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Graduate Research, Education and Training (GREAT) Group

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The Graduate Research, Education and Training (GREAT) Group provides professional development to, and fosters the exchange of information and ideas among the faculty and administrative leaders of biomedical PhD, MD-PhD, and postdoctoral programs.

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Group on Graduate Research, Education, and Training

About

On September 19, 1996, the AAMC Executive Council approved a proposal to establish a new AAMC Group to promote quality PhD and postdoctoral education in biomedical science. Membership in this body, termed the Group on Graduate Research, Education, and Training (GREAT Group), includes the faculty and administrative leaders of the PhD and postdoctoral education programs conducted under the auspices of accredited U.S. and Canadian medical schools. The GREAT Group maintains close ties with the Council of Deans and the Council of Academic Societies through special representation on the GREAT Group Steering Committee and the Administrative Boards of the two councils.

The Group's professional development meetings have been held annually since October 1994. These events bring together an expanding number of faculty and administrative leaders to interact with national experts concerned with the quality and quantity of biomedical PhD programs. These meetings have led to a general recognition of the challenges and opportunities confronting these programs and an agenda and organizational structure that the AAMC may use to address them. At the annual meeting, new members are elected to the GREAT Group Steering Committee.

In 2004, a MD-PhD Section was established to promote the development, growth and nurturing of physician-scientist training programs by representing the interest of MD-PhD programs. In 2008, a Postdoctorate Leaders Section was established to support and enhance the quality of postdoctoral research training and professional development for postdoctoral appointees by providing a forum for institutional leaders of postdoctoral education and training.

Issues that have been and will continue to be explored within the context of the GREAT Group activities include:

  • factors determining the quality of biomedical PhD degrees;
  • the need for modernized PhD curricula;
  • the challenges and opportunities posed by international PhD candidates and graduates;
  • balancing the production of biomedical PhD graduates with career opportunity;
  • the special nature and organization of graduate and postdoctoral education in the evolving academic medical center;
  • institutional support for optimal postdoctoral training;
  • diversity issues in biomedical graduate and postdoctoral programs; and
  • the expectations, realities, and obligations of mentors and mentees.


GREAT Group representatives are appointed by the deans and/or CEOs of AAMC member institutions.

Membership

AAMC Member Institutions

Membership to the GREAT Group is made under the authority of the medical dean of medical schools that are members of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The medical dean may delegate this authority or share it with the graduate dean or equivalent. The dean or deans shall nominate an individual, or individuals (as appropriate) from faculty or administrative ranks who serve(s) in an academic leadership role(s) in the graduate programs involving medical school faculty.

If you are interested in becoming a GREAT Group representative and are a member of a medical school faculty, please contact your medical school dean.

Non-AAMC Member Institutions

The GREAT Group Steering Committee may also appoint voting members to the GREAT Group from non-AAMC member institutions when the Committee determines that those individuals represent biomedical training programs that are important for their quality, affiliations with medical schools, contributions to a diverse workforce, or other key characteristics. These members shall have all privileges of the floor and shall be entitled to one vote per member. Their term of membership shall be renewable yearly by the GREAT Group Steering Committee.

The GREAT Group Listserv is available to all GREAT Group representatives. New member requests should contain the following information and be sent to memberservices@aamc.org:

  • Name
  • Position/Title
  • Institution
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number
  • Institutional email address

Committees

The Group on Graduate Research, Education, and Training offers numerous opportunities for members to collaborate and participate in group decisions and governance.

MD-PhD Section

In the fall of 2004, the Executive Council approved a proposal to establish a new MD-PhD Section of the GREAT Group. Membership in this body includes the faculty who serve as the institutional leaders of MD-PhD programs (MSTP and others) at medical schools.

The mission of the MD-PhD Section is to advance the education, training and career development of physician-scientists, with an emphasis on training in the MD-PhD programs of LCME accredited medical schools. Individuals who are trained as both physicians and scientists make unique contributions to biomedical research, the translation of that research from theory to practice, and the leadership of academic health centers. The Section will promote the development, growth, and nurturing of physician-scientist training programs by representing the interests of MD-PhD programs and their students in the areas of admissions, educational programs, scientific curricula, research and clinical training, and post-graduate career development. To accomplish this, the Section will strive to:

  • foster the development of innovative and successful methods for the education, training, and career development of physician-scientists across the spectrum of basic and clinical research;
  • promote the sharing of these methods and the rigorous evaluation of their success;
  • advocate for a continuing investment in the education and development of physician-scientists at all stages of their training and careers, and;
  • serve as a resource within GREAT and the AAMC on matters relating to the Section's areas of interest and expertise.


The goals of the MD-PhD Section include:

  • facilitating and enhancing the ability of institutions to improve human health through the education and training of physician-scientists.
  • aiding in the optimization of the training of physician-scientists at the pre- and post-graduate levels so as to improve the likelihood that they will become successful investigators in a timely manner.
  • gathering and analyzing data in support of its mission.
  • advocating for effective integration of training and career pathways for physician-scientists at institutional, local, and national levels.
  • educating the public and policy makers regarding the contribution of physician-scientists in the discovery and translation of biomedical research into human disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
  • fostering networking and information exchange among MD-PhD programs and their leadership, and
  • coordinating and engaging with entities within the AAMC that have complementary and/or overlapping interests.

MD-PhD Leadership and Committees

The MD-PhD section of the Group on Graduate Research, Education, and Training offers numerous opportunities for members to collaborate and participate in group decisions and governance

Postdoctorate Leaders Section

In October 2002, the GREAT Group established a Postdoctorate Committee to focus on policy issues related to postdoctorate education. During the course of this committee's deliberation, increasing consensus developed within the GREAT Group Steering Committee and the membership of the desirability of forming a Postdoctorate Leaders Section to meet a national need. In February 2008, the AAMC Executive Council approved a proposal to establish a new Postdoctorate Leaders Section of the GREAT Group. Membership in this body includes the institutional leaders of postdoctoral training programs at medical schools.

The mission of the Postdoctorate Leaders Section of the GREAT Group is to support and enhance the quality of postdoctoral research training and professional development by providing a forum for the faculty members and administrative officials responsible for postdoctoral education and training policy matters at LCME accredited medical schools and teaching hospitals.

Goals

The goals are to:

  • Facilitate and enhance the ability of institutional leaders to provide quality postdoctoral research training and professional development for postdoctoral appointees at their institution.
  • Support the development of institutional policies for postdoctoral appointees such as equitable compensation, benefits, term appointment limits, leave policies, and grievance procedures;
  • Support and provide guidance for the development and functioning of postdoctoral offices;
  • Develop opportunities to share models of good practices for postdoctorate policies and educational programs;
  • Acknowledge, support, and develop strategies that promote successful mentoring relationships among postdoctoral trainees and their faculty mentors;
  • Acknowledge and support strategies that promote diversity to broaden the participation of underrepresented populations;
  • Foster interaction and collaboration with funding agencies and professional organizations; and
  • Identify metrics that allow institutions to systematically assess the quality of their postdoctoral research training and professional development efforts and assist them in gathering and analyzing data.

Postdoctorate Leaders Section Committees

The Postdoctorate Leaders Section Steering Committee manages the affairs of the Section and approves all committee appointments.

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