Category Archives: Physicians in training
By Desmond K. Runyan, MD, DrPH, national program director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program
I was deeply saddened to learn that Margaret E. “Maggie” Mahoney, a pioneer in health care and philanthropy, passed away recently. As head of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars program, an influential and acclaimed physician training program that Mahoney helped create, I have the great honor of carrying out one aspect of her great legacy in health and philanthropy: improving health and health care by supporting innovative thinkers in health and medicine.
Mahoney herself was one of those innovative thinkers—and I am so grateful she had the courage to stand by her unconventional convictions.
I never met Maggie Mahoney, but I attended a talk she gave to the RWJF Clinical Scholars program annual meeting Scottsdale, Ariz., back in 1980, if I am not mistaken. Then the head of the Carnegie Foundation, Mahoney described the origin and original purpose of the program and sent a clear message that the program would continue into the future. If the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ever ceased supporting it, she said, the Carnegie Foundation would adopt it as its own.
This is but one story illustrating the great and lasting influence Maggie had on health and health care. She certainly influenced my career, and she also improved the lives of some 1,200 Clinical Scholar alums, and countless patients and other medical providers all over the country.
White Coat Notes, a blog of the Boston Globe, last week looked at two recent reports calling for changes in physician training.
Leaders at the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Care in Boston published a report in the September issue of Health Affairs calling for medical education to include more training in empathy and responding to patients’ emotions. These skills are taught early on in medical school, they say, but not sufficiently reinforced.
The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation has also called for changes to medical education, and released a list of proposed reforms at a conference last May. George E. Thibault, MD, president of the Foundation, spoke to White Coat Notes about those recommendations.
“It’s increasingly clear that we’re not necessarily matching our training with changing demographics and a changing health care delivery system,” he said.
Among the proposals from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation: Expand training sites to non-hospital settings; expand the topics of medical education to include preventive care, aging, and the socioeconomic determinants of health; make medical education interdisciplinary; and make graduate medical education more accountable to the public good.
Read an RWJF Human Capital blog post by George Thibault about interprofessional education.
What do you think? Do you agree with the recommendations in these reports? Are there other areas of medical education that need to change to keep up with changes in our health care system? Register below to leave a comment.