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A Word From the President: A Medical Education Meeting Focused on the Future

AAMC Reporter: October 2015

When the AAMC Medical Education Meeting convenes next month in Baltimore, it will bring together the foremost leaders in medical education to share innovative approaches to learning and assessment. Together with our constituent planning committee, we have designed a diverse program featuring educational innovation and current research on everything from competency-based education and educational technology to leadership and wellness, with the goal of sparking lively debate among teachers, learners, educational leaders, and researchers across the continuum of medical education.

The heart of the AAMC Medical Education Meeting program is the presentation of a collection of peer-reviewed, scholarly work in medical education. For more than half a century, the medical education community gathered at the Research in Medical Education Conference at Learn Serve Lead: The AAMC Annual Meeting to review and discuss scholarship in medical education. In evaluating the effectiveness and focus of Learn Serve Lead over the last few years, we saw an opportunity to develop a new meeting, centered on the most groundbreaking thinking and practice in medical education. This year, we received nearly 900 papers for 190 opportunities to present at the meeting.

In addition to research, this year’s meeting also will have a major focus on ground-level implementation. Our closing plenary speaker, Yvonne Steinert, PhD, clinical psychologist, professor of family medicine, and director of the Centre for Medical Education and the Richard and Sylvia Cruess Chair in Medical Education in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, will share her expertise on grounding educational innovation in research and ensuring our best practices are born from the best evidence—timely and practical advice that all of you can carry back to your home institutions. Dr. Steinert’s presentation will bookend our meeting, which opens with a talk by Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD, professor of neurology, physiology, and psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), School of Medicine. Dr. Gazzaley, who is also the founding director of the UCSF Neuroscience Imaging Center and director of the UCSF Gazzaley Lab, will speak about neuroplasticity and optimizing our cognitive abilities through custom-designed video games.

In developing the AAMC Medical Education Meeting, we quickly came to realize that the real strength of the conference lies in the camaraderie of this community. To further encourage connection among educators from across the country, we are introducing a number of new networking and mentoring opportunities this year. These include a speed networking event, where individual mentees will have four 10-minute mentoring sessions with seasoned mentors, as well as a facilitated poster session at the beginning of the meeting, where seasoned medical educators will walk attendees through the exhibit hall to offer tips on effectively reading a poster and interacting with presenters. These sessions will be particularly useful for those attending the meeting for the first time. We also hope to include colleagues unable to attend in person through a “virtual Medical Education Meeting,” based on content from this meeting and hosted on the AAMC website next January.

With a goal to serve the entire community of medical educators, not only those within the AAMC and our member institutions, we have invited our partner organizations, including the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, American Board of Medical Specialties, International Association of Medical Science Educators, and the Macy Conferences, to join us at the meeting and present updates on new and exciting developments within their organizations. You will also hear updates from AAMC programs, such as MCAT® and AMCAS®. In addition, I will host a town hall meeting with several of my AAMC staff colleagues, so that we have the opportunity to speak more informally and answer questions you have for us.

While we continue to evolve to meet the needs of medical educators, our long-term vision for the AAMC Medical Education Meeting is to advance and transform medical education, enhance teaching and learning, and enrich the community across the continuum of medical education. As we continue to work with our constituents to develop and deliver a 2015 meeting that best meets their needs, we already are planning for next year’s meeting. In just two years, this meeting has increased dramatically in size, and we have reached the boundaries of what the Medical Education Meeting can accomplish when hosted adjacent to Learn Serve Lead: The AAMC Annual Meeting. For that reason, the 2016 Medical Education Meeting will be its own, stand-alone conference, Sept. 7–9 in Orlando. By separating it from Learn Serve Lead, we will be able to accommodate the growing number of submissions and participants for the Medical Education Meeting and ensure that it can continue to develop as the premier meeting of medical educators in the nation—and ultimately, we hope, in the world.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the Medical Education Meeting in Baltimore this year, Orlando next year, and for many years to come.

Darrell G. Kirch, MD

Darrell G. Kirch, MD