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Bonnie Miller, M.D.

Miller takes on broader role within School of Medicine

BY: CAROLE BARTOO

2/06/2009 - Bonnie Miller, M.D., associate dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, has taken on a new and broader role at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

As senior associate dean for Health Sciences Education, her new task is to ensure that all of Vanderbilt's clinical education programs are directed toward the ultimate goal of improving the health and wellbeing of patients and populations.

In her new position, Miller will work broadly with every level of medical education, beginning with the admissions process, the medical school program, residency and fellowship programs, and continuing medical education. She will also work with programs for pre-medical students aimed at enhancing the preparation of a broadly diverse group of potential applicants.

“Bonnie oversaw the transition to our new curriculum and has been a major force behind innovative and effective efforts to improve medical education at Vanderbilt,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “Under her guidance, the School of Medicine will take further transformative steps toward creating a new vision for medical education that ensures the best possible patient outcomes nationwide.”

One of the ways Miller says Vanderbilt will maintain its focus on educating for health outcomes is to adopt the core competencies created by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for all phases of medical education. These competencies fall into six categories: medical knowledge, patient care, communication and interpersonal skills, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement and systems-based practice.

“This will provide an excellent framework for understanding and measuring what is needed in order to practice safe, effective, evidence-based medicine in the 21st century,” Miller said. “This will also allow us to begin to think of medical education as a continuum, and not three separate silos.”

Miller is working with a group of deans and educators to devise new ways to better link physicians' continuing education with 'real time' efforts to improve quality and patient care.

Miller says she will be looking for the “holy grail” of educational outcomes research: evidence linking a particular educational program with improved patient outcomes. She said that won't be easy, but with Vanderbilt's informatics capabilities and medical education expertise, the school is uniquely positioned to meet this challenge.

“I'm very excited to have this incredible opportunity. It's great to be part of an institution that embraces innovation, challenges assumptions and encourages us to always search for better ways of doing the very important work that we do,” Miller said.

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