More Cooperation Needed Between Generalists and Specialists (Who Will Only Get More Specialized)

Symposium on lessons from national initiatives on health professions education

Six health workforce initiatives collaboratively convened the symposium, "Primary Care Education for the 21st Century: Lessons from National Initiatives," on September 24–26, 1998, in Baltimore, Md.

These initiatives—Community Partnerships for Health Professions Education Initiative, Generalist Physician Initiative, Health of the Public Network, Health Professions School in Service to the Nation Program, Interdisciplinary Generalist Curriculum Project, and Partnerships for Training—were sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the Pew Charitable Trusts, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and/or federal agencies.

While each of these initiatives has its own specific focus, all sought to create sustainable institutional change and to graduate health professionals competent to practice in a rapidly changing health care environment.

Based on responses to a competitive call for papers, a planning committee drawn from the participating initiatives selected papers, seminars, and discussion topics.

Key Results:

  • More than 400 people—health professions educators from various disciplines representing 98 health professions educational institutions, along with representatives of the federal government—attended the conference.

    The symposium brought together members from more than 14 initiatives. Conference planners reported that educators in the same fields who seldom have a chance to interact had the opportunity to learn about one another's work and successes.
  • The symposium featured 58 papers, 33 seminars, and 23 breakfast discussions. The Pew Charitable Trusts sponsored a special dinner during the symposium to award its annual Pew Primary Care Achievement awards.
  • The four plenary speakers addressed:
    • Sustainable financing for community-based and ambulatory education: what changes are needed in organizational and public policy.
    • Developing future-oriented competencies in the health professions: what changes are needed in the education processes for today and the future.
    • Social and organizational reform for educational change: how an institution can fuel and sustain innovation.
    • Shaping the future: a town meeting.
  • A fourth plenary session engaged participants in focusing on future directions and sharing what they learned at the conference.

The Conference Proceedings contains conference details, plenary speeches, and seminar and peer paper abstracts; it was distributed to planning committee members, cosponsoring initiatives, and HRSA.