With a passion for medical education and an unwavering commitment to health care administration, Dr. Steven Craig (76BS 79MD) is helping shape the face of medical education in today’s ever changing health care landscape and providing exciting educational opportunities for Iowa’s students.
As Executive Director of the Des Moines Area Medical Education Consortium—a non-profit corporation with exclusive academic affiliation with the University of Iowa—he coordinates the partnership between the university’s undergraduate, graduate, and residency programs with five Des Moines health care member institutions.
Dr. Craig also serves as an assistant dean for student affairs and curriculum at the university’s regional campus in Des Moines and is an internal medicine faculty physician at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, the VA Central Iowa Health Care System, and Broadlawns Medical Center.
According to Dr. Craig, “The Des Moines Consortium has always focused on providing students with an excellent educational experience that they find both challenging and rewarding—whether they are training in one of our five member institutions or out in our community settings.”
Teaching the next generation of medical professionals requires constant innovation and change. In 2014, the ‘New Horizons Curriculum’ of the UI Carver College of Medicine was initiated in when the Class of 2018 began their studies. Among the many changes, the curriculum calls for students to study the foundational (basic) sciences for 18 months and then begin clinical training after the first one and a half years of medical school (rather than two years, as in the old curriculum).
This first group of students began the year of core clinical training in January 2016. Des Moines branch campus educators, under the direction of Dr. Craig, worked closely with Iowa City educational leaders to prepare for this change. Their education includes new methods of re-visiting and expanding instruction in the foundational sciences organized around common clinical conditions the students will be expected to encounter during the year.
After students complete the year of core clinical training, they pursue 18 months of what is being called ‘Advanced Clinical Pathway Training’—where they choose one of several pathways depending on their career plans. Dr. Craig is currently exploring ways to offer students a chance to complete Advanced Pathway training in Des Moines. This part of their training highlights the strengths of the Des Moines branch campus, including outstanding primary care training, excellent opportunities in patient safety and quality improvement, strong simulation and teamwork instruction, and health care advocacy training.
His goal is to build on the consortium’s current success while looking for new ways to educate future students. “Our whole purpose is to support and promote high quality graduate and undergraduate medical education while helping meet the health care needs of Iowans through coordination and collaboration in medical education.”
Dr. Craig’s long-term dream is to develop an expanded health sciences campus in Des Moines training students from a variety of University of Iowa health professions colleges, ultimately, expanding inter-professional training opportunities in central Iowa.
In June, Dr. Craig will receive the highest honor that the UI Carver College of Medicine bestows upon its graduates—the Distinguished Alumni Award for Service. He is among a select group who are influencing the delivery of health care, changing the course of medical education, and conducting groundbreaking research.
Indeed, Dr. Craig and his colleagues are already succeeding in their efforts to provide innovative education and training that is leading the country in developing health care teams ready for the future practice of medicine—and they’ve only just begun.