News and Commentary Macy Faculty Scholar Eve Colson on Collaborative Care

Eve Colson of the Yale University School of Medicine, a 2011 Macy Faculty Scholar, talks about her work on curriculum reform aimed at fostering teamwork and building better connections with patients.

Q: What shortfalls in the medical education system are you trying to address as a Macy Faculty Scholar?

Colson: Much of the education of young doctors, nurses and other health professionals now occurs within academic centers structured in a business model that, in many cases, requires attending clinicians to see more patients in order to generate revenues. Such an approach leaves little time for mentoring or teaching students on a one-on-one basis. That system also teaches students in hospitals and typically does not allow them to provide care for the same patients through a continuum of care. Lastly, the system of medical education today often teaches students from the different professions in separate classrooms and clinical rotations and does not effectively train them to work as part of a team.

Q: How will your Macy Foundation project provide students with training in collaborative care?

Colson: As part of my project, students of the health professions will be put together in teams and will work in an outpatient clinic or doctor’s office taking care of the same patients. Instead of providing episodic care to a rotating set of patients, these students would see the same patient through different settings and medical situations over the course of a year. In the end, such an approach helps students develop empathy for the patient. Research suggests that such a connection between a health care professional and a patient often leads to higher quality of care. Students will then be assessed on how well they have learned the lesson of providing collaborative care.

Q: What motivates you personally to take on this project?

Colson: I love working with students. I enjoy seeing students in the health professions grow and develop over the course of their education. And my ultimate goal is to help improve the quality of the educational experience so that students are well-trained not just to work as solo practitioners but can function as part of a team providing care through a continuum that might start with seeing them in a clinic, involve a trip to the hospital, a discharge and back to the clinic again.

Meet the 2011 Macy Faculty Scholars here.

Learn more about the Macy Faculty Scholars Program here.

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