A Systems Approach to Assessment in Health Professions Education

(Offered Annually)


2024 Course
Dates: April 7-12, 2024
Location: Boston, MA, Harvard Medical School campus

  • Outline the principles and benefits of a systems approach to assessment in health professions education 
    • Identify the educational components of participants’ home institution from a systems perspective and their primary functions 
    • Explain the essential processes that need to occur at the interfaces across components within the educational system to add value to the quality of graduates  
    • Examine the quality of participants’ institution’s communication pathways, specifically for 
      • the flow of multiple sources of performance data to individuals/groups best positioned to interpret assessment information in context
      • the existence of direct feedback pathways to individuals/groups empowered to make corrections and adjustments 
  • Design an assessment plan that aligns with their institutional goals and objectives 
  • Select and apply appropriate assessment tools and methods for different purposes and contexts;  including what confidence is sufficient for formative purposes, and what is needed for summative purposes
  • Evaluate the effectiveness and impact of their assessment system (on student learning, faculty development, and/or program improvement)
  • Integrate systems thinking into future projects and initiatives 

A Systems Approach to Assessment in Health Professions Education fosters the principles of systems thinking in health professions education. Systems thinking supports the evaluation and continuous improvement within academic health science institutions. 
In this intensive, in-person, 6-day program on the campus of Harvard Medical School, scholars will explore key concepts from systems theory and best practices in educational assessment, while actively applying them to their own projects. The program uses multiple pedagogical methods, including interactive presentations, case discussions, journal clubs, and small consulting groups guided by experts. The course also includes a series of focused mini-workshops on effective assessment tools and approaches, as well as individual faculty consultations. Course faculty include recognized experts in program evaluation, simulation, policy, change management, accreditation, quality improvement, equity initiatives, leadership, and related domains. Participants will return to their home institution with concrete plans to advance their projects as well new insights that can be broadly applied. 

In support of improving patient care, Harvard Medical School is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

The Harvard Medical School designates this live activity for a maximum of 32.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Nurse Practitioners and Registered Nurses
For the purpose of recertification, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board and American Nurses Credentialing Center accept AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ issued by organizations accredited by the ACCME (Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education). We would also suggest that learners check with their state licensing board to ensure they accept reciprocity with AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ for re-licensure.
Physician Assistants
The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) states that AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ are acceptable for continuing medical education requirements for recertification. We would also suggest that learners check with their state licensing board to ensure they accept reciprocity with AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ for re-licensure.

Canadian Accreditation

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada recognizes conferences and workshops held outside of Canada that are developed by a university, academy, hospital, specialty society or college as accredited group learning activities.
European Accreditation
The American Medical Association (AMA) has an agreement of mutual recognition of continuing medical education (CME) credit with the European Union of Medical Specialties (UEMS). Additional information regarding this agreement may be found here: https://www.uems.eu/areas-of-expertise/cme-cpd/eaccme

ABMS/ACGME Competencies 
This course is designed to meet the following American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)/Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) competencies:
·         Professionalism, Patient Care, Interpersonal and Communication Skills, Procedural Skills

IOM Competencies
This course is designed to meet the following Institute of Medicine Competencies: 
·         Work in Interdisciplinary Teams, Apply Quality Improvement, Work in Interdisciplinary Teams

Disclosure Policy
In accordance with the disclosure policy of the Medical School as well as standards set forth by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), course planners, speakers, and content reviewers have been asked to disclose any relationships they have to companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. In addition, faculty have been asked to list any off-label uses of pharmaceuticals and/or devices for investigational or non-FDA approved purposes that they plan to discuss
CME activities accredited by Harvard Medical School are offered solely for educational purposes and do not constitute any form of certification of competency. Practitioners should always consult additional sources of information and exercise their best professional judgment before making clinical decisions of any kind. 
Note: AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ is calculated based on submission of a preliminary agenda and may be subject to change.

Eric Holmboe, MD

Senior Vice-president for Milestones Development and Evaluation
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education

Brent Thoma, MD, MA

Associate Professor, Emergency Medicine

Mark Grichanik, PhD

Director of Program Evaluation, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Susan Farrell, MD, EdM

Associate Dean of Assessment and Evaluation
Harvard Medical School

Katrina Screen

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