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Leadership Strategies of Medical School Deans to Promote Quality and Safety

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Background: In April 2003, an informal collaborative of medical schools was convened by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to achieve learning objectives for medical students for the improvement of care. The deans of the 10 founding schools were interviewed in 2004 regarding their strategies to achieve this goal.

Findings: The deans felt that their work in recruiting leaders in the field of quality, developing organizational structures to facilitate quality initiatives, empowering faculty, and promoting educational reforms were essential elements for achieving learning objectives.

Progress in Meeting the Collaborative's Goals: The collaborative's work is organized around themes considered essential to the goals of the collaborative such as interprofessional learning, exemplary clinical settings, student-initiated learning, and evaluation. The collaborative has grown from 10 medical schools to 48 health professions schools in three years. Pilot exemplary clinical settings for education and patient care at seven sites, along with strategies to ensure interprofessional learning at 16 of the 20 sites, represent important intermediate outcomes of the deans' initial leadership initiatives and the collaborative's faculty vision. Of the 10 founding schools, 7 continue to serve as role models for newer members.

Discussion: The approaches suggest building blocks for achieving goals for improving care in academic institutions and may help other health professions schools and the clinical settings where learning takes place.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-02-01

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  • The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety will be published by Elsevier beginning in 2017! For readers who receive access to the journal through their institutions, the journal can now be found on ScienceDirect ( For librarians looking to subscribe to the journal for their institutions please contact your Elsevier Account Manager or visit for more information. All other readers, please visit to subscribe to the journal or to claim your access for an existing subscription.
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