The American Academy of Family Physicians’ Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care publicly launched the Med School Mapper project on November 1, 2010, with funding provided by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.
Amidst American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) recommended expansion of medical education, principally through expansion of existing training sites, there is little mention or measurement of how the large investments of public dollars meet the needs of the citizens. In response to this, the Macy Foundation funds the Medical Education Futures Study (MEFS), whose main mission is “to highlight the social mission of medical education during the current period of medical school expansion and potential major health care reform. ” This ranking of schools by social accountability is a novel step in understanding their social impact on a national scale. However, as state policymakers attempt to direct expansion funding in terms of accountability to their own regional, social and health care access needs, they have few tools for understanding the local and regional impact of schools. Neither national rankings nor workforce models can capture the regional impact of training sites.
The Robert Graham Center has been studying means of demonstrating such an impact, using geographic and policy analyses of individual medical schools’ graduates (both allopathic and osteopathic). Using novel approaches to analyzing and displaying regional impact, the Med School Mapper will give planners essential information for directing and evaluating medical school expansion and its impact on access and other social aims. This tool utilizes American Medical Association (AMA) data, and ranks states and their medical schools on various areas of practice and the number and percent of graduates retained in state. The Mapper tracks the graduate footprint from a state, or medical school within that state, to provide a clear visualization of the practice locations of graduates by county, their penetration rates within counties, and information about the types of areas and specialties in which these graduates practice in order to provide data detailing how well a particular state or school meets its mission of social accountability.