Curriculum reform underway, on track

August 20, 2015

Alongside active preparation for a November 2016 site visit from the LCME re-accreditation committee, IU School of Medicine is in the process of revising the undergraduate medical curriculum. The curriculum reform began by soliciting input from over 250 faculty, staff and learners from across the school.  Most recently, the Curriculum Council Steering Committee (CCSC) unanimously endorsed the plan to roll out the new curriculum in the fall of 2016.

Recently, Bradley Allen, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for Medical Student Education (MSE) shared his thoughts on the curriculum planning process.

New curriculum at IU School of Medicine will roll out in the fall of 2016. | Photo By TIM YATES

What are the goals of the new curriculum?

As the delivery of quality health care becomes more robust and complex, we’ve found that we need to train medical students to work in an ever-evolving environment. Our new curriculum is designed to prepare our students to practice medicine in a team-based, interdisciplinary setting. Certainly, our current curriculum prepares excellent physicians. With this new curriculum, we are changing to meet the changing times.

How will the new curriculum be different?

The new curriculum was designed around the following four tenets:

1)      Integrate clinical experience and basic sciences, including behavioral sciences, across all disciplines and throughout all four years of the students’ education, beginning early in the first year.

2)      Promote educational activities that foster self-directed learning and growth.

3)      Encourage the development of interprofessional (among physicians and other members of the health care team) learning experiences

4)      Comprehensively teach and assess the six IUSM competencies throughout all years.

How will the new curriculum be structured?

The curriculum is divided into three phases: Phase 1 focuses on developing foundational science knowledge and its integration with clinical skills. Phase 2 focuses on developing clinical skills through training in broad clinical clerkships, and Phase 3 focuses on individualized career exploration and advanced clinical learning.  We’ll also include new transitions courses designed to encourage self-directed learning and prepare our learners for each sequential phase.

Which phase are we focused on now?

Phase 1 course implementation teams have been formed and are now receiving details about their work. We are currently recruiting assistant deans for Phases 2 and 3. In the coming weeks, the Medical Student Education team will be working with the CCSC and Curriculum Council Clinical Component committee (CCCC) to form a Phase 2 planning and implementation team.

Are we on track?

We’d always love to have more time to plan. But, we are excited to get our new assistant deans and implementation teams in place to shape the curriculum in a way that engages all the right stakeholders.

What is the timeline for creating and rolling out the new curriculum?

The changes will be implemented a year at a time, beginning with the Class of 2020, in order to ensure a smooth transition. That means the Class of 2020 will see new foundational science courses and related integration when they arrive in 2016.

Students in the Classes of 2015-2019 will continue with the current (legacy) curriculum through graduation. However, these students will have opportunities to engage with some of the new curriculum as we pilot our changes and implement improvements informed by the overall process of LCME re-accreditation.