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Development and Implementation of a Comprehensive Strategic Plan for Medical Education at an Academic Medical Center

Schwartzstein, Richard M. MD; Huang, Grace C. MD; Coughlin, Christine M. EdM

Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181722c7c
Institutional Issues
Abstract

Despite their vital contributions to the training of future physicians, many academic teaching hospitals have grown operationally and financially distinct from affiliated medical schools because of divergent missions, contributing to the erosion of clinical training. Some institutions have responded by building hybrid organizations; others by creating large health care networks with variable relationships with the affiliated medical school. In this case, the authors wished to establish the future educational mission of their medical center as a core element of the institution by creating data-driven recommendations for reorganization, programs, and financing. They conducted a self-study of all constituents, the results of which confirmed the importance of education at their institution but also revealed the insufficiency of incentives for teaching. They underwent an external review by a committee of prominent educators, and they involved administrators at the hospital and the medical school. Together, these inputs composed an informed assessment of medical education at their teaching hospital, from which they developed and actualized an institution-wide strategic plan for education. Over the course of three years, they centralized the administrative structure for education, implemented programs that cross departments and reinforce the UME–GME continuum, and created transparency in the financing of medical education. The plan was purposefully aligned with the clinical and research strategic plans by supporting patient safety in programs and the professional development of faculty. The application of a rigorous strategic planning process to medical education at an academic teaching hospital can focus the mission, invigorate faculty, and lead to innovative programs.

Author Information

Dr. Schwartzstein is executive director, Center for Education, Carl J. Shapiro Institute for Education and Research, vice president for education, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; and faculty associate dean for education and professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Huang is director of assessment, Carl J. Shapiro Institute for Education and Research; and assistant professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Ms. Coughlin is associate director, Center for Education, Carl J. Shapiro Institute for Education and Research, Boston, Massachusetts.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Schwartzstein, Center for Education, Carl J. Shapiro Institute for Education and Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, E/ES-216, Boston, MA 02215; telephone: (617) 667-5864; fax: (617) 667-9122; e-mail: (rschwart@bidmc.harvard.edu).

© 2008 Association of American Medical Colleges