Residency training needs a revamp. So AMA is offering cash for the best ideas

The American Medical Association will award $15 million in grants to fund innovations in residency training. (AmerisourceBergen)

Building on its efforts to transform medical school training, the American Medical Association is now turning its eye—and its funding—to residency training.

The AMA, the country’s largest physician association, announced today that it will provide $15 million over five years to fund up to eight innovations aimed at transforming residency training for physicians.

The money will fund a competitive grant initiative and the AMA will release a request for proposals in January seeking innovative projects from U.S. graduate medical education sponsors, medical schools, health systems and medical specialty societies that promote systemic change in graduate medical education.


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The AMA is focused on medical school and residency training to address the growing disconnect between how physicians are being trained and the skills they need in a rapidly changing healthcare environment said James L. Madara, M.D., the AMA’s CEO and executive vice president, in a telephone conference call.

The AMA expects to have the innovative projects chosen to receive the grants up and running in 2019, Madara said.

“Applying what we’ve learned through our successful initiative to create the medical schools of the future, we’re embarking on a new effort to reinvent residency training to ensure our future physicians are able to make a seamless transition into residency and ensure they’re prepared for practice—while supporting their well-being and improving patient safety,” he said.

The selected organizations will join an AMA-convened consortium and work together to evaluate successes and lessons learned and promote wide dissemination and adoption of successful innovations.

At medical schools, for example, health system science courses were added to AMA medical schools to teach doctors to work with emerging technology. The AMA also collaborated with its 32-school consortium to develop a “Health Systems Science” textbook focused on value in healthcare, patient safety, quality improvement, teamwork and team science. 

While the AMA’s efforts so far have been focused on medical schools, “We’ve realized changes must also be introduced in residency training,” said Susan E. Skochelak, M.D., the AMA’s group vice president of medical education. Therefore, the AMA launch its Reimagining Residency Initiative, which is aimed at transforming residency training to ensure physician well-being and improve patient safety.

The grant money will support innovations that provide a meaningful and safe transition from medical schools to residency programs, establish new curricular content and experiences to enhance readiness for practice and promote well-being in training, Skochelak said.

The AMA will release a request for proposals Jan.3. Organizations interested in applying to receive funding and join the consortium must submit letters of intent describing the goals and scope of their proposed project by Feb. 1.

From that initial pool, the AMA will invite organizations to submit full proposals by April 17 and will announce the grant awardees at its annual meeting in June 2019.


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