Better. Stronger. Faster.

A new Cleveland program builds the next generation of primary care leaders.

Practice-ready superheroes. That’s what the up-and-coming demonstration program – working title, “Transformative Care Curriculum” – aims to deliver according to Isaac Kirstein, D.O., dean of the Cleveland campus.

Launching in July 2018 with eight students at the Cleveland site, the new program will provide a direct route to family medicine residency programs within the Cleveland Clinic system for those select students who commit to primary care at the outset. They will be “board-eligible, practice-ready” physicians in six years – three each in pre- and post-doctoral work – rather than the typical seven, decreasing the cost of medical education.

Cleveland Clinic leaders are close collaborators with the college as they work to integrate primary care delivery and medical education to improve physician training, patient outcomes and population health. The new model will build upon and integrate Cleveland Clinic’s approach to patient-centered, value-based care, as well as recommendations from “Building the Future: Educating the 21st Century Physician,” the 2013 report by the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Advancement of Osteopathic Medical Education.

The Commission’s report called for giving students more clinical experience from the beginning of medical school; providing a “seamless transition” from undergraduate into graduate medical education; and putting a stronger emphasis on evolving primary care models and readiness to function in tomorrow’s health care system. To create physicians who will be leaders in the new health care delivery systems, the report outlined the need to demonstrate competencies in areas such as population health, medical informatics and leadership.

Kirstein acknowledges that change of this magnitude is challenging and that the Commission’s report is not without its critics. But within the requirements set by licensing and accreditation agencies, Kirstein explained that the Heritage College wanted to make “the absolute largest leap that we could take” toward a new model of medical education, aimed at meeting the growing need for primary care physicians in a world of health care that’s changing dramatically.

Known for revolutionizing specialty care around the patient experience, Cleveland Clinic is partnering with the Heritage College to do the same for primary care. “We’re excited to be part of this new “Transformative Care Curriculum” to get well-trained primary care physicians into our communities as quickly as possible,” said J. Stephen Jones, M.D., president of Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospitals and Family Health Centers

It’s a program at the right time and the right place for both the Heritage College and Cleveland Clinic. “All of the discussions that guide our affiliation are fueled by a shared enthusiasm to innovate in this space,” Kirstein said.