MedU was formally founded in 2006 by a consortium of medical educators as a way to bring innovative methods to teach national clerkship curricula comprehensively and consistently. Today more than 40,000 students take MedU courses and complete over 1,000,000 virtual cases.
The idea for MedU grew out of work by Dartmouth professors Leslie H. Fall, M.D., and Norman Berman, M. D., who received a federal grant in 2000 to develop pediatric virtual patient cases for national use using a new web-based program called CASUS. They were driven by a number of forces:
- Significant changes in the health care delivery system that were (and are) profoundly straining traditional medical education at the same time the scientific knowledge and skills needed to practice medicine continue to expand and change.
- Medical teachers increasingly obligated to focus their time seeing a higher patient load at the expense of quality teaching time with students and residents.
- Shorter inpatient stays and increased outpatient care, which resulted in the dispersion of students to distant sites for their clinical apprenticeships, potentially resulting in disorganized and disparate education and isolated learning experiences.
When the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) instituted accreditation standards requiring that all medical schools provide and document consistent education for all medical students, regardless of training site or time of year, the need for virtual courses increased.
In 2003, the consortium of pediatric educators Drs. Fall and Berman assembled, launched the Computer-Assisted Learning in Pediatrics Program (CLIPP) with professors Michael Dell, M.D. (Case Western), and Sherilyn Smith, M.D. (University of Washington), as Editors-in-Chief. The new, web-based course comprehensively covered the Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics (COMSEP) core pediatric curriculum. In 2005, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) Northeast Group on Medical Education (NEGEA) awarded CLIPP the Innovation in Medical Student Education Award.
When the federal grants supporting CLIPP ended in 2006, Drs. Fall and Berman created MedU, a nonprofit dedicated to delivering the best health care education through collaborative development and research into innovative, high impact virtual teaching and learning methods.
Soon additional contributors joined MedU and new courses followed: Simulated Internal Medicine Patient Learning Experience (SIMPLE) in 2007 covering the curriculum outlined by the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM). In 2008, MedU launched Family Medicine Computer-Assisted Simulations for Educating Students (fmCASES) that delivers the family medicine curriculum as detailed by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM).
In 2009, the Web Initiative for Surgical Education of Medical Doctors (WISE-MD), founded by Tom Riles, M.D. at New York University, was added to the MedU suite of courses to support the surgery clerkship. In 2011, the Case-Based Online Radiology Education (CORE) course was added to MedU’s offerings.
In recent years, MedU has expanded with various cross-disciplinary courses: High Value Care (HVC), Course on Addiction and Recovery Education (CARE), Diagnostic Excellence (DX), Culture in Health Care, and Medical Home.
- STFM Innovative Program Award for fmCASES (2015)
- COMSEP Teaching/Education Award to Leslie Fall, M.D., and Norm Berman, M.D., for CLIPP (2012)
- Louis N Panaro, Educational Program Development Award for Best New Teaching Resource from CDIM to Valerie Lang, M.D., James Nixon, M.D., Regina Kovach, M.D., and Jennifer Bierman, M.D., for SIMPLE (2009)
- STFM President’s Award for fmCASES (2009)
- Outstanding Teaching Program Award from the Academic Pediatric Association (APA) for CLIPP (2008)
- Innovation in Clinical Medical Education Award from the Northeast Group on Educational Affairs (NEGEA) of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) (2005)