Category Archives: Medical schools

Jun 26 2014
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RWJF’s Work to Make Minority Medical Faculty a Priority

Directors at the National Institutes of Health, medical school deans and presidents, professors, members of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences—these are just a few examples of the impressive roles that Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (AMFDP) alumni have gone on to fill after completing the program. Its impact over three decades of nurturing the careers of physician-scientists from disadvantaged backgrounds is the subject of an article in the May issue of the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Authored by AMFDP Program Director David S. Wilkes, MD, and Deputy Director Nina L. Ardery, MA, MBA, both of the Indiana University School of Medicine, and David M. Krol, MD, MPH, FAAP, a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the article explores the evolution of the AMFDP since RWJF created it in 1983 as the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program. (It was renamed in 2004 in honor of its first director.)

Among key assumptions in creating the program, the authors write, were that minority faculty would encourage more minority students to go to medical school; exposure to more minority faculty would encourage medical schools, hospitals, and others to seek out more candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds; and minority faculty would help medical schools better understand minority issues, ultimately contributing to better care for minority patients in teaching hospitals and stronger scientific study of minority health. 

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May 14 2014
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Khan Academy MCAT Competition: Building Free, Open-Access Medical Education Resources

Rishi Desai, Medical Partnership Program Lead at Khan Academy, works to help Khan Academy connect people to quality information about health and medicine. He is currently a pediatric infectious disease physician, and previously spent two years as an EIS officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This post originally appeared on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Pioneering Ideas Blog.

Rishi Desai, MD, MPH, Medical Lead at Khan Academy Rishi Desai, MD, MPH, Medical Lead at Khan Academy

When I think about the new MCAT test that will launch in 2015, it brings back memories of my own late night study sessions in college. Just prior to taking the MCAT, I was enrolled in a particularly tough life sciences course at UCLA where our professor asked us to design an experiment that would “prove” that DNA was the genetic material in cells. We literally had to step into the shoes of historic researchers, think critically, and rediscover the fundamentals for ourselves. Preparing for these classes was tough, but it was worth it because I knew that it would help me understand the material on a very deep level. At Khan Academy we want to help all students truly understand the material and understand how to apply it.

Recently, we teamed up with RWJF and the Association of American Medical Colleges to build the MCAT test prep collection, a free tool available to anyone, anywhere. The idea is to allow students to learn important core health and medicine information online so that they can have meaningful learning experiences in the classroom. The MCAT is based upon foundational scientific concepts that span key areas that are relevant for pre-health students, so it’s a perfect fit for our approach.

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Apr 26 2014
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How to Address Disparities? Educate, Engage Young Professionals in This Work.

To mark National Minority Health Month, the Human Capital Blog asked several Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholars to respond to questions about improving health care for all. In this post, Jamar Slocum, BS, a third year medical student at Meharry Medical College, responds to the question, “What does the country need to do to address disparities and build a culture of health that includes all people?” Slocum is a participant in Meharry’s RWJF Scholars’ program.

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In virtually every public health venture, health departments are confronted with the consequences of social poverty, institutional racism, and other forms of universal injustice. It is my belief that in order to make any significant change to a society, it is essential to have leaders who are in the forefront of the upcoming generation. Young professionals will ultimately bear the responsibility for implementing the policies and programs necessary for sustainable development. Budding physicians and researchers are exposed to an extensive array of sustainable development perspectives at a formative age in their professional development. This strengthens their own knowledge base and advances their capability to comment substantively on health disparity issues and to become effective agents of change.

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Oct 3 2013
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RWJF Harold Amos Program Celebrates 30th Anniversary

At its annual meeting and reunion this week in Atlanta, one of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) long-running and highly successful programs is celebrating a milestone: its 30th anniversary.

Harold Amos meeting speed mentoring Speed mentoring at the Harold Amos meeting

The Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, formerly known as the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program, works to foster diversity among U.S. medical school faculty. In 2011 it expanded its scope to do the same among dental school faculty.

Risa at the Harold Amos meeting 2013 RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

The program opened its doors in 1983 to its first cohort of eight physicians. That was the beginning of a three-decade commitment to preparing and mentoring individuals underrepresented in academic medicine and science to help them become leaders in those fields.

Today, 200 esteemed alumni later, the program has graduates who are full professors, chairs of departments, leaders of institutes within the National Institutes of Health, and scholars who are known nationally and internationally for their enormously valuable contributions to the fields of biomedical research, clinical investigation, and health services research.

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Oct 1 2013
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Fast Track to a Medical Degree

With a primary care provider shortage looming, medical schools are trying a new approach to get physicians into the workforce quickly: condensing medical education from four years to three.

Mercer University (Georgia), Texas Tech University, and New York University offer three-year primary care programs, and will soon be joined by programs in Tennessee, Indiana, University of Wisconsin, East Carolina, and Kentucky, MedPage Today and Fierce Healthcare report.

Most of the schools are shortening or eliminating fourth-year clinical rotations to consolidate their programs, leaving the first three years—which often focus on medical science—untouched.

"We chose to do it on the clinical end rather than [the] basic science end because, as long as Step 1 is [and] as important as it is, our students need to be fully prepared for it,” Betsy Jones, EdD, vice chair of research in Texas Tech's Department of Family Medicine, told MedPage Today. “We didn't make any changes to the curriculum that would threaten our students' ability to do well on [the United States Medical Licensing Examination]. The changes are really at the fourth year level."

A three-year program also saves medical students tuition money, and allows them to earn money in the workforce sooner than in a conventional four-year program, according to Fierce Healthcare.

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Sep 13 2013
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An Opportunity for Collaboration

Richard Rieselbach, MD, is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows program and a professor emeritus and health policy consultant for the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation.

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In the last decade, the nation’s community health centers (CHCs) have doubled their capacity. They now provide care for more than 22 million underserved children and adults in every state. But they’re going to need to do it again. By 2019, some 40 million patients will be in need of care.

The United States does not have enough primary care providers to serve these new patients, and our public investment in health professions education—graduate medical education (GME)—is failing to produce the pipeline we need. Medical students are choosing specialties over primary care at an alarming rate, and a policy vacuum keeps the GME program from being held accountable.

An initiative was launched in 2011 that I think holds great promise: the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education initiative. This five-year, $230 million program was funded by the Affordable Care Act and created to increase the number of primary care graduates trained in community settings.

My colleagues and I have proposed a modified and expanded version of this initiative, called “CHAMP” Teaching Health Centers (CHAMP THCs). Our teaching model would pair CHCs with academic medical centers to develop a THC track that would encourage students to graduate in primary care and practice in urban and rural underserved areas.

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Jun 19 2013
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Graduate Medical Education Funding Is Not Helping Solve Primary Care, Rural Provider Shortages, Study Finds

From 2006 to 2008, 158 of the country’s 759 residency sponsoring institutions and teaching sites did not produce any primary care graduates, according to a study published online last week by Academic Medicine. Less than one-quarter of medical school graduates entered primary care during those years.

The study also found that physician shortages in rural and underserved areas persist; only 4.8 percent of 2006-2008 graduates practice in rural areas. Nearly 200 institutions produced no rural physicians, more than half produced no Health Service Corps graduates, and 283 produced no physicians practicing at Federally Qualified Health Centers or Rural Health Clinics.

Graduate medical education (GME) distribution is uneven, the researchers found, and provides more support to subspecialty programs than to primary care programs. The top 20 primary care producing institutions (where 41 percent of graduates were in primary care) received $292 million in total Medicare GME payments, while the bottom 20 (where only 6.4 percent of graduates were in primary care) received $842 million in these funds.

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Jun 14 2013
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Online Mentoring Site Aims to Close ‘Mentoring Gap’

Underrepresented students considering careers in medicine can talk to mentors and join discussions on the free, web-based mentoring site, DiverseMedicine.org. Launched in August 2012, the site now has 400 active users, American Medical News reports.

High school, college and medical school students can interact with mentors on the site in real time through instant messaging or video chat functions, and learn about admissions testing, residency applications, and more in discussion forums. The site also features podcasts, video lectures and other resources on topics important to aspiring physicians, and a feature that allows students to participate in a mock medical school interview.

“One of the main reasons why there are so few minorities in the field of medicine is because of the mentoring gap. If nobody’s there to tell you how to get into medical school, you’re not going to get in,” Dale O. Okorodudu, MD, the project’s founder, told American Medical News.

Read the American Medical News article.

Feb 26 2013
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Diversity in Medical Education

A report from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) documents an overall trend toward increased diversity among students applying to medical school.

AAMC’s Diversity in Medical Education: Facts and Figures 2012 finds that nearly half of the applicants to U.S. medical schools in 2011 were non-White. Whites were the largest group of applicants, followed by Asians. “Compared with 2010, in 2011 the percentage of Hispanic or Latino applicants increased by 5.7 percent and the number of Black or African American applicants grew by 5 percent,” the report says.

But only 2.5 percent of medical school applicants in 2011 were Black men. Twice as many Black women as men applied to medical school that year, creating the biggest gender gap in medical school applicants among all racial or ethnic groups.

“We have a major, major problem in this country,” Marc Nivet, EdD, AAMC’s chief diversity officer, told American Medical News. “There is just simply an enormous amount of indisputable evidence that we’re not intervening as effectively as we’d like as a society to increase the talent pool of African-Americans who are capable of taking advantage of the science curricula available up and down the pipeline.”

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Jan 21 2013
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Meet the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program

This is part of a series introducing programs in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio.

The Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program
is on the verge of a milestone: it will observe its 30th anniversary this year.  In 2012, the program achieved another notable distinction, as a third alumnus was selected to lead an institute at the National Institutes of Health: Gary Gibbons, MD, (’88) is now director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). He joined Griffin Rogers, MD, MACP, (’83) Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; and Roderic Pettigrew, MD, PhD, (’83) Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Formerly known as the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program, the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (AFMDP) was created to increase the number of faculty from historically disadvantaged backgrounds who can achieve senior rank in academic medicine or dentistry, and who will encourage and foster the development of succeeding classes of such physicians and dentists. AFMDP offers four-year postdoctoral research awards to historically disadvantaged physicians and dentists who are committed to developing careers in academic medicine and to serving as role models for students and faculty of similar background.

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