New STARS community of medical students will focus on Choosing Wisely and health care value

Dell Medical School will operate the STARS initiative with funding from the ABIM Foundation and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation

Philadelphia, September 21, 2017 — Every year, millions of Americans opt for surgeries, tests and other procedures that might not improve their health — and could even undermine it. To help reverse this wasteful, often harmful trend, the ABIM Foundation and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation will support a new initiative by the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin to identify and coach 50 student leaders from across the country with the goal of changing the way medical schools address this issue.

Later this year, the Dell Medical School will launch the STARS (Students and Trainees Advocating for Resource Stewardship) program. The initiative will teach students core tenets of value-based care — efforts to create better health outcomes for patients at lower costs by focusing on people’s health and lives. Through the program, a pair of students from 25 medical schools will:

  • Learn about the concept of value in medicine;
  • Review the Choosing Wisely value-based care campaign, along with medical society recommendations;
  • Train to create local and regional change in the areas of overuse or waste; and,
  • Use concrete tools to drive change at their medical schools to improve the value of patient care they provide as they progress through their training.

A faculty champion and a dean-level leader at each of the 25 medical schools also have committed to support these innovations within their institutions.

The U.S. STARS program will kick off with a one-day summit for first-year medical students at the Dell Medical School on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. The summit will include large-group sessions, workshops and informal networking.

“Medical training environments have life-long effects on physicians’ medical practices, so if we want to reorient the system toward value, we should start as far upstream as we can in medical training,” said Chris Moriates, MD, assistant dean for healthcare value at the Dell Medical School, where he is creating an innovative curriculum for value-based healthcare for undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education. “By engaging medical students in introducing the concepts of Choosing Wisely into their own training, we expect to have ripple effects that will eventually reach all corners of our health care system.”

The program will mirror the successful STARS program started in 2015 by Choosing Wisely Canada with support from the ABIM Foundation. Over the first year of the program, Canadian medical students led several projects to advance Choosing Wisely, a campaign launched in 2012 by the ABIM Foundation to encourage clinicians and patients to discuss medical tests and procedures that may not be necessary. STARS is becoming an international movement, with the Netherlands recently launching its own program.

Following the upcoming summit, U.S. medical students will be invited to participate in a community where they can share stories of success and challenges. They will also be invited to join the ABIM Foundation’s existing Teaching Value in Health Care learning network. The goal is for these students to launch their own local programs and Choosing Wisely initiatives, supported by the community, which will reach across the country.

“We are inspired by the clinicians all across the country and in Canada who are leading Choosing Wisely initiatives to reduce unnecessary care that could harm patients. We want to foster a new generation of doctors who will practice and promote evidence-based care,” said Richard J. Baron, MD, president and CEO of the ABIM Foundation. “The STARS program will provide a dynamic community of future leaders with training and resources to improve health care in America.”

By tracking knowledge and attitudes about evidence-based care through student surveys, the STARS initiative will measure increased awareness of the Choosing Wisely campaign and resource stewardship and will work to seed local programs at participating medical schools to promote Choosing Wisely.

“The Macy Foundation is pleased to be supporting this important initiative to educate the next generation of physicians about their professional roles as stewards of resources in service to society,” said George E. Thibault, MD, president of Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.


About Dell Medical School

The future of education, care and research is taking shape at the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, the first medical school in decades to be built from the ground up at a Tier 1 research university. Created in unprecedented partnership with local taxpayers, who in 2012 voted to support the vision of improving health and making Austin a model healthy city, the Dell Medical School is focused on harnessing the power of innovation, technology and partnerships to modernize academic medicine, create new clinical care delivery models and foster a thriving research environment.

About the ABIM Foundation 

The mission of the ABIM Foundation is to advance medical professionalism to improve the health care system. We achieve this by collaborating with physicians and physician leaders, medical trainees, health care delivery systems, payers, policy makers, consumer organizations and patients to foster a shared understanding of professionalism and how they can adopt the tenets of professionalism in practice. To learn more about the ABIM Foundation, visit, connect with us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

About The Macy Foundation

Since 1930, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation has worked to improve health care in the United States. Founded by Kate Macy Ladd in memory of her father, prominent businessman Josiah Macy Jr., the Foundation supports projects that broaden and improve health professional education. It is the only national foundation solely dedicated to this mission. Visit the Macy Foundation at and follow on Twitter at @macyfoundation.


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