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Acad Med. 1998 Feb;73(2):146-51.

Forum on the future of academic medicine: session III--getting from here to there.

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Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC 20037, USA.


Participants at the third meeting of the AAMC's Forum on the Future of Academic Medicine in June 1997 were asked to give their views of what the main characteristics of successful medical schools should be in the year 2010, given that market pressures are becoming increasingly dominant in the health care environment. The most-cited characteristics concerned structure and management systems. Participants were then asked how far along they thought schools had come in acquiring these and other characteristics they had named. There was wide disagreement on this question, but general consensus that a major obstacle to change at most schools is that faculty do not feel a sense of crisis and thus are not motivated to change. A recurring question at all three forum meetings was whether academic medical centers (i.e., medical schools and their associated teaching hospitals) have an obligation to serve the poor in the future health care system where cross-subsidies will have diminished. Some participants said that service to the poor should be financed through some explicit state-federal mechanism. Others agreed, and added that the treatment of the poor is a valuable educational tool. Dr. Cohen, president of the AAMC, updated the forum on the progress of an AAMC effort to improve the capacity of medical schools to understand their financial status. Another topic was how the AAMC can assist its members through the difficult period of change that market imperatives have created. A guest, Nicholas J. DeGrazia, PhD, a former academic administrator and now a specialist at helping troubled private companies, addressed the forum about the conditions that make change happen in organizations and noted that in academic medicine, there is not a sufficiently concise sense of dissatisfaction to spark meaningful change. He also discussed the characteristics of a successful change agent. Dr. Cohen suggested that perhaps the AAMC could organize a seminar on how to prepare change agents in medical schools. As in the two previous meetings, discussions were wide-ranging and candid, and there was a sense that forum members and others should find ways to have similar types of exchanges with their faculties, administrators, and students because time is of the essence as the market marches on.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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