Texas Student Doctor: October 2011

News from the TMA Medical Student Section

TMA 2011 Fall Conference Almost Here 

Join leaders from across Texas for TMA's 2011 Fall Conference Oct. 21-22 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin.

The Medical Student Section business meeting will be from noon to 1:30 pm on Saturday, Oct. 22, in Hill Country B on the first floor of the Hyatt.

Students are invited to join members of the Resident and Fellow Section for a special panel discussion on practice setting options starting at 1:30 pm in Foothills 1 on the 17th floor. You can hear firsthand from young physicians in a range of practice settings from solo practice to large group to academia on how they selected their career path, plus the good, the bad, and the ugly they have learned along the way.

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Senator Pushes Austin Medical School 

Could a new medical school be in Austin's future? Yes, if one state lawmaker gets his way. State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) last month announced a plan to establish a medical school, a teaching hospital, a series of neighborhood clinics, and a health-related research institute in Austin.

Senator Watson also announced the creation of an organizing committee to get the project started.

In the past couple of years, the UT Southwestern Medical Center and Seton Hospital have collaborated to expand medical research and training in Austin. And, UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, MD, recently said he wants to expand the program so that students can spend all four years of medical school in Austin.

Senator Watson described his proposal as "one of those economic development opportunities that enhance our economy in ways we cannot even fathom right now, but that also enhance our quality of living."

The school needs approval from the legislature and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

TMA policy supports new medical schools in Texas and expanding existing medical schools, but the association does not take a position on where new campuses should be located.

The TMA Council on Medical Education invited Senator Watson to present his plan to the council at its meeting at TMA's Fall Conference.

Members of the initial organizing committee, as described by Senator Watson, are:

  • UT System Chancellor Cigarroa and Executive Vice Chancellor Kenneth Shine, MD;
  • UT-Southwestern Medical Center representative Sue Cox, MD, regional dean for Austin programs;
  • The University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers and Executive Vice President and Provost Steve Leslie;
  • Seton Healthcare Family President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Barnett;
  • St. David's Healthcare System President and Chief Executive Officer David Huffstutler;
  • Current Board Chair Tom Coopwood, MD, and incoming Board Chair Rosie Mendoza of Central Health, Austin's county health services district;
  • Austin Community Foundation President Chief Executive Officer Jeff Garvey;
  • Clarke Heidrick, incoming chair of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce;
  • Representatives of the Travis County Medical Society;
  • At least one representative from other local health care clinics;
  • LIVESTRONG Foundation Chief Executive Officer Doug Ulman;
  • Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell; and
  • Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe.

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Legislation Would Expand Residency Positions 

Three Democratic U.S. senators last month filed legislation that would increase Medicare-supported resident training positions by 15 percent (approximately 15,000 slots) over five years, beginning in fiscal year 2013.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) filed Senate Bill 1627, the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2011 [PDF] on Sept. 23.

The bill is pending in the Senate Committee on Finance.

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Macy Foundation Report Urges GME Reform 

Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation's latest report [PDF] describes a "convergence of forces" taking place that makes now the perfect time to once again push for broad reform in graduate medical education (GME). This report follows the foundation’s first conference summary issued in February on financing and regulatory issues related to GME. The second report presents 14 recommendations developed by a panel at a conference held in May in Atlanta that focus on a call for change, based on six major consensus conclusions. The recommendations are broad-based and will require both planning and regulatory changes on the national level, as well as implementation and planning at the local level from institutions sponsoring GME programs.  

The report identifies four main external forces making reform in GME necessary:

  1. Changing demographics (aging population) and disease burden of our patient population;
  2. Transformation of our health care system with care delivery and technology moving out of the hospital and into other facilities, the community, and the home;
  3. Explosive growth in health care technology and our need to use these technologies with optimal efficiency and safety for patients; and
  4. Unsustainable growth in the cost of our current health care system.

All proposals considered by the conference panel were based on and guided by the principle that GME is a public good, and this led to the panel adopting six major consensus conclusions:

  1. GME must meet the needs of — and be accountable to — the public.
  2. High-quality GME requires experience with a diverse mix of patients, clinical problems, and health care delivery mechanisms to support a curriculum that addresses evolving patient, population, and health care system needs and expectations.
  3. There is both need and opportunity for greater efficiency in delivering GME. Accomplishing this will also help address national physician workforce needs, while enhancing the quality of training.
  4. Medical education represents a continuum of lifelong learning. Educators should examine phases and transitions between the phases of medical education with regard to coordination, efficiency, and appropriate performance assessment.
  5. GME must be organized and supported at the institutional and national levels to ensure that residency and fellowship programs are designed and conducted according to sound, broadly endorsed educational practices, within an environment conducive to education; and given sufficient flexibility to innovate and achieve optimal outcomes.
  6. Health professions education requires a robust body of knowledge — beyond what is currently available — to optimize quality and outcomes.

Debra Weinstein, MD, vice president for graduate medical education, Partners Healthcare System, Inc., Massachusetts General Hospital, chaired the 39-member panel. Its members included Lois Bready, MD, senior associate dean for graduate medical education and designated institutional official, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

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AMA Meeting in November 

The American Medical Association Medical Student Section Interim Meeting will be Nov.10-12 in New Orleans.

Meeting events include more than 25 educational programs topics, two days of policymaking sessions, the 9th Annual Research Symposium, and elections for chair-elect of the Governing Council and student representative on the AMA Board of Trustees.

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Resources for You and Your Chapter  

Looking for help planning chapter events? Want clarification on parliamentary procedure? Not sure who the contact is for your council or committee?

Visit the MSS Leadership Manual for resources on a range of topics from resolution writing to funding to leadership opportunities and more.

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TMA on Facebook and Twitter 

For more inside news about TMA events and issues, become a fan of the Medical Student Section on Facebook.

You also can stay up-to-date about Texas medicine by subscribing via RSS to Blogged Arteries, which provides breaking news you need to know, and by following @texmed on Twitter.

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Last Updated On

May 13, 2016