Purpose: In May 2007, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Carl J. Shapiro Institute for Education and Research cosponsored "Millennium Conference 2007: A Collaborative Approach to Educational Research" (MC07). Educational leaders from eight U.S. medical schools and the host school (Harvard Medical School) sought to develop an operational list of the national medical education research priorities identified at the MC07.
Method: The authors asked a diverse group of medical educators to evaluate the research priorities broadly outlined by MC07 participants, further refining the priorities, framing them into research questions with testable hypotheses, and ranking them. Through an iterative process among representatives from each of the MC07 participating institutions, 11 research priorities were identified, and each was reframed as a problem to be addressed with a testable hypothesis. Then, in a multiinstitutional survey, MC07 participants ranked each priority by its perceived national importance, feasibility, fundability, and amenability for multiinstitutional research.
Results: The impact of medical school simulation training on residents' performance emerged as the highest-rated priority, and the impact of faculty development on learner outcomes was the lowest-rated priority among MC07 participating schools.
Conclusions: The process of framing medical education priorities in the form of testable hypotheses with measurable outcomes was an effective way for a diverse group of national medical education leaders to develop an agenda for educational research. The authors hope that this list will inform the national discussion on priorities in medical education research and will serve to help move this agenda forward.