News and Commentary What’s Ahead for the Macy Foundation in 2024

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As you can see from our Annual Report, 2023 was a very productive year for the Macy Foundation in terms of advancing our priorities in health professions education. Those priorities include promoting diversity, equity, and belonging; increasing collaboration among future health professionals; and preparing them to navigate ethical dilemmas. I am extremely proud of all that we accomplished last year, and I am eager to share some of the plans that we have for the year to come.

Here are some of the highlights that we are planning for the year ahead:

  • Later this spring, we will launch a new competitive funding opportunity with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The program’s goal is to enhance equity and inclusion for nurses with disabilities in schools of nursing and their affiliated clinical sites.
  • We are planning both a convening of the 2023 recipients of the Catalyst Awards for Transformation in Graduate Medical Education as well as a special supplement of Academic Medicine. The supplement will feature the innovative work of this inaugural cohort who spent the past year implementing strategies to help residents and fellows manage bias and discrimination in the clinical learning environment.
  • Macy Foundation conferences, which build consensus around key questions affecting health professions education, are a signature element of our work. This year, we will tackle the utilization of artificial intelligence in health professions education.

Here are some additional details about these upcoming activities:

Disability Inclusion in Nursing: A Grants Program to Advance Innovation and Systems Approaches for Nursing Education and Practice

The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted more than 30 years ago, but ample evidence tells us that nurses and nursing students with disabilities experience discrimination and barriers in both educational settings and workplaces. To address the need for innovative solutions, we will be launching a $1.2 million grant-making effort with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that will fund five to seven demonstration projects intended to dismantle ableism in nursing schools and affiliated clinical sites. An important goal of the funded projects—which will be centered in the clinical learning environment—is to create lasting institutional change and exemplars that other institutions can draw on to make their own learning environments more inclusive. More details about this special Request for Applications will be available later this spring with the goal of awarding grants in the fall.

Promoting Psychological Safety, Civility, and Thriving in Clinical Learning Environments

Last January, funding commenced for the Catalyst Awards for Transformation in Graduate Medical Education. This special initiative provided one year of support to seven institutions, which implemented interventions to help residents and fellows manage harmful bias, discrimination, microaggressions, and other forms of mistreatment in the clinical learning environment. This April, representatives from the first cohort of Catalyst Awardees will convene to share the details of their projects, including important outcomes and lessons learned. Their work, along with six commissioned background papers in this topic area, will be featured in a special supplement of Academic Medicine to be published at the end of 2024. And later this month, we will be delighted to share the news of the next group of programs selected for support in our second funding cycle of the Catalyst Awards.

Exploring the Impact of Artificial Intelligence in Health Professions Education

Artificial intelligence is quickly galvanizing the world, and health professions education is no exception. I am delighted to announce that we are working with Dr. Robert Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), to design a conference to explore the implications of artificial intelligence and machine learning on health professions education. During the conference, being planned for November of this year, conferees will develop consensus recommendations regarding the effective use of these technologies to support and enhance health professions education.

I am also very much looking forward to sharing with you the stories of six valued members of the Macy Foundation family—the 2023 class of Macy Faculty Scholars. The 2023 Scholar cohort will be featured in the third season of the Macy Foundation’s Vital Voices podcast, airing later this spring. The 2023 Scholars represent the first class since the program’s transition to focusing on more diverse and early-career candidates. In our upcoming season of Vital Voices, the 2023 cohort will share their pathways into their careers as health professions educators and describe the projects that they will focus on over the next two years.

These are just a few of the many initiatives that we plan to undertake in 2024. The efforts that go into these projects, and all the work conducted by the Macy Foundation, are undertaken with the support and leadership of our committed and distinguished Board of Directors. I would like to announce some important changes in our governance that will take place in the upcoming year.

First, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. David Blumenthal, who is transitioning from Board member to Director Emeritus after 12 years of active service to the Macy Foundation, and to Mr. William H. Wright II, who, after 13 years as Board Chairman, is turning his leadership position over to Ms. Meredith Jenkins. I am genuinely grateful to David, Bill, and Meredith for everything they have contributed to the Macy Foundation over their years of service and for everything they will contribute going forward.

We are pleased to welcome two new faces to our Board: Ms. Jackie Judd and Dr. Robert Wachter. Jackie is an award-winning journalist who previously reported for ABC News, National Public Radio, and the PBS NewsHour and worked as a communications consultant with nonprofits in health and human rights. She also spent a decade at the Kaiser Family Foundation focusing on health policy communications and training journalists in countries with emerging AIDS epidemics. Bob, who is professor and chair of the department of medicine at UCSF, is also a best-selling author, considered the “father” of the hospitalist field in medicine, was ranked the most influential physician-executive in the U.S. in 2015 by Modern Healthcare, and served as a trusted source of information during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, all of us at the Macy Foundation extend a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who engages with us—as applicants and grantees, conferees, Macy Faculty Scholars, podcast guests and listeners, webinar participants, social media followers, and other roles—to help us advance our priorities. We are grateful to have built such a strong community of educators, learners, administrators, executives, providers, researchers, professionals, advocates, and friends who share our interest in and commitment to optimizing the educational experiences of health professions learners as a way to improve health and health care for all of us. We are honored to support and promote the exciting, innovative, and important work that you and your colleagues do. Thank you and happy New Year!

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