Share this article on:

Toward Hypothesis-Driven Medical Education Research: Task Force Report From the Millennium Conference 2007 on Educational Research

Fincher, Ruth-Marie E. MD; White, Christopher B. MD; Huang, Grace MD; Schwartzstein, Richard MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181d73f9e
Medical Education Research

Purpose In May 2007, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Carl J. Shapiro Institute for Education and Research cosponsored “Millennium Conference 2007: A Collaborative Approach to Educational Research” (MC07). Educational leaders from eight U.S. medical schools and the host school (Harvard Medical School) sought to develop an operational list of the national medical education research priorities identified at the MC07.

Method The authors asked a diverse group of medical educators to evaluate the research priorities broadly outlined by MC07 participants, further refining the priorities, framing them into research questions with testable hypotheses, and ranking them. Through an iterative process among representatives from each of the MC07 participating institutions, 11 research priorities were identified, and each was reframed as a problem to be addressed with a testable hypothesis. Then, in a multiinstitutional survey, MC07 participants ranked each priority by its perceived national importance, feasibility, fundability, and amenability for multiinstitutional research.

Results The impact of medical school simulation training on residents' performance emerged as the highest-rated priority, and the impact of faculty development on learner outcomes was the lowest-rated priority among MC07 participating schools.

Conclusions The process of framing medical education priorities in the form of testable hypotheses with measurable outcomes was an effective way for a diverse group of national medical education leaders to develop an agenda for educational research. The authors hope that this list will inform the national discussion on priorities in medical education research and will serve to help move this agenda forward.

Dr. Fincher is vice dean for academic affairs and codirector, Education Discovery Institute, Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine, Augusta, Georgia.

Dr. White is associate dean for faculty development and educational achievement, Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine, Augusta, Georgia.

Dr. Huang is director of assessment, Shapiro Institute for Education and Research, Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Schwartzstein is executive director, Shapiro Institute for Education and Research, Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, and vice president for education, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. White, Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine, 1446 Harper Street, BG-2105, Augusta, GA 30912; telephone: (706) 721-3529; fax: (706) 721-7244; e-mail: cwhite@mail.mcg.edu.

© 2010 Association of American Medical Colleges