The Primary Care Leadership Track at the Duke University School of Medicine: Creating Change Agents to Improve Population Health

Sheline, Barbara MD, MPH; Tran, Anh N. PhD, MPH; Jackson, Joseph MD; Peyser, Bruce MD; Rogers, Susan MDiv; Engle, Deborah EdD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000305
Innovation Reports

Problem: Physicians need training in community engagement, leadership, and population health to prepare them to work with partners within the community and to adapt medical care to address population health needs.

Approach: With an overall goal of training primary care practitioners to be change agents for improving population health, the Duke University School of Medicine launched the Primary Care Leadership Track (PCLT) in 2011. The four-year PCLT curriculum requires students to contribute to existing community health initiatives, perform community-engaged research, and participate in leadership training. The clinical curriculum incorporates a longitudinal approach to allow students to follow patient outcomes. In addition, students regularly interact with faculty to explore population health issues, review patient cases, and adjust individual learning opportunities as needed.

Outcomes: The first cohort of PCLT students will graduate in 2015. Prospective comparisons with traditional track students are planned on performance on standardized tests and career choices.

Next Steps: The authors created the PCLT as a laboratory in which students can engage with the community and explore solutions to address the health of the public and the future delivery of health care. To meet the goal of training change agents, PCLT leaders need to expand opportunities for students to learn from providers and organizations that are successfully bridging the gap between medical care and public health.

Dr. Sheline is associate professor, Department of Community and Family Medicine, and assistant dean for primary care, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Tran is assistant professor and vice chief of education, Duke Division of Community Health, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Jackson is assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, and assistant program director, Primary Care Leadership Track, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Peyser is associate professor, Department of Medicine, and assistant program director, Primary Care Leadership Track, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

Ms. Rogers is senior program coordinator, Primary Care Leadership Track, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Engle is director of evaluation and assessment, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

Funding/Support: The Primary Care Leadership Track has received support from the Duke Endowment and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: Reported as not applicable.

Previous presentations: Parts of the Primary Care Leadership Track curriculum have been presented at meetings of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (Houston, Texas, January 2011; New Orleans, Louisiana, April 2011; San Antonio, Texas, January 2013), Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology/Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (Orlando, Florida, May 2012), Consortium of Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships (Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, October 2012; Big Sky, Montana, September 2013), and Association of American Medical Colleges (Denver, Colorado, November 2011; San Francisco, California, November 2012).

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Sheline, Duke University School of Medicine, Box 3886, Durham, NC 27710; telephone: (919) 684-6721; e-mail: barbara.sheline@duke.edu.

© 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges