Medical education must evolve to meet the changing needs of patients and communities. Innovation is a critical component of that evolution. As medical educators pursue innovative curricula, assessments, and evaluation techniques, the impact of innovations may be limited by minimal funding. The American Medical Association (AMA) Innovation Grant Program, launched in 2018, seeks to address the gap in funding and stimulate educational innovation and research in medical education.
In 2018 and 2019, the Innovation Grant Program targeted innovation in content areas including health systems science, competency-based medical education, coaching, learning environment, and emerging technology. The authors reviewed the content of applications and final reports for the 27 projects completed during the first 2 years of the program. They also noted measures of success (completion of project, achievement of grant objectives, development of transferrable educational product, dissemination).
In 2018, the AMA received 52 submissions and funded 13 proposals, dispersing $290,000 ($10,000 and $30,000 grants). In 2019, the AMA received 80 submissions and funded 15 proposals, dispersing $345,000. Among the 27 completed grants, 17 (63%) supported innovations related to health systems science. Fifteen (56%) were used to create educational products that could be shared, such as new assessment tools, curricula, and teaching modules. Five grant recipients (29%) published articles and 15 (56%) presented at national conferences.
The grant program advanced educational innovations, particularly in health systems science. The next steps will involve examining the long-term outcomes and impact of the completed projects on medical students, patients, and the health system; the professional development of the grantees; and the adoption and dissemination of the innovations.