The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted policy during its Interim Meeting this week that builds on its efforts over the past four years to help prepare future physicians to care for patients in modern health systems. The new policy calls for medical students, residents and physicians to receive training in both lifestyle medicine and social determinants of health in undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical education.
To help reduce disparities in patient care, the policy will also help medical students and residents receive training regarding implicit bias, diversity and inclusion. Under the new policy, the AMA will work to identify and publicize effective strategies for educating residents in all specialties about disparities in their fields related to race, ethnicity, and all populations at increased risk, particularly regarding access to care and health outcomes. Additionally, the AMA will support research to identify the most effective strategies for educating physicians on how to eliminate disparities in health outcomes in all at-risk populations.
"The AMA is committed to eliminating health disparities in our nation in order to achieve health equity. One critical component of our efforts is transforming medical education so that it keeps pace with our nation's changing health care system," said AMA Board Member and medical student Karthik V. Sarma, M.S. "By ensuring students and residents have proper training to address disparities in care from the outset of their careers, we can empower them to be the change agents that we need to achieve our mission to improve the health of the nation."
Several medical schools that are part of the AMA's Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium have been working on curricular innovations to address health care disparities, including University of California, Davis School of Medicine, A.T. Still University-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, and Morehouse School of Medicine in Georgia.
New policy will also help medical students and residents understand the impact that sex and gender have on patient care. Specifically, the policy calls for the AMA to collaborate with other organizations to disseminate the work produced by medical schools participating in the Accelerating Change in Medical Education consortium and distribute pertinent information and a comprehensive bibliography about the influence that sex and gender have upon clinical medicine. This would include literature showing that some clinical trials may have skewed representation of specific gender and sexual traits making it difficult to generalize their results.
The AMA launched its Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative in 2013, providing $11 million in grants to fund major innovations at 11 of the nation's medical schools. Together, these schools formed a Consortium that shares best practices with a goal of widely disseminating the new and innovative curricula being developed among all allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. The AMA expanded its Consortium in 2015 with grants to an additional 21 schools to develop new curricula that better align undergraduate medical education with the modern health care system.
Most recently, through its work with the 32-school Consortium, the AMA launched a health systems science textbook that can be used by all medical schools to help future physicians navigate the changing landscape of modern health care, especially as the nation's health care system moves toward value-based care. Another recent innovation to emerge through its initiative to create the medical school of the future is the Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform developed by Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute. The AMA and Regenstrief are currently working together to disseminate the platform to medical schools throughout the country to ensure more medical students and medical trainees gain real-world experience using electronic health records during their training.
The AMA will continue its efforts to accelerate change in medical education to ensure future physicians learn about the newest technologies, health care reforms and scientific discoveries that continue to alter what physicians need to know to practice in modern health care systems.