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New Initiative Supports Professionalism Education in Medical Schools and Residencies

New York, NY

The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) have awarded $250,000 in professionalism education grants to five faculty from academic medical institutions around the country.  Each grantee will get $50,000 over a two-year period to help integrate professionalism education into medical school curricula and instill the notion of professionalism in a new generation of physicians.  The awards are the first in the Education and Training to Professionalism Initiative (ETPI), a new collaboration between Macy and IMAP, both of which are based in New York City.  Some 73 physicians from 64 institutions in 31 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico applied for the grants. 

The new Initiative combines the missions of IMAP and Macy. IMAP’s agenda emphasizes professionalism in medicine, while Macy is the only national foundation focused on improving the education of the health professions. Together, IMAP and Macy have forged a partnership that advances the missions of both organizations while at the same time providing professionals with the core competencies they need for practice today.

Medical professionalism comprises a broad commitment to putting patients first, self-governance amongst physicians, maintenance of knowledge and technical competence, and participation in civic action to advocate for general well-being.

“Professionalism needs to be taught. It’s not just a set of attitudes, it’s a set of behaviors and actions that physicians and other professionals should have as part of their formal education and training,” said George E. Thibault, M.D., president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.

“Professionalism refers to collective responsibility,” noted David Rothman, Ph.D., president of IMAP. “The medical profession must be committed to self-regulation and resist powerful forces, whether emanating from the marketplace or from misguided state interests.”

This year’s grantees start their projects on July 1.  They are:

  • Dr. Melissa Fischer, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, University of Massachusetts Medical School, will involve a range of health professionals in applying the principles of professionalism to structured cases and video vignettes, to examples of professional or unprofessional behavior reported from their clinical experiences, and to simulation scenarios.
  • Dr. Ronald Fong, Director of the Family Medicine Residency Network, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, will implement a community leadership track for medical residents that will engage them in public policy, community health, and primary care work force issues.
  • Dr. Anne Gill, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Ethics and Director of Longitudinal Programs, Baylor College of Medicine, will engage medical students in developmentally appropriate educational interventions in each year of medical school. Subjects include clinical debriefing, reflective writing, mentoring, and mock patient encounters.
  • Dr. Alicia Monroe, Professor of Family Medicine and Vice Dean of Educational Affairs, University of South Florida College of Medicine (in partnership with Lehigh Valley Health Network), will develop six new learner-centered curriculum modules focused on professional development that will assist medical students and residents in building capacity to “put patients’ interests first.”
  • Dr. Elza Mylona, Associate Dean of Curriculum Affairs and Faculty Development, Stony Brook University Medical Center School of Medicine, will train and evaluate faculty on how to teach professionalism and medical ethics to students in clinical settings.

Selected proposals come from a mix of public and private institutions with broad geographic representation and target a variety of audiences within the medical education setting, from residents and medical students to faculty and inter-professionals.  Together they represent harbingers of change in medical schools across the country.

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