New Cleveland curriculum project wins major grant for teamwork training

Mar 22, 2018

As the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Cleveland prepares to launch a groundbreaking experiment in training the primary care physician of the future, endorsement of the project has come in the form of a major grant to train faculty in improved teamwork teaching practices.

The two-year, $299,272 award from the New York-based Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation is one of only three board grants bestowed by the foundation in 2017. Founded in 1930, Macy is the only national foundation dedicated to improving the training of health professionals.

“We are excited to be recognized by the Macy Foundation for the work we are doing,” said Heritage College, Cleveland, Dean Isaac Kirstein, D.O. “This is a great opportunity to align education and care delivery. The award will allow us to develop new models of training physicians while enhancing patient care.”

The Heritage College was awarded the grant to augment its Transformative Care Continuum, an accelerated demonstration project designed to meet the growing need for primary care physicians and to provide the best care for patients. The program, which would allow students who committed to careers in family medicine to complete medical school in as little as three years rather than the traditional four, will launch with a cohort of eight medical students this fall. The work surrounding the development of TCC has earned the college membership in the American Medical Association’s prestigious Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium.

Through the Transformative Care Continuum, created jointly by the Heritage College and Cleveland Clinic, each of the eight participating students will be embedded into an interprofessional health care team at one of two Cleveland Clinic sites – Cleveland Clinic Family Health Center, Lakewood, or Cleveland Clinic Akron General – within their first days of medical school. The students will progress at that same clinical site through to graduation, residency and board certification, with Cleveland Clinic anticipating hiring successful graduates to serve as physician leaders within its system.

To make this work, members of each interprofessional team must be able not only to function as a tightly knit medical unit, but to teach medical students to work effectively with the team as well. The Macy grant will support a project, titled “Transforming the High Functioning Care Team into an Interprofessional Education Team,” that will equip team members – including pharmacists, nurses, allied staff and family medicine faculty – to do this by training them in better teaching practices, including improved assessment and feedback.

Heading up development of the program is TCC Director Leanne Chrisman-Khawam, M.D., M.Ed., an assistant professor of social medicine at the Heritage College, Cleveland. Kirstein noted that “a key innovation recognized by this award is that we are flipping the concept of interprofessional education on its head. Rather than figuring out how students from different health professions can learn together, Dr. Chrisman-Khawam will create a program to train pharmacists, psychologists, nurses and social workers to be effective faculty and teach medical students right at the point of care.”

The grant will allow the TCC to offer students intense interprofessional training focused on cultivating leadership, care coordination and team-based work. It will turn interprofessional caregivers into interprofessional educators who can effectively teach students how to work together in teams and complete innovative population health projects, with an ultimate goal of improving patient care. Those students will then go on to become interprofessional educators for upcoming medical students.

“TCC students will have an opportunity to engage with interprofessionals at the point of service as well as in the communities they serve, bringing health innovations to patients where they are,” Chrisman-Khawam said.