News and Commentary Ensuring a Better Future in Health Professions Education: Taking A Closer Look at the 2021 Macy Conference Recommendations

In July 2021, the Macy Foundation convened more than 50 faculty members, learners, leaders, and other experts in health professions education and asked them to share their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal was to take what had been learned and to develop consensus recommendations utilizing these lessons in an effort to advance and improve health professions education. These recommendations, along with 16 commissioned papers and case studies, will be featured in a special issue of Academic Medicine that will be published in March 2022.

Throughout the coming year, you will find that many of the pieces published in the Macy Notes blog series will focus on one of the specific recommendations or action steps emanating from this 2021 Macy Conference on COVID-19 and the Impact on Medical and Nursing Education. This is by design. While the pandemic and the concurrent syndemic related to issues of racism and inequity represent a specific moment in history, the lessons learned transcend a specific moment. As was stated in the foreword to the conference recommendations:

Early in the pandemic, we could see that there were gaps in health care delivery and health professions education (HPE) that needed to be addressed, and it would be important to identify the lessons as the pandemic subsided and begin adapting immediately. Now, we realize that we must transform because the pandemic has not subsided and the challenge to ensure a better future in HPE continues.

Each month, I plan to invite educators, learners, and thought leaders to share their insights and opinions related to one of the conference recommendations, discussing what must be done in order to transform HPE. In so doing, I hope to encourage readers to more carefully consider—and act upon—these recommendations so that we can begin to authentically and legitimately create a more equitable, inclusive, and effective learning environment in health professions education and better prepare our future health professionals to care for their future patients. 

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