New Grant Will Develop Interprofessional Curriculum to Improve Medical Diagnoses

Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation awards $477,400 to the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine


November 2, 2016 - The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) has received a three-year grant for $477,400 from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation to develop and pilot test an interprofessional, competency-based, consensus curriculum that supports the goal of improving patient safety by reducing diagnostic error. The grant, which is part of the Foundation’s mission to broaden and improve health professional education, reinforces SIDM’s vision to create a world where no patients are harmed by diagnostic error.

“Healthcare professionals all learn the basics of clinical reasoning, but at most schools, believe it or not, there is no course on diagnosis or how to avoid diagnostic error,” said Mark L. Graber, MD, FACP, president and founder of SIDM. “By working in teams and refining the education and training provided to clinicians, we can make great strides in improving patient safety.”

Diagnosis is one of the most difficult and complex tasks in health care. Error in diagnosis is a system-wide issue that has received little national attention, yet it affects an estimated one in 20 patients, roughly 12 million Americans each year in outpatient settings alone.

The grant will serve as the basis for producing clinicians who are both competent and aligned with the new interprofessional curriculum. To achieve this goal, SIDM will identify a limited set of core content areas and the associated competencies relevant to clinical reasoning, diagnosis, and diagnostic error, and make program recommendations that help learners progress toward competency in this domain.

“Improving diagnosis is one of the most urgent issues facing health care today,” said George E. Thibault, MD, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. “We believe that SIDM’s efforts will help to better equip clinicians so they can make more accurate and safe diagnoses in the future, which will improve the health of the public.”

Diagnostic error is the leading cause of medical malpractice claims in the U.S., and has been estimated by research studies to cause 40,000-80,000 deaths annually. One in every 10 diagnoses is wrong or delayed.

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About the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM)
SIDM is a nonprofit organization whose members include clinicians and other healthcare professionals, patients and every stakeholder in the diagnostic process. SIDM sponsors the annual Diagnostic Error in Medicine conference, held this year on November 6-8, 2016 in Los Angeles. In 2015, SIDM established the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis, a collaboration of 28 leading healthcare organizations.

About the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation
Since 1930, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation has worked to improve health care in the United States. Founded by Kate Macy Ladd in memory of her father, prominent businessman Josiah Macy Jr., the Foundation supports projects that broaden and improve health professional education. It is now the only national foundation solely dedicated to this mission. Visit the Macy Foundation at

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With support from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, SIDM is working with an inter-professional group of experts to develop a consensus curriculum around diagnosis. The goal of this effort is to improve patient safety by reducing diagnostic error through new education and training standards.