Calls for medical education reform focus on preparing physicians to meet the challenges of today’s complex health care system. Despite implementing curricula focused on health systems science (HSS), including quality improvement (QI), patient safety, team-based care, and population health, a significant gap remains in training students to meet the system’s evolving needs.
Brody School of Medicine redesigned its curriculum to prepare leaders to effect health system change. This included development of a Distinction Track in Health System Transformation and Leadership, known as Leaders in INnovative Care (LINC) Scholars Program. Selected LINC scholars spend eight weeks in a summer immersion experience designed to provide foundational knowledge and practical application.
Two cohorts (15 LINC scholars) completed the summer immersion in 2015 and 2016. Participants demonstrated significant improvement in knowledge and confidence, and continue to be engaged in ongoing QI projects throughout the health system. All scholars have presented their work at local, regional, or national meetings. Students rated patient navigation experiences, health system leader interviews, QI project application, and interprofessional experiences as most valuable and recommended adoption in the curriculum for all students.
A Distinction Track with an immersion component can be an effective method to pilot innovative HSS components for the entire curriculum while preparing a cadre of learners with advanced expertise. To longitudinally measure HSS knowledge change, behavioral impact, and organization-level outcomes, next steps must focus on development of workplace-based assessments, establishment of learner portfolios, and longitudinal tracking of student outcomes, including career trajectory.
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L. Lawson is assistant dean of curriculum, assessment, and clinical academic affairs and associate professor of emergency medicine, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.
D. Lake is clinical associate professor of nursing, Graduate Nursing Sciences and Leadership Concentration, East Carolina University College of Nursing, Greenville, North Carolina.
S. Lazorick is associate professor of pediatrics and public health and a health services researcher, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.
T. Reeder is associate professor and executive vice chair of emergency medicine, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.
J. Garris is executive director, Redesigning Education to Accelerate Healthcare Initiative, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.
E.G. Baxley is senior associate dean for academic affairs and professor of family medicine, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.
Acknowledgments: The authors would like to thank the Redesigning Education to Accelerate Change in Healthcare team and all contributors to the Leaders in Innovative Care Scholars program.
Funding/Support: This study/report was prepared with financial support from the American Medical Association (AMA) as part of the Accelerating Change in Medical Education Initiative. The content reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of AMA or other participants in this Initiative.
Other disclosures: L. Lawson is a coeditor of the textbook Health Systems Science. D. Lake and E. Baxley are contributors to the Health Systems Science textbook. There is no financial conflict of interest.
Ethical approval: This study was approved by the institutional review board of East Carolina University.
Correspondence should be addressed to Luan Lawson, 600 Moye Boulevard, Mail Stop 647, Greenville, NC, 27834; telephone: 252-744-0439; email: email@example.com.