community,” Lawson said.




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