UT System Regents Updated on TIME Initiative

AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents today (Mar. 2) received an update on the Transformation In Medical Education (TIME) initiative – a multi-institutional program aimed at increasing the effectiveness and relevance of physician education while shortening its duration.

Understanding that physician education has changed little in the past 100 years and is in desperate need of modernization, the UT System Board of Regents approved $4 million in Available University Funds (AUF) to fund the TIME program in 2010. Since then, partnerships among six academic and four health institutions of the System have formed to develop pilot programs.

"I am pleased to report our academic and health institutions are developing and implementing innovative programs aimed at shortening the time to degree," said Kenneth I. Shine, M.D., executive vice chancellor for health affairs. "As I have previously said, medical education takes too long, costs too much, is often redundant and does not adequately prepare students in the health care systems of the 21st Century."

The TIME initiative is a major goal of UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa’s Framework for Advancing Excellence Across the UT System.

Examples of the new programs are:

SHAPE: UT Southwestern, Houston, Austin Professional Education (UT Austin, UT Southwestern Medical Center, and UT Health Science Center - Houston)

SHAPE is an accelerated medical education program developed as a partnership between the UTAUS, UTHSC-H and UTSWMC medical campuses. Each year 60 UTAUS freshmen will be selected for early admission to a partnering medical school and will then complete their undergraduate work in three years. The two medical school partners will be integrated into professional identity formation activities and early clinical experiences at UTAUS and will host summer professional development opportunities on their campuses. All three schools will modify their curricula and create assessment tools to allow students to advance to medical school based on demonstrated competencies. An individualized flex year at each medical school will enable SHAPE students to acquire advanced research or professional skills and to grow as future physician-leaders.

A-PRIME: Accelerated Professional, Relevant, Integrated Medical Education (UT Brownsville, UT El Paso, UT Pan American, UT Medical Branch - Galveston and UT Health Science Center - Houston)

The goal of the A-PRIME TIME partnership is to develop a model of physician education that is widely recognized for its innovative approach, educational effectiveness, and professionalism of its graduates through a curriculum that: is accessible to diverse groups of students and produces competent, compassionate physicians; fosters students to become caring and compassionate physicians by learning about a career in medicine while developing a professional identity early in their academic timetable; enables academic and medical institutions to jointly create a shared and more efficient, coordinated curriculum in a shortened timeframe; educates physicians trained and assessed in a range of cognitive, affective, and psycho-motor traits throughout their undergraduate and medical education; and, ultimately, achieves better health care outcomes for Texas.

A summary of the new innovative approaches is online.

Educators involved in premedical and medical education at UT System institutions have developed a new model for physician education that spans the traditional baccalaureate/medical school boundary. In addition to relevant basic and clinical sciences, this model incorporates four major elements: pre-health professions program, competency-based education, professional identity formation and non-traditional fields of study.

The four configurations, each of which includes at least one undergraduate institution and one medical school, grew from a combination of geographical, historical and programmatic considerations. The pilot programs will include the four main elements but are expected to be structured differently based on individual campus priorities and preferences.

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, the University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities and six health science centers. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 215,000 in the 2011 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.1 billion (FY 2012) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With roughly 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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