Contemporary issues in medicine--medical informatics and population health: report II of the Medical School Objectives Project

Acad Med. 1999 Feb;74(2):130-41.


The Association of American Medical Colleges established the Medical School Objectives Project (MSOP) to set forth program-level learning objectives that medical school deans and faculties can use as guides in reviewing their medical student education programs (initial phase), and to suggest strategies that they might employ in implementing agreed-upon changes in those programs (implementation phase). The publication of MSOP Report I in 1998 concluded the initial phase of the project by presenting 30 program-level learning objectives that represent a consensus within the medical education community on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students should possess before graduation from medical school. Report II, published here, is the work of two expert panels that focus on the two interrelated topics of medical informatics and population health for which Report I developed learning objectives. The Medical Informatics Panel identified five roles played by physicians--lifelong learner, clinician, educator-communicator, researcher, and manager--in which medical informatics plays a vital part, and defined one or more informatics learning objectives important for each role (e.g., the successful medical school graduate, in his or her role as a clinician, should be able to retrieve patient-specific information from a clinical information system). The panel then identified ways that schools might implement educational programs to address the various informatics learning objectives and to eventually embed informatics experiences throughout the curriculum rather than relying on an informatics course to achieve some or all of the objectives. The Population Health Perspective Panel developed a consensus definition of "population health perspective" (PHP); chose four types of populations to discuss (e.g., the geographic community); reviewed pressures for and against the implementation of a PHP in the curriculum (e.g., the cross-disciplinary nature of the topic is a barrier); named the fields that encompass training in a PHP (e.g., public health); listed several educational objectives, three principles to govern the design of educational activities, and a number of recommendations; and closed with a list of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that should be instilled by a successful PHP curriculum.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / organization & administration*
  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics / education*
  • Medical Laboratory Science / trends
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Physician's Role
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration*
  • United States