New schools will join AMA to reshape how future physicians are trained and improve health outcomes

A.T. Still University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) was selected by the American Medical Association (AMA) to join the Association’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium, a dynamic group of medical schools which share best practices and ideas for developing innovative curricula that can ultimately be implemented in medical schools across the country.

ATSU-SOMA was nominated by AMA because of its approach to incorporating comprehensive community-based projects as part of its curriculum, empowering students to actively learn to assess needs of the community through their second, third, and fourth year of medical school education while embedded in one of ATSU-SOMA’s 12 community health center (CHC) campuses.

The announcement was made by AMA’s CEO James Madara, MD, and Susan Skochelak, MD, group vice president for medical education. AMA announced a total of 20 leading medical schools from across the country, all of which landed a spot on the Association’s consortium, and were awarded a three-year grant totaling $75,000.

“ATSU is thankful for and looks forward to collaborating with consortium partners in developing innovative learning experiences to improve medical education ultimately resulting in healthier individuals and communities,” said ATSU President Craig M. Phelps, DO, ’84.

According to AMA, the 20 new schools will build upon projects created by the 11 schools awarded grants by AMA in 2013 and ultimately impact thousands of medical students across the nation currently being trained to care for patients in the rapidly changing healthcare environment. With the added schools, the now 31 school consortium will support training for an estimated 18,000 medical students who will one day care for 31 million patients each year.

“Consortium membership will enable us to spotlight successful teaching strategies, enhance support for individual community projects, and dedicate additional resources to evaluating the knowledge, skills, and attitudes resulting from this contextual innovation, “said principal investigator, Joy H. Lewis, DO, PhD, FACP, professor of internal medicine and public health, chair, ATSU-SOMA Department of Public Health. “I appreciate this opportunity very much and look forward to sharing with, and learning from, the other members of the consortium. This cross-pollination will be invaluable for creating the providers of the future.”

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. This is the first year an osteopathic medical school could apply to the initiative.

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