Craig Cheifetz, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Faced with forecasts of serious physician shortages, the Association of American Medical Colleges called on U.S. medical schools for a 30 percent increase in enrollment by the year 2016. Half of that growth has already occurred.
Much of the expansion has been accomplished through the growth of regional medical campuses – campuses geographically separate from the medical school’s main campus. Often, RMCs have missions that differ from their main campus, especially in the areas of rural and community medicine. Up to now, there has been no an easy-to-use classification system to make those distinctions.
For the past two years, Craig Cheifetz, M.D., F.A.C.P., has chaired the AAMC’s Group on Regional Medical Campuses. The GRMC is the national body representing regional medical campuses throughout the U.S. and Canada. In that role, he has led development of a system that classifies RMCs into one of four models—basic science, clinical, longitudinal or combined.
He describes the process in the May issue of the Academic Medicine, the premier journal for medical educators.
The classification system will pave the way for research into RMCs’ impact on medical education. Even questions as basic as the number of RMCs and whether they are growing or shrinking in number have been difficult to answer until now.
“The utility of the definition is in its simplicity and the practical ways in which it can be used in future research,” writes Cheifetz in the report: Regional Medical Campuses: A New Classification System.
The first research study using the classification system is expected later this year. Deans were asked to apply the classification system to their own RMCs and to provide information ranging from student and faculty affairs to medical education and finances.
Cheifetz, who is associate dean for medical education at the VCU School of Medicine, has overseen the development of the medical school‘s Inova Campus since its earliest stages. Each year, two dozen third-year and two dozen fourth-year medical students train at the branch campus at Inova Fairfax Hospital.