Einstein Reports on Competency Based Admissions

Following the Association of American Medical Colleges’ recommendation, medical schools are shifting to competency based admissions (CBA). Einstein was an early adopter, utilizing CBA since the 2014-15 admissions season. Now, members of Einstein’s admissions committee have published a report on their experiences developing and implementing the new standards in Medical Education Online.

Noreen Kerrigan
Noreen Kerrigan
Einstein’s new admissions competencies clearly establish that leadership and communication skills, commitment to service, maturity and compassion are critical to being a good doctor. They also provide flexibility in demonstrating scientific knowledge, rather than strictly requiring traditional metrics and coursework.

“To be a successful physician, medical students need to do more than just meet requirements on a checklist,” said first author Noreen Kerrigan, M.P.A., associate dean for admissions. “They need maturity, a strong commitment to practicing compassionate medicine and many other traits and skills that were not always easy to capture using the traditional criteria.”

Read Noreen Kerrigan’s blog on CBA

Siobhan M. Dolan, M.D., M.P.H.
Siobhan M. Dolan, M.D., M.P.H.
The admissions committee’s mission statement also stresses the goal of enhancing the diversity of the student body, a commitment made at Einstein’s founding. The committee emphasized that creating a diverse environment benefits the education of all students, helps develop a workforce more representative of our patient population, and fulfills the social justice imperative of offering students of all backgrounds the opportunity to become physicians. Implementing the new CBA also brought to light three areas of diversity that previously had not been considered explicitly. “We’re now making a special effort to recognize applicants who are economically disadvantaged, have served in the military or identify themselves as LGBTQ [lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer],” said Siobhan M. Dolan, M.D., M.P.H., senior author on the paper, professor of clinical obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health at Einstein, and attending physician in reproductive genetics, department of obstetrics & gynecology and women's health, at Montefiore.

The next step will be to track the CBA initiative’s outcomes. The admissions group will analyze the composition of medical students entering Einstein, evaluate their performance as they move through their medical education, and monitor their residency and post-residency career choices.

The Medical Education Online article is titled “Implementing Competency Based Admissions at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.” Other authors were Myles Akabas, M.D., Ph.D.; Thomas Betzler, M.D.; Maria Castaldi, M.D.; Mary Kelly, Ph.D.; Adam Levy, M.D.; Michael Reichgott, M.D., Ph.D.; and Louise Ruberman, M.D., all with Einstein and Montefiore. Other contributors from the admissions committee were Deborah Campbell, M.D.; Harris Goldstein, M.D.; Robert Marion, M.D.; and Thomas McDonald, M.D.


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