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Data Publications



January 2015: Expanding the LCME Severe Action Decisions Analysis to Gauge the Effect of the 2002 Accreditation Standards Reformatting

January 15, 2015

Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) standards guide medical education programs (MEPs) in preparing for accreditation survey visits and shape accreditation decisions. In 2002, these standards were reformatted from prose to numbered format to explicitly link standards to the self-study questions to which MEPs respond. The change clarified the information needed to demonstrate compliance. Prior research defined an LCME severe action decision (SAD) as one that grants a MEP a shortened accreditation term, places it on warning or probation status, or withdraws its accreditation. This Analysis in Brief builds on prior research by expanding the time periods of analysis to see if the finding of increased SADs following the 2002 standards reformatting continues. Results show that SADs comprised 15 percent of LCME decisions made in the first time period, and 31 percent of decisions made in the second (see Table). These results suggest that the LCME standards reformatting has improved the LCME’s ability to monitor MEPs and facilitate a program’s quality improvement and accreditation preparation efforts. The increase in SADs may be because MEPs were unaware of this improvement because their compliance with standards is assessed every eight years. As a result, in 2014, the LCME created a new standard requiring ongoing monitoring of compliance with its standards.


December 2014: Community Health Needs Assessments: Engaging Community Partners to Improve Health

December 11, 2014

The Affordable Care Act requires that 501(c)(3) hospitals conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in conjunction with the communities they serve. For hospitals, health systems, and public health agencies to develop, implement, and evaluate tailored community health improvement strategies, an understanding of locally available resources and community residents’ specific health and health care needs is essential. To facilitate this understanding, this Analysis in Brief explores aspects of AAMC-member hospitals’ conduct of their CHNAs. Survey results indicate that at 83 percent of responding institutions, a senior leader such as a CEO, CMO, VP, or comparable position, played a significant role in CHNA development and implementation. Results also show that AAMC-member hospitals engaged community members in various ways to understand better local needs and assets.  Seventy percent or more of the CHNAs reviewed prioritized access to medical care, mental health, and obesity as important community health needs (Table 1). Given the impact of the social determinants of health on the well-being of a community and the magnitude and seeming intransigence of health and health care inequities in the United States, engaging with communities to identify and intervene on salient health needs is crucial for academic medical centers and their partners to continue to move toward health and health care equity


October 2014: Interprofessional Educational Opportunities and Medical Students’ Understanding of the Collaborative Care of Patients

October 22, 2014

Interest in promoting interprofessional education (IPE) in U.S. medical and other health professions schools is not new, but has received a renewed attention over the past several years. Further, the focus on improving the health care system by providing higher-quality, low-cost care has intensified the need for providing care through interdisciplinary teams. This Analysis in Brief examines medical students’ reports of curricula-based IPE opportunities in their training. Results show that over two-thirds of respondents reported having had curricular-based opportunities to learn with students from different health professions. The findings of this study also suggest that medical students who learn alongside students from a greater number of other health professions also report having 1) a better understanding of collaborative, interprofessional care of patients, and 2) significantly higher levels of overall satisfaction with their medical training. These observed relationships do not imply causality; rather, they indicate that a greater diversity of IPE opportunities is associated with other educational and curricular experiences that enhance students understanding of interprofessional care and increase overall satisfaction with medical training.




July 2014 Analysis in Brief: The AAMC Fee Assistance Program and Access to U.S. Medical School

July 10, 2014

The AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP) is designed to improve access to applying to medical school for those with limited financial means, given that the application entails expenses that occur during various steps of the process. Since the mid-2000s, the number of FAP applications and awards has grown in a rapid and sustained fashion. The extent to which FAP is supporting aspirants and applicants of limited financial means is important in light of studies suggesting a decrease in the percent of lower socio-economic status applicants and matriculants over past decades. This Analysis in Brief (AIB) examines the extent to which the increase in FAP awards is observed among: 1) those who take the MCAT, 2) those who apply to medical school, and 3) those who are ultimately accepted to medical school. Results show sharp increases in the percentages of FAP awardees among those who took the MCAT exam, applied through AMCAS, and were ultimately accepted to medical school (see Figure 1). These findings suggest that those with limited financial means who enter the applicant pool each year have become more likely to apply for and receive fee assistance, thus improving access to applying to medical school among well-qualified applicants of lower income backgrounds.



U.S. Medical School Faculty Perceptions of Department Governance

May 28, 2014

Medical school faculty are a critical resource in our nation’s medical schools. Understanding factors comprising faculty job satisfaction is essential given the high costs of faculty turnover and the nation’s need to ensure a high-quality workforce in light of impending physician shortages. In this Analysis in Brief, data on how specific components of department governance differ by department type (i.e., clinical versus basic science faculty) and faculty perceptions of specific aspects of department governance in nine basic science and 24 clinical disciplines are presented. 

Results show, for example, that perceptions of governance significantly differ by clinical versus basic science departments. Analyses of variation by specific department show that among clinical departments, faculty respondents in physical medicine and rehabilitation and otolaryngology were the most positive about department governance. As satisfaction with department governance is a driver of overall satisfaction with one’s department, understanding departmental differences may suggest specific tools and strategies that department chairs could use to improve the workplace for their faculty members, and, in turn, influence positive change within the medical school.


Graduation Rates and Attrition Factors for U.S. Medical School Students

May 9, 2014

Previous reported graduation rates for U.S. medical students reflect the graduation rates of all students, including those who obtained more than one degree during their time in medical school. This Analysis in Brief presents current data on graduation rates for U.S. medical students, taking into account specific types of degree program (i.e., single- and multiple-degree programs).

In addition, it contains an analysis of the growth in the number and rate of student participation in non-joint degree research and taking a leave of absence from medical schools, as well as an examination of the growth in participation in multiple degree programs. Results show, for example, that the four-year graduation rates for M.D.-only students fell from 90 percent in late 1970 to around 83 percent in the 1980s, where it has remained. 

Results also show that the number of U.S. medical school students enrolled in programs leading to multiple degrees (i.e., M.D. combined with another graduate degree) reflects steady growth in the number M.D.-Ph.D. students over the past two decades: from 1993 to 2013, the number of entering medical students increased by 17 percent, while the number of students enrolled in M.D.-Ph.D. programs increased by more than 100 percent.

These results can be used to understand better the factors that affect time to graduation, which can facilitate schools’ evaluation of student’s progress and advise students during their academic careers.



Personal Well-being Among Medical Students: Findings from an AAMC Pilot Survey

April 17, 2014

Research demonstrates a high prevalence of psychological distress among U.S. medical students, and the effects of distress may be more deleterious to the well-being of students from traditionally underrepresented groups. The negative consequences of distress during medical trainingsuch as reduced empathy, lower ethical conduct, and substance abuseare problematic if they undermine the goal of graduating knowledgeable, effective, and professional physicians.

In this Analysis in Brief, findings on medical student well-being and examines whether or not specific populations of students are disproportionately vulnerable to distress are reported. Results show that there are significant group differences across five measures of well-being. For example, a higher level of stress was reported among first generation college status, female, LGB, Asian (compared to white), and URiM (compared to white) respondents.

Over the past decade, schools have become more aware of the high stress level among their students and many schools have or are implementing wellness initiatives. It will be important, going forward, to examine whether these interventions reduce the perceived stress of medical students and, specifically, if they are helpful for the student subgroups identified in this work, as they are the ones negatively affected by the medical school experience.





U.S. Medical School Full-time Faculty Attrition

February 7, 2014

This study may provide insight into various policy issues. Decreased retention for full professors, along with the increasing number of faculty members in medical schools, raise questions of how best to recruit and support junior faculty, as well as mid-career mentoring plans to advance associate professors.


Personnel Policies to Support Part-time Faculty Members in U.S. Medical Schools: A Status Report

January 2, 2014

Academic medicine has used part-time work schedules as a mechanism to recruit and retain high-quality faculty members, and part-time faculty members represent an important component of the faculty workforce at LCME-accredited U.S. medical schools. This Analysis in Brief reports on the state of faculty policies currently in place for part-time faculty work in U.S. medical schools.

Survey results show that definitions of part-time status differed markedly by institution. Results also show that while over  three-quarters of U.S medical schools had defined faculty career tracks in place for their part-time basic science and clinical faculty members, slightly more than one-quarter of all the responding institutions had a written policy in place that articulated productivity and performance expectations for these faculty. These findings suggest that opportunities for the clarification of productivity and performance expectations for these faculty members by individual schools exist, which could benefit the part-time faculty member who may be seeking guidance and could benefit the institution by establishing a standard approach and procedure to guide these appointments.