Latha Chandran, M.D., M.P.H., executive dean and founding chair of the Department of Medical Education at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been named vice chair of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), which provides a full continuum of assessments of health professionals.
“I am delighted to serve in this role at such an exciting time for the NBME,” said Dr. Chandran, who was elected to the two-year term at NBME’s virtual annual meeting on March 25. An NBME member since 2003, she was previously treasurer and member of the executive board. “Now, NBME is transitioning through the COVID-19 pandemic, while looking at digital transformation and governance renewal to continue to deliver high-quality assessments that protect the health of the public,” she said.
Throughout its 106-year history, the NBME has continually refined its measurement and assessment tools, said Dr. Chandran. For instance, among the board’s current initiatives is looking at diversity and inclusion to be sure the examination questions are broadly representative and are fair to all students and practitioners.
“One of the newest initiatives at the NBME has been a shift to assessing physician competencies in addition to medical knowledge,” said Dr. Chandran. “Rather than see how well a doctor has memorized information, we want to see how well that knowledge can be applied to patient care.”
The NBME is also looking at how its assessments should reflect the impact of technology, such as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to provide diagnostic capabilities. “Advanced technology has great potential for improving outcomes,” she said. “But we also want our physicians to possess humanistic skills, such as being able to listen to their patients and relate to their experiences, beliefs and cultural values, in order to provide compassionate, supportive care.”
In recent years, the NBME has added questions relating to the nation’s health systems with support from a grant from the American Medical Association. “Our physicians need to understand the financial and operational aspects of medicine, such as value-based care, as well as the science,” said Dr. Chandran. “In fact, understanding health systems is one of the pillars of the Miller School’s NextGenMD curriculum.”
Dr. Chandran is the second Miller School educator elected to the NBME board. Laurence B. Gardner, M.D., former executive dean for education and policy and now senior advisor to the dean, completed four terms as chair in 2011.
Founded in 1915, the NBME creates assessment tools to help health professionals across the care continuum enhance and demonstrate their knowledge – both in school and while practicing. Together with the Federation of State Medical Boards, NBME develops and manages the United States Medical Licensing Examination®, while meeting the needs of educators and learners globally with assessment products.