Graduate medical education programs traditionally emphasize clinical work. Leaders at Johns Hopkins All Children’s took a different approach in designing their graduate medical education programs, emphasizing leadership training and a heavy dose of research.
“When the office of medical education and this new residency program were being developed, we wanted to emphasize how residents could be competent clinicians and leaders who are moving the needle forward in terms of biomedical discovery,” says Akshata Hopkins, M.D., FAAP, F.H.M., interim pediatric residency program director with the hospital. “Our goal is to support and inspire change agents who will discover and lead.”
To achieve that objective, the graduate medical education programs offer different tracks focused on clinical translational research and systems-based implementation science. Those residents interested in systems research also have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty mentors. Student and faculty team members may co-present at national, regional and local conferences, obtain grant funding, participate in multisite collaborative research and publish in peer-reviewed journals.
Johns Hopkins All Children’s started the first new pediatric residency program since the 1970s, admitting its first class in 2014. It drew on lessons learned through the residency program at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, where modern medical education was born. The hospital also has been adding fellowship programs, recently launching ones for neonatal-perinatal medicine, hospice and palliative care, and hospitalist medicine.
“Our residents are given many opportunities because we hold them to a different level of accountability,” Hopkins says. “Starting with recruitment and orientation, we set the expectation that our residents will lead and apply inventive strategies to constantly improve the experience and lives of patients. That sense of curiosity will fuel the research of the future, and that is what our faculty always stresses.”
To support innovative excellence in educational programs, Hopkins and her colleagues strive to eliminate any barriers residents or fellows encounter. That consistent commitment to outstanding training of future leaders benefits everyone involved.
“We do whatever we can to open doors, enhance the clinical learning environment and move research along,” Hopkins says. “It is a symbiotic relationship.”
Fellows at Johns Hopkins All Children’s are encouraged to explore every aspect of a medical career, including research.
“Many individuals who pursue medicine want to take care of patients first and foremost and do not consider themselves scientists,” says Robert Dudas, M.D., chief of academic hospital medicine and director for the pediatric hospital medicine fellowship program at Johns Hopkins All Children’s. “Exposing them to research helps them understand how scientific discoveries contribute to that mission of patient care. That experience sometimes lights a spark in people who did not know making an impact through research could be a career trajectory.”
Dudas is closely involved in a medical education study of educational interventions that includes simulation research using mannequins at Johns Hopkins All Children’s state-of-the-art Center for Medical Simulation and Innovative Education.
“One learning option is to use a very lifelike, $100,000 model of an ill child to teach students how to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Another is to teach someone from a textbook or through a lecture,” Dudas says. “We apply scientific methodology by having two groups of students try each method and compare the results. Those are the types of things that we do to decide how to best teach our doctors the skills they need to care for patients.”
This story first appeared in Johns Hopkins All Children’s Leading Care magazine.