Producing the best evidence to show educational outcomes, such as competency achievement and credentialing effectiveness, across the health professions education continuum will require large multisite research projects and longitudinal studies. Current limitations that must be overcome to reach this goal include the prevalence of single-institution study designs, assessments of a single curricular component, and crosssectional study designs that provide only a snapshot in time of a program or initiative rather than a longitudinal perspective. One solution to overcoming these limitations is to develop a network of networks that collaborates, using longitudinal approaches, across health professions and regions of the United States. Currently, individual networks are advancing educational innovation toward understanding the effectiveness of educational and credentialing programs. Examples of such networks include (1) the American Medical Association's Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative, (2) the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, and (3) the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's Accreditation System. In this Invited Commentary, the authors briefly profile these existing networks, identify their progress and the challenges they have encountered, and propose a vigorous way forward toward creating a national network of networks designed to determine the effectiveness of health professions education and credentialing.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Like the Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative, the financial model of the National Center has varied; currently, it assumes responsibility for funding its national research platform. As interest in IPE increases, including in new IPE accreditation requirements, most network members likely will continue to be driven by advancing the field, essentially volunteering their efforts and paying for National Center services when needed, or requesting letters of support to seek funding elsewhere to undertake their work. To be financially sustainable and continue its work, the National Center seeks partnerships and grant funding while offering a portfolio of fee-based consulting and training services in IPE implementation and research.
Funding/Support: The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education receives funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the John A. Hartford Foundation. Eric S. Holmboe receives royalties from Elsevier for a textbook on assessment.