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A World Class Education


By Paul B. Rothman, M.D.

On May 22, the Class of 2014 graduated from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the second group of students to complete the full four years of our innovative Genes to Society (GTS) curriculum.

GTS is recognized nationally and internationally as a model of innovation in medical education and with our medical and graduate school programs among the best in the nation, the future is bright for this graduating class.

In Johns Hopkins Medicine’s five-year strategic plan, one of our priorities focuses on leading the world in the education and training of physicians and biomedical scientists.

This also supports a vital piece of our tripartite mission of setting a standard of excellence in medical and life-sciences education to produce tomorrow’s leaders in healthcare.

How and What We Teach

In our strategic planning, the first thing we asked ourselves was: are we teaching the right things? As medicine is always advancing, our curriculum should also evolve. And there are areas, including interdisciplinary and inter-professional collaboration, that we can improve upon.

We are surveying our teaching methods to make sure we continue to provide a world-class education and produce highly successful graduates. We’ve established two expert panels—one in the life sciences and another in clinical medicine—to do a “self-study” to make sure we’re not teaching outdated scientific concepts or modeling wasteful medical tests and procedures.

We are also planning more development programs for faculty and testing innovative instructional models such as “Flipping the Classroom,” where students watch a lecture at their own pace online at home and then come to class prepared for deep discussion.


Collaboration is key in providing exceptional patient care and we are working to bring together the medical students and graduate students in the life sciences, since they typically work in different buildings and classrooms and rarely cross paths. To spur more fruitful intermingling, we’re holding joint medical-biomedical conferences and social hours.

For example, we host a monthly seminar called Partnering Toward Discovery, where M.D. and Ph.D. students gather to learn about ongoing research programs and clinical applications. Following each of these lectures is a social hour in which every attendee is instructed to introduce him or herself to at least one new person.

In addition to interdisciplinary collaboration, inter-professional training is also critical.  Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) are expected to make up more of the health care workforce in the future to meet the demand of patient services, particularly in primary care.

We need to cultivate a team approach to taking care of patients among our students, residents, and fellows  and also offer more inter-professional training opportunities to bring together physicians, NPs, PAs, and public-health experts in both clinical and classroom environments.


To make sure we are staying ahead of the curve, we are in the process of establishing an Office of Assessment and Evaluation to analyze data on graduates of our programs and track the accomplishments of our trainees and alumni.

We want to be absolutely certain that a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine education continues to produce the nation’s most outstanding leaders in medicine and biomedical science. Over time, the Office of Assessment and Evaluation will evolve to evaluate our education systems at every level to ensure they are high performing.

Times are changing for academic medical centers, and we don’t want to just keep pace. Our aim is to forecast future needs and set a path for the future in education and medicine. Like our students, our faculty and staff at Johns Hopkins Medicine need to keep learning and continuously improving to be the best educators in the world. We owe it to all of our graduates, our future outstanding leaders in medicine and biomedical science.

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