School adopts new, integrated curriculum
students entering school this fall will encounter a curriculum
that has been revamped, offering them the opportunity to take
a mix of classes in basic science, clinical science and electives
throughout their four years, rather than studying these independent
of one another.
will also attend smaller classes and fewer lectures, devote more
time to independent study and experience patient contact earlier
in their academic careers.
"We're moving from a content-oriented curriculum that emphasized
lectures to case-based, small-group, interactive instruction,"
School Dean Robert M. Carey told the Board
of Visitors' Health Affairs Committee Sept. 7. "We want
to encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning,
because, once they're doctors, they'll be doing a lot of problem-solving."
of the new medical school curriculum
Integrate and coordinate basic science and clinical experiences
throughout the four years.
Allow time for creative expression in the basic sciences,
in clinical medicine and in service to the community while
including elective opportunities to explore general medicine,
specialty medicine and research.
Achieve a balance of lecture, problem-based learning, patient
experiences and blocks of open study time.
Create time in the early years for frequent patient contact;
integrate patient experiences with the clinical sciences.
by Dr. Donald J. Innes Jr., associate dean for curriculum, a 10-member
committee of Medical School faculty has spent the past year reviewing,
evaluating and revising the cuarriculum. Two other committees
have focused on curricula in clinical medicine and basic science,
reporting back to the first committee.
built consensus for this change, and it's exciting that all the
basic science departments are working together with the clinical
departments," Carey said.
year, first-year medical students will attend 50 percent fewer
lectures, devoting three afternoons each week to self-directed
study. All are taking "The Practice of Medicine," an
interdisciplinary course whose content includes professionalism,
patient interviewing, physical diagnosis, the history of medicine
and biomedical ethics. Each class has six students and two faculty
medicine and basic science will be less segregated than formerly.
In the traditional medical school curriculum, the first two years
are devoted to basic science, the third to clinical science and
the fourth to electives.
the new U.Va. curriculum, all three areas are covered throughout
the student's course of study, with an emphasis on principles
of medicine in the first two years, on clinical science in the
third and on electives in the fourth. Some classes will be team-taught
by faculty who specialize in basic and clinical science, so students
will "get the sense they can convert science into something
useful at the bedside," Carey said.
curriculum is a blend of traditional medical curriculum and several
[new] elements. We kept what we thought was best and added things
we thought we needed," he said.
that's what students are looking for: the Medical School used
the new curriculum in its marketing when recruiting this year,
and a larger proportion of students than usual who were accepted
chose to come here, he said.