Understanding the Doctorate of Medicine/Master of Education Joint Degree: An Examination of Students’ Development as Future Medical Educators
The increasing complexity of the healthcare system has spurned a profound reconceptualization of physician training, placing an increased value on physicians with educational expertise. Consequently, medical education has evolved into a more prominent professional focus within the field, pushing some physicians to seek additional training through masters programs in Health Professional Education. As the development of physician educators enters the medical school level by way of the Doctor of Medicine/Masters of Education (MD/MEd) joint degree, we must assess the program’s ability to develop future medical educators capable of responding to the field’s needs. In this capstone, I examine the collective experience of the MD and MEd programs using a competency-based framework, stakeholder interviews, and my own lived experience to gauge the program’s capacity to develop future medical educators. Stakeholders viewed the framework’s competencies as both appropriate and congruent with their independent characterization of educators. Stakeholder interviews and tiered mapping of the curricular experience to the competency framework identified seven competency domains within which students could appropriately develop by understanding theoretical foundations and applying them within authentic activities supported by reflective practices. This analysis also highlighted the current divorce between the theoretical learning occurring within Peabody and the authentic activities present in the medical school. Coupling theoretical development at Peabody with authentic practices in Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM) could tremendously enhance student development. These natural alignments can occur by leveraging spaces for authentic practice as field sites within Peabody courses. Finally, as future medical educators, MD/MEd students require knowledge of the field’s history and present landscape, which nether program presently provides. These considerations would bolster the professional development of MD/MEd students while cultivating a rich environment for bi-directional learning between Peabody and VUSM and generating novel possibilities for future work.