A message from Dean Schwinn

Preparing for the Future of Medical Education at the Carver College of Medicine

Fifteen years ago, acting on a detailed review of its curriculum, the College of Medicine implemented innovative programs that catapulted it to the leading edge of the medical education curve. By all objective measures that new curriculum was and remains excellent.

So, why undertake curriculum review and change now?

New medical knowledge has doubled every three years in the last decade. By one estimate the whole of medical knowledge will double every 73 days by the year 2020. This is a breathtaking prediction and reason enough for change!

The accelerating rate of discovery clearly means that science can no longer be relegated solely to the first and second years of medical school (more or less), never to be revisited again. At the same time, relegating patient interaction to the last two years of medical school (more or less) is making less and less sense. Patients and science are the essential ingredients of medical education.

Lee Hood, a well known systems biologist, talks about 4Ps, emphasizing that the future of medical practice, which is upon us, will be personalized (i.e. genome based); predictive (based on genome information); preventive (risk reducing); and participatory (reliant on patient involvement). The knowledge required for the future interdisciplinary integration of genomic information into the day-to-day prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease must be imparted to our students.

Finally, a century after the Flexner Report that revolutionized medical education in North America, the AMA and the Carnegie Foundation (who hired Abraham Flexner in 1909) make the case once again that it is time for change, not just incremental change, but fundamental change.

Our curriculum review began in November of 2010. In the first phase, the goal was to identify the ASK --- Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge essential for practice in 2020. Four committees met regularly to develop proposals for change that were shared at a fall educational retreat. From that retreat and through subsequent college wide forums, a new curriculum has been developed and 2 of 3 strands began with the incoming students the fall of 2013.

The Carver College of Medicine is committed to training new physicians who aspire to make their patients' health care and quality of life core values. Our innovative curriculum, which is integrated across all 4 years and permits increased individualization for the learners, will produce outstanding physicians.