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Improving Patient Care through Medical Education: A National Initiative of Independent Academic Medical Centers


Why a National Initiative?

The AIAMC advances the development and application of innovative educational solutions to drive better clinical outcomes. Through networking, sharing of information, roadmaps, research and best practices, the Alliance equips members to find and implement effective solutions to their care quality and patient safety challenges. These endeavors include participating in AIAMC National Initiatives, achieving compliance with policies and regulatory imperatives, and realizing GME-supported operational improvements.

Role of the AIAMC

The Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers was founded in 1989 as a national network of large academic medical centers. Membership in the association is unique in that AIAMC members are affiliated with medical schools but are independent of medical school ownership or governance. Approximately 80 major medical centers and health systems across the United States are members, representing more than 750 senior academic leaders.

National Initiative I

In early 2007, the Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers (AIAMC) launched Improving Patient Care through GME: A National Initiative of Independent Academic Medical Centers. The National Initiative (NI) featured five meetings over the course of 18 months which served as touchstones for ongoing quality improvement in 19 AIAMC participating organizations. These meetings, as well as the monthly collaborative calls held in-between, provided structure, discussion and networking opportunities around specific quality improvement initiatives. This 18-month "NI I" was supported by a grant from the foundation of HealthPartners Institute for Medical Education, an AIAMC member institution located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. View NI I Proceedings Booklet here.

As a result of these efforts, we developed initial findings that demonstrated the efficacy of integrating GME into patient safety and quality improvement initiatives. These findings were organized into a series of articles that were published in the December 2009 issue of Academic Medicine.

National Initiative II

In 2009, we launched the National Initiative II and expanded participation to 35 AIAMC-member teaching hospitals from Seattle to Maine. Each participating hospital developed a quality improvement team led by a resident or faculty member. These teams met on-site four times and participated in monthly conference calls over an 18-month period. Quality improvement projects focused upon one of the following areas: Communication, Hand Offs, Infection Control, Readmissions and Transitions of Care.  View NI II Proceedings Booklet here.

Results from NI II were published in a variety of publications, including the February 2011 issue of the AAMC Reporter, and in the May/June 2012 special supplement issue of the American Journal of Medical Quality.

National Initiative III

NI III, launched in 2011 with 35 teams, built on the strengths of the first two phases of the AIAMC National Initiative, and moved beyond direct support of local quality improvement teams to the development of teaching leadership and changing organizational culture to support quality improvement initiatives. Graduate medical education and continuing medical education were emphasized as platforms for improving patient care. The focus of NI III was faculty/leadership development. We recognized that part of our responsibility as medical educators was to train the next generation of practicing physicians; thus, residents must be considered as junior faculty and were integral in this effort.  View NI III Proceedings Booklet here.

Results from NI III were published in a variety of publications, including the Spring 2014 issue of the Ochsner Journal and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

National Initiative IV

NI IV: Achieving Mastery of CLER, launched in 2013 with 34 AIAMC-member and – for the first time – non-member teams, focused on navigating the ACGME’s Clinical Learning Environment Review (CLER) program. The CLER program was designed to evaluate the level of institutional responsibility for the quality and safety of the learning and patient care environment, and NI IV provided teams the training and guidance necessary that identified strengths and weaknesses across the six focus areas and significantly and measurably advanced the institutional level of preparedness.  View NI IV Proceedings Booklet here.

Results from NI IV were published in numerous publications, including the American Journal of Medical Quality, Journal of Graduate Medical Education, Ochsner Journal Summer 2015Ochsner Journal March 2016 and Ochsner Journal Summer 2016, the official publication of the AIAMC National Initiatives.

National Initiative V

National Initiative V: Improving Community Health and Health Equity through Medical Education launched in the fall of 2015 with 29 AIAMC-member teams participating and focused on navigating the disparities component of the ACGME’s Clinical Learning Environment program. Four on-site learning sessions addressed understanding and engaging with institutional leaders in the Community Health Needs Assessments; GME education in improving health equity, cultural competency and community engagement; and how to better engage the C-Suite. The Initiative concluded in March 2017.  View NI V Proceedings Booklet here.

Results from NI V were published in the March 2018 issue of the Ochsner Journal, the official publication of the AIAMC National Initiatives and the American Journal of Medical Quality.

National Initiative VI

National Initiative VI: Stimulating a Culture of Well-Being in the Clinical Learning Environment launched in the fall of 2017 with 34 AIAMC member teams participating.  Teams were grouped into cohorts based upon similarities of projects in the following domains:  Culture and Values; Institutional Well-Being; Meaning in Work, Work-Life Integration and Social Support & Community at Work; and Workload & Job Demands and Control & Flexibility.  The Initiative concluded in March 2019 at the fourth and final meeting where teams presented their concluding posters and outcomes.  View NI VI Proceedings Booklet here.

Results from NI VI were published in the March 2020 issue of the Ochsner Journal, the official publication of the AIAMC National Initiatives and the Journal of Patient-Centered Research and Reviews (JPCRR).

National Initiative VII

National Initiative VII:  Teaming for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice (IPCP) will launch in the fall of 2019 with 31 AIAMC member teams participating.  The concept of teaming, characterized as teamwork on the fly, has significance across health profession learning and practice.  While health profession curricula are designed to inspire learners in the concepts of teamwork, the transfer of knowledge to skill is met with challenges inherent in the complex clinical practice setting and learning environment. We need to better understand the concepts of teaming for interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) and the relationship to health care outcomes. The Initiative concluded in March 2021.  View NI VII Proceedings Booklet here.

The AIAMC National Initiative (NI) is the only national and multi-institutional collaborative of its kind in which residents lead multidisciplinary teams in quality improvement projects aligned to their institution’s strategic goals. Sixty-seven hospitals and health systems and more than 1,200 individuals have participated in the AIAMC National Initiatives since 2007 driving change that has resulted in meaningful and sustainable outcomes improving the quality and safety of patient care

The Ochsner Journal is the official journal of the AIAMC and our National Initiatives.


For more information on the AIAMC National Initiatives in the AIAMC, contact Executive Director Kimberly Pierce-Boggs at or 312.836.3712