January 15, 2010

Vanderbilt well represented at AAMC meeting

Vanderbilt well represented at AAMC meeting

There was a strong Vanderbilt presence at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual meeting this year in Boston.

The AAMC is one of the nation's largest and most influential groups representing medical schools and teaching hospitals.

Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and Andre Churchwell, M.D., associate dean for Diversity in Graduate Medical Education and Faculty Affairs, presented together about diversity throughout medical education.

“Diversity is a top issue for the AAMC and for health care in this country,” Balser said. “In presenting before this group, Vanderbilt is gaining recognition for its commitment to make diversity an integral part of what we do throughout the entire continuum of medical education.”

Balser and Churchwell are working to increase diversity among the faculty and house staff at VUMC. They have been testing elements of a program first implemented at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) College of Medicine.

“We think this program is a promising way to weave diversity into the fabric of the medical training programs,” Churchwell said. “We are working to implement reasonable goals and to create bridges between Vanderbilt and other programs; for example, the historically black students and faculty at Fisk University.”

Also at the meeting, Scott Rodgers, M.D., associate dean for Medical Student Affairs, presented on VUSM's Student Wellness Program as part of a session entitled “Mental Health Services Survey: Serving Our Students' Well-Being through Innovative Programming.”

“There is growing concern among students and schools across the nation about the high rates of medical student burnout and depression, as well as the erosion of professionalism as students progress through their training,” Rodgers said. “The AAMC was interested in hearing about our program, having dubbed us ‘the poster child of student wellness programs’ in the country.”

Bonnie Miller, M.D., senior associate dean for Health Sciences Education, gave a presentation entitled, “The Formation of Professional Identity: The Impact of Patients,” a preliminary report on a research project that examined how poignant experiences with patients help to shape professional identity.

Don Brady, M.D., associate dean for Graduate Medical Education, organized and presented a workshop for the AAMC's Graduate Medical Education Leadership Course Alumni session entitled, “Relating Beyond Our Borders: International Issues in Graduate Medical Education.” He also gave a talk entitled “Observerships by International Medical Graduates: What's the Risk?”

Amy Fleming, M.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics, presented at a session exploring different approaches to peer mentoring that are being used in medical schools. She and Michelle Shepard, a third-year VUSM student, helped lead a group discussion session called “Peer Mentoring in Medical School Education: Three Growing Models.”

The AAMC represents accredited U.S. and Canadian medical schools as well as teaching hospitals and health systems that comprise 125,000 faculty members, 75,000 medical students and 106,000 resident physicians. Its goal is to improve health care and increase public trust by supporting education, research and patient care.