After 18 months of planning, the Massachusetts Medical Society is opening what is believed to be the most extensive physician education program offered by a state medical association.
The society's Physician Education Center was designed to provide a "one-stop" service linking doctors with various educational programs, says Corlette Moore McCoy, the center's director of program development. For example, business education will be offered in cooperation with local colleges, and faculty training in
alliance with the state's medical schools.
"We're trying to address physicians' needs in the changing healthcare environment that will help them cope with the changes and feel they have advanced their skills," McCoy says. "We're hopefully establishing ourselves as a model for the rest of the country."
Other state medical societies run education programs, but none seem to be as extensive as the program in Massachusetts, says American Medical Association spokesman Robert Mills.
Not all center services are up and running, but in the past two months the Massachusetts society has begun offering individualized clinical education for physicians. The center helps physicians who, for example, want to know more about a particular disease that is affecting a number of their patients, McCoy says.
During the same period the society began providing career counseling services for doctors making the transition from clinician to executive, or vice versa, McCoy says. It also offers help for clinicians who want to move into a different specialty.
Another service of the education center is a mentoring program that matches its members with younger physicians, a service "that has gotten good response," McCoy says.
The center offers a directory of continuing medical education courses in Massachusetts for out-of-state physicians, which is available by fax or on the Internet. By winter, the society expects to offer faculty training, a response to medical schools wanting more doctors from community-based practices and clinics to teach.
In October, the center sent out requests for assistance with business education; nondegree programs should be available by spring and degree programs by next fall.