The power of interdependence: Linking health systems, communities, and health professions educational programs to better meet the needs of patients and populations

Med Teach. 2021 Jul;43(sup2):S32-S38. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2021.1935834.


Promoting optimal health outcomes for diverse patients and populations requires the acknowledgement and strengthening of interdependent relationships between health professions education programs, health systems, and the communities they serve. Educational programs must recognize their role as integral components of a larger system. Educators must strive to break down silos and synergize efforts to foster a health care workforce positioned for collaborative, equitable, community-oriented practice. Sharing interprofessional and interinstitutional strategies can foster wide propagation of educational innovation while accommodating local contexts. This paper outlines how member schools of the American Medical Association Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium leveraged interdependence to accomplish transformative innovations catalyzed by systems thinking and a community of innovation.

Keywords: Community-based education; interprofessional education; systems thinking; team-based health care; value-added roles.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services
  • Education, Medical*
  • Health Occupations
  • Health Personnel* / education
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • United States