From the President
George E. Thibault, MD, discusses the education of health professionals and the Foundation’s mission to improve the health of the public.
The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation is the only national foundation solely dedicated to improving the education of health professionals. Its guiding principle is that health professional education has at its core a strong social mission: to serve the public’s needs and improve the health of the public.
During the eighty years that the Foundation has existed, the public’s needs have evolved with changes in the science and technology of medicine, in medical practice, in the healthcare delivery system and in the populations served. Health professional education must keep pace with and take into account these changes in order to achieve its mission. Being a doctor, or a nurse, or another health professional is a different job than it was in past decades, and it will change even more in the decades ahead. So health professional education must continue to change to produce the successful practitioners and leaders for tomorrow.
Our health professional schools and training programs produce the individuals who operate our healthcare system. They, therefore, play a critical role in shaping the system by determining the number and mix of professionals and the knowledge, skills and attitudes they bring to their new jobs. To a great extent they determine the culture of the delivery system. They have the opportunity and the responsibility to exert their influence on behalf of the public good.
The dynamic nature of health professional education presents tremendous opportunities. What could be more exciting than preparing future generations of health professionals for a world in which they will provide patient-centered, reliable, co-ordinated and efficient care for a diverse patient population? They will do this armed with accelerating advances in science and technology and strengthened by being a part of a team of health professionals. It is an extraordinary opportunity to bring together humanism and science.
We are delighted to be part of the continuing enterprise keeping health professional education current with and responsive to the public’s needs. We look forward to working with our partners in the education and health care delivery communities.