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Acad Med. 2004 Aug;79(8):729-36.

The academy movement: a structural approach to reinvigorating the educational mission.

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Office of Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 521 Parnassus Avenue, Room C-254, San Francisco, CA 94143-0410, USA.


Despite its fundamental importance, the educational mission of most medical schools receives far less recognition and support than do the missions of research and patient care. This disparity is based, in part, on the predominance of discipline-based departments, which focus on the more sustainable enterprises of research and patient care. Where departmental teaching is emphasized, it tends to center on trainees directly associated with the department-leaving medical students unsupported. The authors argue that the ongoing erosion of the educational mission will never be reversed unless there are changes in the underlying structure of medical schools. Academies of medical educators are developing at a number of medical schools to advance the school-wide mission of education. The authors describe and compare key features of such organizations at eight medical schools, identified through an informal survey of the Society of Directors of Research in Medical Education, along with direct contacts with specific schools. Although these entities are relatively new, initial assessments suggest that they have already had a major impact on the recognition of teaching efforts by the faculty, fueled curricular reform, promoted educational scholarship, and garnered new resources to support teaching. The academy movement, as a structural approach to change, shows promise for reinvigorating the educational mission of academic medicine.

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