Say Goodbye to Industrial-Age Medical Education

Chu Kicks Off Inaugural Stanford Medicine X | ED Conference with Call to Redefine Medical Education

By Jennifer J. Salopek

medx_twitter_icon_400x400In a rousing address this morning to an eager crowd of hundreds, Stanford anesthesiologist Larry Chu, MD, kicked off the first annual Stanford Medicine X | ED conference with a call to redefine medical education as we know it. Chu, the visionary educator who conceived and executed Medicine 2.0, Stanford Medicine X, the Health Care Innovation Summit, and other unique learning forums, exhorted the members of the crowd to bring a “beginner’s mind” to the challenges facing medical education in the 21st century.

In a nod to the increasingly popular design-thinking method, Chu encouraged approaching problems and challenges in medical education by asking, “How might we…?” For example, how might we reject the notion that medical education is the exclusive domain of doctors and move forward with a new definition that is inclusive and free of cultural bias? Many conditions in the current health care environment necessitate such re-examination, said Chu as he outlined the several raisons d’etre for this new conference. Among its foundational assumptions are these:

  • Health care needs to be improved, and we can and should invite everyone to help.
  • Health professionals and educators need to learn to bring innovative new technologies thoughtfully into patient care.
  • The care we receive tomorrow depends on the practitioners we nurture today.
  • Many working in medical education struggle to understand and meet the needs of today’s learners.
  • Patients can be experts in their own care and in medical education.

The conference program, designed by an interdisciplinary group of faculty members, students, patients, and others, features five overarching themes: understanding the needs of millennial learners, learning from those already pushing the boundaries of medical education, optimizing technology and social media for learning and collaboration, improving interprofessional learning, and building a system that embraces and supports lifelong learning. Keynote addresses are to be delivered by Howard Rheingold, who coined the term “virtual community;” Abraham Verghese, MD, who advocates a renewed focus on medical education as apprenticeship; and Sarah Stein Greenberg, executive director of the Stanford, who will discuss the’s exploration of the future of undergraduate learning at Stanford, resulting in innovative and radical ideas about the form and nature of “college.”

Chu, who announced the creation of the new conference on Wing of Zock last year, expressed his hope that the gathering represents the beginning of an “evolution in the training of health care professionals to care for the wellness of the learner while giving them the knowledge and skills to care for others.”

Jennifer-1990-webJennifer J. Salopek is founding editor of Wing of Zock. She can be reached at, or follow her on Twitter @jsalopek.

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