The “drivers” of the curriculum play a critical role in the development of the School’s longitudinal themes and in the ongoing learning experiences of the students. A “driver” is a force largely beyond an individual’s control that exerts pressure on the evolution of medical practice and thus must be dealt with constructively in the curriculum.
Many drivers affect medicine, and the School has identified five which it believes are of key importance as it prepares students for the practice of medicine in the years 2020 and beyond. By directly addressing and responding to these drivers, the School aims to create, through an integrated approach, a curriculum that positively and effectively prepares its students.
The School’s five drivers are defined below:
1. The Continuum of Care: The care of the patient across the continuum - from wellness through illness and among acute, chronic and episodic interactions with the medical community - in an integrated, comprehensive, and patient-centered manner is increasingly necessary and will continue to be driven by many growing societal forces.
2. Decision Making and Uncertainty: Scientific and technological advances can potentially aid in diagnostics and therapeutics and the dissemination of information. Despite being developed in large part to reduce uncertainty and improve decision making accuracy, these advances paradoxically contribute to the growing burden and importance of properly addressing decision making and functioning confidently under uncertainty in the context of patient-centered care.
3. Social Context/Responsibility: Physicians have a responsibility to understand a patient as a person with an illness. Students must develop a deeper understanding of the full scope of determinants of health, including the importance of becoming culturally competent physicians with a sense of responsibility that extends beyond an individual patient to society at large. As the population grows in complexity, number, and diversity, and in the context of ever increasing societal and economic pressures and an environment of ever increasing global demand and competition for limited resources, these forces place increasing pressures on health care delivery and promotion and maintenance of wellness.
4. Quality and Effectiveness: Although the definition and scope of quality in medicine and provision of health care remain under debate, effective and safe physician performance and behavior require more than simply possessing knowledge and technical ability. It is increasingly important that physicians demonstrate the ability to work in inter-professional teams to deliver “the right care at the right time.”
5. Scientific Discovery: As understanding of the scientific basis of health and disease expands exponentially, the need for scientific rigor and lifelong application of new knowledge to patient care and the translation of that knowledge from the bench to the bedside will continue to grow in importance as a major driver in health care and medical education. The School’s curriculum is designed to ensure that science is learned, applied, and retained in the delivery of health care. Fostering a spirit of inquiry is core to the School’s success in this domain.
The curriculum and learning experiences that address the drivers are interwoven throughout all four years of the educational program. Through its curricular development, mapping, and assessment processes, the School continually monitors its learning experiences to ensure that these drivers are addressed and assessed in the First 100 Weeks and the Second 100 Weeks. In addition, the longitudinal clinical experiences throughout the four years incorporate attention to these drivers and consideration of their effects on patient care outcomes.