The Coalition’s long-standing Massachusetts Medical Schools Collaborative has been hard at work. All four medical schools in Massachusetts are working together on several fronts around serious illness care. Led by Dr. Jennifer Reidy, Chief of Palliative Care at UMass Memorial Medical Center, the Collaborative recently launched focus groups with fourth year medical students.
“I think most medical students learn about serious illness care either in elective courses or ‘on the fly’ by observing other clinicians, so I’m interested to hear how they have or have not been taught these skills,” said Dr. Reidy. The focus groups are being facilitated by Dr. Roberta Goldman, a medical anthropologist from Brown University. “The students spoke very movingly about their training around serious illness care, positive and negative role modeling they have witnessed, and their experiences talking with patients and families about serious illness,” said Dr. Goldman.
Designed to give students the opportunity to share openly about the formal and informal serious illness care education they’ve received, the focus groups will provide rich context for the Collaborative’s work in curriculum and faculty development. The Collaborative is also working on manuscripts about our serious illness communication competencies and curriculum mapping, and will be presenting at the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine's Annual Assembly in February.