Rapid changes in health care require a transformation in the way future physicians are trained. They will need to be able to navigate new and increasingly complicated health information technologies, understand, and use advances in personalized medicine and many will need to know how to lead accountable care organizations. Advancing medical education will ensure our future physicians can flourish in a high-performance, physician-led team-based health care system whose business side grows more complex every day.

The American Medical Association (AMA) is setting ambitious new goals to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities for the future of health care. These goals include improving health outcomes for patients, enhancing practice sustainability and professional satisfaction for physicians, and accelerating change in medical education for medical students. As part of the third prong of this strategic plan, we have launched a $10 million initiative to help medical schools develop innovations that will prepare students to thrive in the rapidly evolving health care system.

Gaps between how physicians are trained and the future needs of health care must be narrowed. Today’s medical education focuses primarily on the individual, yet physicians increasingly practice in teams. Students today receive most of their clinical training in an in-patient setting, but a majority of patients are seen in an ambulatory setting. Medical schools today provide minimal education about the business and financing of medicine, but our health care system requires a growing understanding of how to run a business.

Many schools have begun inventive programs to advance medical education and close these gaps. Many more have considered implementing similar initiatives but lack the resources to implement them.

The aim of the AMA’s new initiative is to facilitate bold structural change by providing $10 million over the next five years to fund approximately 10 projects that support a significant redesign of undergraduate medical education. We’re looking for creative ideas to enhance education that will align medical student training with the evolving needs of patients, communities and the changing health care environment. From developing new methods for teaching and assessing key competencies to fostering flexible, individualized learning plans, we aim to develop successful programs that can be duplicated in medical schools across the country.

Interested medical schools are invited to submit brief proposal ideas by February 15. From the initial pool of proposals, the AMA will invite a select group of medical schools to submit a full proposal by May 15 and will conduct a thorough review of all materials before announcing the selected schools at its Annual Meeting in June 2013. We’ll be forming a learning consortium so participating schools can share best practices and structural innovations.

Medical schools teach some of the best and brightest young professionals in the nation. This initiative will spark the educational collaboration and advancement that is needed to ensure our future physicians are prepared to provide excellent care to the patients of tomorrow.