Transformation that works

My Hope for Medical Education

Categories  |  Medical Education

 |  By Jonathan Lis

I am about to begin medical school after working for over a year as a research assistant at CIPCI. Before coming to CIPCI, my view of the healthcare system didn’t extend far beyond calling it complicated, specialized, and expensive. True, but oversimplified.

Through my work with CIPCI, my knowledge of the structure and function of primary care systems grew considerably. The crucial facet of this learning was not gained through literature or lecture – it was gained through first-hand experience. Creating process maps, asking patients about their preferences, discussing payment structures with staff and clinicians, and brainstorming broader system changes alongside administrators were the kinetic learning experiences from which I learned the most.

Yet healthcare is no stagnant entity. It is changing rapidly, and lessons learned today will not be as pertinent in even five years. Thus, dynamic education about the healthcare system is vital. I find myself frequently wondering how current medical education is equipped to deal with this – to teach students to diagnose and help not only people, but systems as well.

The current curricula are largely filled with corporal education: courses certainly necessary for successful treatment of patients and populations. Students across the spectrum – nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, social work, and medicine – only gain familiarity with the healthcare system by living it during clinical rotations or clerkships, or perhaps during an elective. In the broader realm of medical education, where is the future discussed and emphasized? How are students motivated to innovate, to think progressively and actively about the system so that they can contribute to change and thrive throughout their careers?

My hope is that medical education, from pre-med courses through residency, becomes as dynamic as the healthcare system itself. It should promote new generations of innovators, changers, and doers, whose expertise of healthcare systems fuses to build and maintain the ideal. And it should start now.

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