Greater course integration means that students will study integrated topics for concentrated periods of time rather than taking multiple courses at once—for example, in the “Invaders and Defenders” course they will learn in an integrated fashion about infectious diseases, the immune system, microbial biology, and other related topics. Some topic areas, such as pharmacology and pathology, will be threaded throughout all courses.
Students experience fewer lectures, more active learning in small groups, and greater focus on the independent lifelong learning skills they will need in a rapidly changing healthcare environment.
The 2015 WWAMI Curriculum changes increased the time our students spend learning to care for—and from—patients. This will occur through a structured, progressive, and integrated approach that combines early and ongoing clinical skills training with guided work with patients under the supervision of experienced, talented faculty educators, and experiences with practicing primary care physicians in actual community practices.
Themes important to becoming a physician are integrated throughout the four-year curriculum, such as professionalism, primary care, diversity, health equity, communication, scholarship and more.
The curriculum has a continuous curriculum improvement approach—with constant monitoring of student and course performance, and ongoing improvement as we learn about what works best for students and what can be further strengthened.
The curriculum is an innovative, competency-based model with three integrated phases: the Foundations Phase covers both scientific and clinical foundations of medicine; the Patient Care Phase offers clinical training; and the Explore and Focus Phase helps students to explore areas of interest and future career options.
Course content in the Foundations Phase involves more active learning approaches. Clinical correlations are built into all parts of the basic science curriculum to ensure students understand and assimilate the clinical context and how clinical and scientific knowledge interrelate and build on one another.
During the Explore and Focus Phase, students will have flexibility in pursuing their goals through advanced patient care training, electives and other experiences to help them build on their medical school experience and transition successfully to residency training.
Implementation of the new curriculum began with UW School of Medicine’s first-year students in the fall of 2015.