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Dr Vineet Arora Discusses Policy, Equity Goals in Approach to Medical Education

As dean for medical education at the University of Chicago, Vineet Arora, MD, MAPP, takes a longitudinal view of the training pathway with an eye toward equity in opportunity and system-level improvement of processes.

As dean for medical education at the University of Chicago, Vineet Arora, MD, MAPP, takes a longitudinal view of the training pathway with an eye toward equity in opportunity and system-level improvement of processes.

Transcript

What are some of your objectives in your role as dean for medical education at UChicago Medicine?

So, as dean for medical education at University of Chicago, I oversee the really the whole pathway of training for the physician workforce, all the way from undergraduate medical education to graduate medical education, residencies, and fellowships to continuing medical education with faculty, as well as provide leadership for our simulation center. And so I get to see the gamut of things, and through our pathways programs that extend into the community, I’m interacting with students as young as high school and college also thinking about pre-med.

I think one of my main goals is really to ensure equity of educational opportunity for everyone. I think that is incredibly important as medical education is very costly and it’s also very long. And so that’s one of the reasons we’re heavily looking into how to help lower the cost of medical education, but also to make it more impactful.

I would say that I have been a researcher, so I come to this job as a researcher, which is a little bit unusual, and I think sort of resonates with a lot of the work that you’re thinking about around health policy. I have a public policy degree, so I think not only about the student in front of me or the resident in front of me, but about the system they work in. And so, how do we optimize well-being, not just from a personal resilience approach, but also think about work hours and make sure that the patients are getting the best care that they can, even if shifts are ending earlier or handoffs are occurring?

And similarly, how do we ensure that academic faculty are advancing and feeling productive while we improve the systems that they work in, whether it’s through optimizing the electronic health record and also providing value for patients? And so I’ve done a lot of work looking at how to implement things like ABIM’s [the American Board of Internal Medicine] Choosing Wisely program into practice to reduce unnecessary care, which does 2 things: It not only improves care for patients, it also lowers cost of care, but it actually reduces the workload on the clinicians, right, if you’re not ordering as many things or doing as many things. And so I feel a close kinship to the work that Dr [Ishani] Ganguli’s doing with cascades because it definitely overlaps with a lot of the work that I’ve done looking at unnecessary care.

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