Intermountain and U of U announce partnership for new, community focused physician training program

In a “first of its kind” initiative, Intermountain Healthcare has partnered with the University of Utah (U of U) to implement a new medical education program. This program will teach medical school students about population health and how to preemptively treat communities and keep them healthy.

The partnership is part of Intermountain’s Population Health initiative, which focuses on preventive care. Rather than solely focusing on in-the-moment, immediate health needs of patients, this initiative aims to identify causes of illnesses early on in order to prevent community members from becoming sick.

 

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Marc Harrison, MD, president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, described the partnership’s importance:

“I’m proud that these two organizations are leading the nation in developing a cadre of physicians specifically prepared to deliver this innovative approach to communities. Working with patients holistically will improve the health of all, most notably the vulnerable and underserved, who are too often left behind.”

Michael L. Good, MD, CEO of U of U Health, spoke to U of U’s appreciation of Intermountain’s support:

“The University is grateful for this generous partnership investment from Intermountain. It is a tremendous recognition of the importance that integrative medical care based on population science will have in the years ahead. This approach to patient care has the potential to advance the doctor-patient relationship in many positive ways. It could lead to a metamorphosis of medical care that better addresses the emerging social and health needs of patients in the 21st century.”

To illustrate how their $50 million investment in the program will be used, Intermountain listed the following areas of focus:

  • Establish the University of Utah Intermountain Healthcare Population Health Student Scholars Program at University of Utah School of Medicine.
  • Provide tuition support for medical students accepted into the Program. There will be 10 students in the entering class of 2021 and 2022 and 25 students in each entering class thereafter.
  • Provide an opportunity for the University to seek legislative and accreditation approvals to increase the number of medical students in each class.
  • Support development of a population health medical education curriculum that will serve as a model for the nation.
  • Create three endowed professorships, the Intermountain Population Health Sciences Professors, and four Intermountain Population Health Endowed Chairs in the University of Utah School of Medicine. These faculty will teach the student scholars and lead research and clinical education opportunities.

Physicians in the program are committed to returning to returning to Intermountain and practicing in one of six population health specialties.

Angie Fagerlin, PhD, chair of the Department of Population Health at U of U, commented on the new partnership:

“This program will change the way doctors think about providing medical care. They will better understand how to identify barriers to good health and how to get around them. This will change medicine in a fundamental way.”