Medical Education and Training

Medical professionalism is an important aspect of medical education and training for the next generation of physicians. Our work in this area seeks to address needed changes in the learning environment and highlight solutions to professionalism challenges that physicians are encountering more and more in their practice, such as acting as good stewards of finite resources or fostering cultures of collaboration among teams.


Teaching Value in Health Care Learning Network

A joint project of Costs of Care and the ABIM Foundation, the Teaching Value in Health Care Learning Network is a dynamic community of medical residents, students, faculty and others who are committed to learning and teaching the principles of stewardship and high-value care. Open to anyone in the medical education field, the community features monthly “Third Thursday” webinars with leaders in medical education to highlight implementation models and innovations in value-based training. The goal of the community is to encourage members to share best practices and inspire others to create innovations in their organizations to promote and provide high-value care.


Understanding Medical Professionalism

Published by McGraw-Hill Medical in partnership with the ABIM Foundation, Understanding Medical Professionalism is a groundbreaking book that teaches health care students and clinicians how to deliver the highest quality patient care through professionalism in medical practice. The book was authored by Wendy S. Levinson, MD, Shiphra Ginsburg, MD, Frederic W. Hafferty, PhD, and Catherine R. Lucey, MD, all of whom are recognized as experts in the field.

Understanding Medical Professionalism includes real-life case scenarios that illustrate the pitfalls and challenges faced by practitioners. The book offers actionable guidance on how to successfully address these challenges and helps students and clinicians develop the behavioral skills necessary to provide outstanding patient care.

Understanding Medical Professionalism is built around four key premises:

  1. Medical professionalism can be thought of as a set of specific skills and behaviors that can be clearly demonstrated.
  2. Challenges to medical professionalism in the clinical or educational setting are not rare events, but are everyday occurrences that can be identified and managed.
  3. Medical professionalism is a systems issue, relevant to all caregivers and administrators in the health care team.
  4. Professionalism should be a lifelong pursuit and not thought of as a static topic for a brief training period or course. Rather, it is a competency developed over time.

The text is intended to support professionals in the medical field who are working to advance the principles and commitments of Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter.

  • Medical students at all levels will be able to relate to the typical professionalism challenges presented as realistic and engaging scenarios throughout this book. The authors provide practical advice and tips on how to make sense of and respond to such challenges during training.
  • Clerkship directors will appreciate the straightforward approach to common professionalism challenges faced by their students. This book provides a practical and useful framework to guide teaching, evaluation and remediation of professionalism.
  • Residents will recognize the descriptions of common professionalism challenges and will appreciate the author’s recommendations on how to successfully demonstrate professionalism in stressful circumstances.
  • Post-graduate residency directors will find that the practical advice and sample conversations that address professionalism lapses are supportive but direct and thus extremely useful, as they are often tasked with dealing with complaints about unprofessional behavior by their residents or faculty.
  • Medical school leaders will find this book useful in building a culture of positive professionalism within their faculty. The practical advice on addressing disruptive behaviors and fostering a positive environment for learners and faculty is a refreshing approach to a persistently thorny problem.

Understanding Medical Professionalism is available for purchase on


A Social Compact

The 2010 ABIM Foundation Forum Transforming Medical Education and Training: Meeting the Needs of Patients and Society was dedicated to developing a social compact for medical education and clinical training that is needed to maintain a high-performing, evolving health care system.

Participants—leaders from academic medicine, medical students and residents, patients and consumers, nurses, purchasers, and policymakers—worked toward a shared understanding of the reciprocal obligations between the public and the institutions that support, conduct and oversee medical education and training.

As noted in the Forum summary, Forum participants have initiated a number of follow-up activities in the areas of:

  • Learning and assessing competencies for 21st-century practice;
  • Transforming primary care;
  • Redistribution of GME funds to drive performance and innovation; and
  • Promotion of interprofessional education, evaluation, assessment and accreditation.

Participants also heard from a group of innovators in medical education and training and discussed barriers to the spread of innovations. These innovations spanned a wide range of topics including:

  • Assessment processes
  • Competencies beyond knowledge
  • Overall redesign
  • Professionalism and culture
  • Settings


Managing Conflicts of Interest in Education

In 2009, the Foundation focused on developing a plan to educate medical students, residents and physicians about how to identify and manage conflicts of interest in the educational domain. Our work in this area built off a seminal article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, entitled Professional Medical Associations and Their Relationships With Industry on managing conflicts of interest. The article was developed from an initiative co-sponsored with the Institute on Medicine as a Profession.

Activities around this work included the support for an Institute of Medicine Report on conflicts of interest in education, practice and research, and a new initiative to build a framework for a conflicts of interest curriculum for medical students, residents and practicing physicians. The American College of Physicians has also included it in its High-Value Care curriculum.


Related Video

Cultivating Professionalism in Training explores ways to impart professional values and behaviors on to residents and medical students.