Learners as Leaders: A Global Groundswell of Students Leading Choosing Wisely Initiatives in Medical Education

Acad Med. 2019 Nov;94(11):1699-1703. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002868.


Resource stewardship and reducing low-value care have emerged as urgent priorities for health care delivery systems worldwide. However, few medical schools' curricula include adequate content to allow learners to master the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to contribute to this transformation toward value-based health care. This article describes a program to launch student-led curriculum enhancement initiatives in 7 countries. The program, called STARS (Students and Trainees Advocating for Resource Stewardship), was inspired by Choosing Wisely, a campaign by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation that seeks to promote conversations on avoiding unnecessary medical tests, treatments, and procedures.The initial STARS model, which originated in Canada in 2015, included a leadership summit, where students from multiple medical schools learned about Choosing Wisely principles, leadership, and advocacy. These students then led grassroots efforts at their local medical schools with faculty and other students to raise awareness and advocate for changes related to resource stewardship. Student-led efforts resulted in the integration of Choosing Wisely principles into case-based learning, the creation of student interest groups and electives, the launch of social media campaigns, and the organization of special presentations by local experts.The rapid spread of similar programs in 6 other countries (Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and the United States) by 2018 suggests that STARS resonates across multiple settings and signals the potential for such a model to advance other important areas in medical education. This article documents results and lessons learned from the first 4 years of the program.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum / standards*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Models, Educational*
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Students, Medical*