Message from Dean Richardson: Next generation education

Next generation education

Dean Rchardson

08/29/12  Portland, OR

This past month, I attended the annual meeting of the Blue Ridge Academic Health Group. The group studies fundamental issues of importance across academic medicine. This was my first meeting and I was honored to be invited. The meeting focused on education and the converging forces that create both an opportunity and a pressing need to transform the educational experience. These discussions were relevant to our own M.D. Curriculum Transformation initiative now getting underway.

The Blue Ridge Academic Health Group is co-chaired by Wright Caughman, M.D., CEO, Woodruff Health Sciences Center and executive vice president for health affairs, Emory University, and Claire Pomeroy, M.D., MBA, CEO of UC Davis Health System and dean of the School of Medicine, UC Davis. Among the 15 to 18 invited members of the group are Darrell Kirch, M.D., president of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and Steven Wartman, M.D., Ph.D., president of the Association of Academic Health Centers, who contributes an important national perspective on the issues.

Thus far, Blue Ridge has issued 14 reports, with a 15th due soon. A book based upon the initial seven reports, entitled, The Academic Health Center: Leadership and Performance, was published in 2005 by Cambridge University Press.

There were several related themes under discussion at this year's meeting. One was the transformative potential of technology on the educational paradigm – podcasts, web and app-based tools, distance learning, virtual reality, simulation centers and more. Another was exploring how to share resources, including common content, nationally across medical schools and within different health professions schools at individual academic health centers.

In addition to enhancing educational quality and outcomes, some of these ideas – especially the potential of technology – may help reduce the costs of education. Our students' tuition, not just here at OHSU but everywhere, is rising. We must approach the education of medical providers in a different way. All of us in academic medicine can contribute to and catalyze a national discussion that will help academic institutions to deliver high quality, cost-effective and innovative educational programs in an environment that reduces the shift of dollars from the clinical realm to the educational one.

Multiple avenues of discussion and many questions were raised as the group discussed the topic of education over three days. Blue Ridge will issue a full report in due course. Despite the clear challenges, I found these conversations inspiring; these leaders who came together for the Blue Ridge meeting are exceptional, experienced and dedicated. It reinforces my confidence in our collective future to know that the right people are tackling these issues, and in that same spirit, I want to make sure that you are part of the conversation and the resulting solutions.

I invite you to join now in similar discussions centered on our own M.D. Curriculum Transformation initiative. Please join me and your colleagues at the October 9 retreat here on campus and consider joining a work group for this initiative. Together, we will continue building on our already excellent M.D. curriculum in ways that meet the evolving needs of 21st century society and that train future leaders in health care delivery and innovation.

Best Regards,

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson, MD, MBA
Dean, OHSU School of Medicine
President, Faculty Practice Plan