Key features, benefits outlined in curriculum renewal update

November 19, 2015

As the year draws to a close, efforts continue to prepare for the fall 2016 launch of the IU School of Medicine’s new curriculum. Maureen Harrington, Ph.D., assistant dean of Medical Student Curriculum Phase I, provides an update on progress, highlighting the features and learner benefits and offering details on the school’s expanded partnership with MedHub to support the new curriculum.  

The IU School of Medicine's new curriculum, set to launch in the fall of 2016, will enhance the learning experience for students statewide. | Photo By Tim Yates

The new curriculum includes a number of noteworthy features. These include:

Integration of basic science and clinical experiences: New advanced science electives to help students explore foundational science concepts in the context of their chosen specialty. Elective content will build upon foundational science content acquired in Phase I; IUSM anticipates developing advanced science electives across all disciplines.

Enhanced support: Four-year advising and mentoring, transitions courses, and learning communities that connect students from all campuses. An intentional approach to mentoring and career development will prepare learners to make values-driven decisions about their careers, explore the actual experiences of physicians early, and choose a specialty that fits their strengths and lifestyle choices.

Interprofessional emphasis: Intentional learning experiences alongside peers in other healthcare fields.Through small-group instruction and additional opportunities to learn and work alongside students in other healthcare fields, IUSM learners will benefit from a collaborative approach to learning and build networks with others across campus.

Outcomes-based innovations: The nation’s first teaching EMR and an increased focus on improving quality and safety.

Six-in-four: Preparing future physicians for an ever-changing healthcare environment by extending six core competencies through all four years. IUSM has adopted the ACGME competencies: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice.

How will learners benefit?

The new curriculum will benefit IUSM students in a number of ways:

  • A breadth of opportunities – the best from each campus, including teaching modalities, integrated courses, clinical/scientific expertise and block scheduling
  • Earlier interaction with patients that puts learning in context
  • Self-directed and peer-to-peer engagement that sets the stage for lifelong learning
  • Enhanced preparation for residency
  • Curriculum tailored to support career goals
  • Block scheduling and subject immersion that promote knowledge retention

What is the status of IU School of Medicine’s curriculum renewal?

Curriculum renewal is on track. To support the fall 2016 launch, Phase 1, Year 1 course implementation teams are currently working on the sequencing of course content and identifying instructional modalities.

IUSM remains engaged in recruiting assistant deans for Phases 2 and 3. Soon, the Medical Student Education team will work with the Curriculum Council Steering Committee and Curriculum Council Clinical Component committee to form a Phase 2 planning and implementation team.

As a reminder, the new curriculum is divided into three phases: Phase 1 focuses on developing foundational science knowledge and its integration with clinical skills. Phase 2 is focused on developing clinical skills through training in broad clinical clerkships, and Phase 3 focuses on individualized career exploration and advanced clinical learning.

Does our current software support the new curriculum?

To better address important needs related to curriculum renewal, IUSM has expanded its partnership with MedHub. A best-in-class tool for managing student data and various processes and functions, MedHub will facilitate curricular mapping (current legacy curriculum and the new curriculum), course scheduling, conference attendance, distribution of curricula and evaluations. MedHub will help IUSM better serve learners by making it easier for faculty to enter grades, by creating smoother workflows and by preventing missing, duplicated or conflicting data.

Additionally through MedHub, IUSM campuses and programs will be able to “talk” to one another, creating efficiencies that mean improved administrative efforts and higher-quality reliable data. This ultimately enhances the school’s work toward re-accreditation and propels continuous quality improvement in all endeavors.

What are the implications of the new curriculum for all nine IUSM campuses?

Renewal efforts will help ensure that the best aspects of IUSM’s curriculum—teaching modalities, integrated courses, clinical/scientific expertise and block scheduling—are available to students on all campuses.

Understanding the basics

Why is IUSM renewing its curriculum?

IUSM is pursuing curriculum reform to enhance learners’ experience. The new curriculum incorporates emerging domains of medicine such as interprofessional education, population health and health care delivery science that aren’t included in the school’s current curriculum. The accelerated timing supports re-accreditation.

Who has been involved in the new curriculum design?

More than 200 faculty, staff and students have participated in Course Development Teams. The entire curriculum renewal effort is directed by the Curriculum Council Steering Committee, which is working closely with subcommittees, including the Basic Science Component Sub-Committee and Clinical Component Sub-Committee.

What is the timeline for launching the new curriculum?

To ensure a smooth transition, curriculum changes will be implemented a year at a time, beginning in August 2016 with the Class of 2020. This means this class will be enrolled in new foundational science courses and take part in related integration when they arrive next fall.  

How does the curriculum planning timeline affect current IUSM students?

While students in the Classes of 2016-2019 will continue with the legacy curriculum through graduation, they will have opportunities to engage with the new curriculum as changes and improvements are made.