SMHS selected to join AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium

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News Article

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School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.—The American Medical Association (AMA) announced today that the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences has been selected to join the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium , which seeks to enhance the innovative work underway to create the medical school of the future and quickly spread these innovations to additional medical schools throughout the country. The UND SMHS and 19 other schools have been selected to join the original 11 institutions in the consortium. Only 18 percent of eligible medical schools in the United States have been invited to join the consortium; the same percentage of schools that were selected from the more than 100 proposals submitted this year.

“The American Medical Association is funding a limited number of medical schools that are developing and sharing best practices and lessons learned in their commitment to bringing innovation to medical education,” said UND SMHS Senior Associate Dean for Education Gwen W. Halaas, MD, MBA, who will direct the project. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences to develop innovative ways of preparing our students to use technology to address the healthcare needs of rural communities and to partner with and learn from other medical schools as they transform medical education.”

The UND SMHS team will build on the School’s nationally recognized expertise in patient-centered learning and interprofessional healthcare education to develop telemedicine and rural health cases to train and elevate the competency of rural healthcare teams in delivering high-quality coordinated care at often significant distances from medical centers.

“Training medical and healthcare professionals for team-based, interprofessional healthcare delivery is a significant challenge,” said Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Richard Van Eck, PhD, the founding Dr. David and Lola Rognlie Monson Endowed Professor in Medical Education at the UND SMHS. “Doing so for professionals who will work in rural healthcare settings is even harder because teamwork looks very different in large urban medical facilities where multiple specialties are represented than it does in low-resource rural settings with few healthcare practitioners on staff.”

As a co-principal investigator on the grant, Van Eck will assist Halaas with the project as design consultant, research coordinator and project evaluator. He has more than 25 years of experience as an educator, evaluator, curriculum designer, and technology innovator.

The AMA selected UND’s project for its unique approach in blending the School’s interprofessional and patient-centered curricular approaches with patient simulations in new rural scenarios that focus on the core competencies of values and ethics, roles and responsibilities, communication, and teamwork and team-based care, with a particular emphasis on telemedicine using ROBOTS, Remotely Operated BiOmedical Telepresence Systems that can be used for distance participation of students or faculty in telemedicine scenarios. These ROBOTS are computer tablets on Segway-like pedestals that allow audiovisual and mobile participation from a desktop or laptop computer.

During the award announcement, the AMA described three proposals, including the SMHS’s proposal, as examples of innovative medical education.

“We will design, develop, and evaluate interprofessional simulations using this technology to incorporate telemedicine and the core competencies within the context of rural healthcare,” Halaas said. “No other institution is working on promoting interprofessional competencies in rural telemedicine contexts.”

The UND SMHS is uniquely positioned to do so not only through its interprofessional healthcare initiatives, expertise in education and telemedicine but also through the School’s North Dakota Simulation, Teaching, and Research (ND STAR) training facility.

The ND STAR and its academic faculty and staff of 20 are led by Jon Allen, MD, associate professor of medicine, who is also the director of SIM-ND and Year-2 clinical skills for medical students. Allen will coordinate implementing ND STAR scenarios and provide scenario design support. Eric Johnson, MD, is an associate professor of family and community medicine, and director of interprofessional education at the School. Johnson will serve as scenario design consultant.

A full listing of the 20 new schools is included below:

  • A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (Mesa)
  • Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • Eastern Virginia Medical School (Norfolk)
  • Emory University School of Medicine (Atlanta, Ga.)
  • Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (Miami)
  • Harvard Medical School (Boston)
  • Morehouse School of Medicine (Atlanta, Ga.)
  • Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (Cleveland)
  • Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (New Brunswick, N.J.)
  • Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education/City College of New York
  • Thomas Jefferson University Sidney Kimmel Medical College (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  • University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
  • University of Connecticut School of Medicine (Farmington)
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center/College of Medicine (Omaha)
  • University of North Carolina School of Medicine (Chapel Hill)
  • University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences (Grand Forks)
  • University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School (Austin)
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine (Brownsville)
  • University of Utah School of Medicine (Salt Lake City)
  • University of Washington School of Medicine (Seattle)