The University of Minnesota will lead a new center that will provide national guidance on the best ways to reshape health care education so graduates learn how to practice collaboratively.
The federal government will contribute $4 million over five years to the center, the only one of its kind in the country. Four national foundations have agreed to kick in an additional $8 million.
The U of M's Barbara Brandt, the principle investigator on the project, says the health care system is transforming rapidly. Health education needs to keep pace with the new team approach to care as hospitals and clinics try to improve outcomes and control costs, she added.
"In the past," she said, "we were educating students in silos, and often the students wouldn't see each other until the third or fourth year of the curriculum or even afterwards when they get out into practice."
Brandt added that "there's a great need to totally transform the way that we educate students."
Health care employers have been urging schools to revamp their health education curriculum, she said, and many students have sought the changes, too.
The curriculum changes that the center proposes could be used to determine health education accreditation at medical and health professional schools around the nation. Brandt predicts the effort will take perhaps as long as a generation to fully implement.