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The American Medical Association Medical Education Innovation Challenge: Incorporating the Student Voice Into Medical Education Transformation

Elliott, Victoria Stagg MA; Dekhtyar, Michael; Pouwels, Mellie Villahermosa MA; Skochelak, Susan E. MD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002734
Innovation Reports

Problem Medical education needs to evolve to continue producing physicians who are able to meet the needs of diverse patient populations. Students can be a unique source of ideas about medical education transformation.

Approach In the fall of 2015, the authors created the American Medical Association Medical Education Innovation Challenge, an incentive-based competition for teams of two to four students. The challenge called for teams to “turn medical education on its head” by proposing a change to some aspect of medical education that would better prepare students to meet the health care needs of the future.

Outcomes Teams submitted 154 proposals. Themes from the winning teams and those that received an honorable mention included innovative uses of technology, creating physical spaces to pursue solutions to health care problems, wellness education, and longitudinal learning experiences around health equity and advocacy. The authors invited all teams to submit an abstract of their proposal to be published in an abstract book. The four winning teams and the 24 teams that received an honorable mention and submitted an abstract were surveyed to assess the impact of the challenge. Fifteen teams (54%) responded. Ten of those teams (67%) were implementing their idea or a related innovation to some degree.

Next Steps The American Medical Association continues to run a wide variety of innovation challenges (e.g., Healthier Nation Innovation Challenge, Health Care Interoperability & Innovation Challenge) that draw in diverse stakeholders to solve problems in medical education and the health care system more broadly.

V.S. Elliott is technical writer, Medical Education Outcomes, American Medical Association, Chicago, Illinois.

M. Dekhtyar is research associate, Medical Education Outcomes, American Medical Association, Chicago, Illinois; ORCID:

M.V. Pouwels is special assistant to the Office of the President, American Board of Medical Specialties, Chicago, Illinois.

S.E. Skochelak is group vice president, Medical Education, American Medical Association, Chicago, Illinois.

Funding/Support: None reported.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago deemed this study exempt from ethical review (November 19, 2018; research protocol no. 2018-1423).

Correspondence should be addressed to Victoria Stagg Elliott, American Medical Association, AMA Plaza, 330 N. Wabash Ave., Suite 39300, Chicago, IL 60611-5885; telephone: (312) 464-4459; email:; Twitter: @vselliott.

Copyright © 2019 by the Association of American Medical Colleges