What we heard in 773 miles

August 16, 2013

Rural-tripSchool continues outreach for M.D. Curriculum Transformation Initiative with rural Listening Tour

Over three days, OHSU leaders completed the first "Listening Tour" associated with the M.D. Curriculum Transformation Initiative. Focusing on central and eastern Oregon, the group covered a 773- mile-loop linking Portland with La Grande, Union/Elgin, Baker City, John Day, Bend, Prineville and Warm Springs.

Along the way, Dean Mark Richardson, Senior Associate Dean for Education George Mejicano and Vice President for Clinical Outreach Mark O'Hollaren participated in meetings with more than 100 educational partners, clinicians, hospital administrators, tribal leaders, community and health care advocates and others. The OHSU group also toured rural clinic sites and hospitals.

The goal? To listen and to learn.

"At every stop we asked the same question: What will the physician practicing 20 or 30 years in the future in your region need to know?" said Dr. Mejicano. "This important question reflects not only health care needs but is also tied to local community development, technology advances, economic development and more."

Broadly, the goal of the M.D. Curriculum Transformation Initiative is to prepare physicians to be leaders in a health care delivery and discovery environment that is rapidly changing – and likely to continue evolving under any future scenario. The new curriculum will build on and expand the strengths of OHSU's current curriculum, enhance the current commitment to Oregon's rural and underserved communities, and ensure OHSU continues to educate and graduate the types of physicians most needed by Oregon.

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"We learned a great deal from the discussions during our trip, and I was grateful for everyone's time," said Dr. Mejicano.

At most stops, a mix of clinicians were represented: physicians, physician assistants, advance practice nurses, dentists, residents and students. This practioner mix reflected the team-based interprofessional aspects likely to be a key element of the new curriculum.

Themes emerging from the Listening Tour were relatively consistent across the sites, reinforcing the direction of the M.D. Curriculum Transformation Initiative thus far, as well as providing new insights for the OHSU steering committee to integrate into the evolving curriculum.

Key attributes cited as important for the physician of the future included: leadership skills, communications skills, systems-thinking, informatics abilities, small business training, an ability to manage complexity, lifelong learning, an ease with technology and others. A compilation of commentary from throughout the Listening Tour is provided in the Trip Report Notes.

Part of the discussions at each stop focused on how to best structure the required rural aspects of the new curriculum to meet workforce needs now and in the future, as well as to ensure that future physicians are educated in ways that maximize their ability to practice effectively in the rapidly evolving health care landscape.

IMG_7159At each meeting, the groups discussed the Rural Principles associated with the curriculum transformation, which states that the current rural clerkship will be retained in the new curriculum as an option within a broadened suite of options to fulfill a required rural rotation. The discussions focused on how to structure new options to better meet rural Oregon's needs.

"The Listening Tour was informative and important. I was glad to be there, and extremely pleased to have the opportunity to meet so many of our educational partners, as well as to forge the beginnings of new partnerships," said Dean Richardson. "The quality of and innovation in health care demonstrated at these rural sites is something we all can learn from, and it will certainly benefit the education of our students."

The first year of the new curriculum will begin in August 2014, and will be phased in over four years. New and enhanced clinic-based learning experiences (currently referred to as clerkships) will be implemented in January 2016. Learn more, and see the timeline for the transformation at www.ohsu.edu/newcurriculum

Roundtable Discussion

Join OHSU Education Leaders in a Roundtable Discussion October 23

Are you attending the Oregon Rural Health Care Conference in Portland? Join Provost Jenny Mladenovic, School of Medicine Dean Mark Richardson and Senior Associate Dean George Mejicano to discuss health care education program initiatives underway at OHSU, including interprofessional education, a new rural campus, and the M.D. Curriculum Transformation Initiative. Learn more here. Conference registration is not required to attend the education meeting/discussion.