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Summit Spotlight: Dr. James E.K. Hildreth on Empowering the Next Generation of Advocates

As president and chief executive officer of Meharry Medical College, Dr. James E.K. Hildreth teaches his students to consider innovative approaches that change the way care is delivered. From supporting new payment models to incorporating a team-based approach to treatment, Dr. Hildreth ensures that his students graduate with the knowledge and experience needed to approach care from a patient-centered perspective. Dr. Hildreth will speak during our upcoming National Summit on Advanced Illness Care, taking place in Denver, CO from Oct. 9-11, 2018. He will discuss his experience as a mentor and share creative strategies that attendees can use to engage with future advocates. Learn more about Dr. Hildreth below.

How would you define the problem you are addressing?

The overall problem is access to healthcare for a large portion of our population, especially those in rural areas. One of the ways to improve access is to make better use of advanced practitioners. Our knowledge of medicine has advanced to the point where there are some things that advanced practitioners can do confidently, safely, and more cheaply. One of the hurdles to doing so is making sure that physicians, who rightfully are the pinnacle of training and expertise in health care, can get behind this idea

What do you think is missing in the current discussion on this topic?

What is missing is really an intentional inclusion of this concept in the curriculum that we use to train physicians. Many medical schools, most in fact, have adapted their curriculum to include subject material related to patient-centered approaches to medicine. The idea is that people are taken care of by groups of individuals, including pharmacists and case managers. This concept places patients at the center of the care delivery process, rather than physicians. If we start to inform students in medical school of this practice while they’re being trained, it could have a serious impact on overall care for the American people.

What would you like the audience to take away from this session?

I would want them to fully understand what advanced practitioners, physician assistants and nurse practitioners can do and how, if we were to use them judiciously and strategically, we can increase access to primary care. We still need doctors to supervise these individuals, but it’s a great way to contribute to healthcare in a positive way. The call to action would be to make people aware of this tremendous resource we have, and to urge them to join the chorus of voices asking us to make better use of that resource.

What action, if any, would you like C-TAC to take on this topic?

To the extent that C-TAC agrees with this approach and sees the value in it, there could be conferences or workshops that are designed to inform people about this very important subject. The more people who are knowledgeable about this and understand its potential, the sooner we will see it manifested.

To learn more about the Summit and to register for the event, please click here.

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