Brown University's medical school and Johnson & Wales University's new physician assistant program are going to look for ways to collaborate, the schools announced today. What might that look like? According to the announcement: "sharing training facilities, jointly arranging lectures, pursuing educational grants, and engaging in cost-sharing."
They've signed a memorandum of understanding to work together, which should be pretty easy, logistically. Brown's new medical education is just steps away from the building JWU is renovating for its new PA program.
But does this matter to anyone who's not a med student or a physicians assistant candidate? Well, it could: the growing emphasis on primary and preventative care means primary care doctors will have more on their plates. And they can't do it all. They'll be relying on nurse practitioners and physician assistants to help manage the patient load, and those of you (myself included) who have seen NPs, for example, might know that that's not a bad thing at all.
Traditionally, med students haven't really been trained to work with these other practitioners or develop an understanding of what they do. But that's changing. I did a story about the growing emphasis on "interprofessional education" for future doctors and how our changing demographics and the changes in how health care is delivered are driving the need for it.