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IU School of Medicine awarded national AMA grant to advance medical education

June 27, 2013

IU School of Medicine students will develop critical competencies in systems- and team-based care through immersion in a virtual health care system curriculum with support from a $1 million grant from the American Medical Association.

IU School of Medicine-Indianapolis campus

The IU School of Medicine is one of just 11 medical schools in the country to earn this support from the American Medical Association.

IU is one of just 11 medical schools in the country – out of 119 that prepared initial proposals -- to receive the grant as a part of the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative. The initiative was created to fund innovative programs designed to transform medical student education, preparing students for practice in a changing care delivery system.

The novel IU School of Medicine virtual health system curriculum will use a teaching version of an electronic medical record that incorporates actual patient data -- with identifying information removed. The virtual health system will provide medical students with a realistic environment to develop their clinical decision-making skills while providing care for a panel of “e-patients.” Students will monitor health care decisions and costs, compare their decisions to those of practicing physicians and to their peers, and learn how huge quantities of data and genomic information are changing the way health care is delivered.

"We are honored to receive this prestigious award from the AMA and to be an integral part of a learning consortium that will develop and disseminate best practices in medical education. This project is an important part of the comprehensive revision of our curriculum, designed to better prepare our students to improve the health of patients and of their communities," said Maryellen E. Gusic, M.D., executive associate dean for educational affairs.

"It's critical that students learn about how systems of care delivery affect the health of their patients and about how patient and social factors impact both health and disease. The virtual health system curriculum will prepare students to practice patient-centered, high quality and cost-efficient care," said Dr. Gusic, Dolores and John Read Professor of Medical Education and professor of pediatrics.

"The use of a virtual health system curriculum will supplement experiences in actual clinical settings, filling gaps in individual student’s experiences and deepening learning about the implications of care decisions on health and disease. Importantly, this proposal meets our institutional mission to advance health in the state of Indiana and beyond by promoting excellence in education and patient care,” said D. Craig Brater, M.D., dean of the IU School of Medicine.

The IU project will also train faculty from the medical school and from other health care professions as master educators to expertly use the virtual health care curriculum and help students learn about team-based care.

This project will build on the IU School of Medicine's 30 years of experience with the electronic medical records system developed by IU faculty and the Regenstrief Institute, a research organization affiliated with the IU School of Medicine that is acknowledged as a world leader in medical informatics. In addition, clinical and administrative leaders from the School of Medicine’s health systems partners will help to train the master educators to teach students about system approaches to patient and population management with a focus on quality and patient safety.

With nearly 1,300 medical students on nine campuses across the state, the IU School of Medicine is the second largest medical school in the country. It was one of the first schools of medicine to implement a nationally-recognized competency-based curriculum and evaluation system more than a decade ago.

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