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Medical Education
Bridges Curriculum

Bridges May 2015 Update: The UCSF 49

On March 6, faculty members from across UCSF came together at the Clinical Sciences Bridges Retreat to work on the clinical elements of the Bridges Curriculum. To jumpstart the activities, Vice Dean Catherine Lucey introduced the participants to a set of guideposts known as the UCSF 49.



The UCSF 49 is a curated collection of 49 core syndromes and disorders that will anchor students' journeys through the Bridges Curriculum. More than a simple list, each syndrome on the UCSF 49 is a cluster of related diseases so that “students build robust neural networks for clinical decision making,” explained Dean Lucey. The UCSF 49 is also tailor-made for the communities that UCSF serves—a dynamic tool responsive to the changing needs of our populations.

Crowdsourcing: Uniquely UCSF

Months before participants gathered at the Clinical Sciences Retreat for a “first-round” pick of the UCSF 49, campus leaders submitted hundreds of contenders for the top spots. Twenty-five clusters emerged after this rigorous process of polling, including the top causes of morbidity and mortality both locally and globally. Additionally, the top 25 clusters drew on special expertise centered here, making them uniquely UCSF. The retreat activities transformed hundreds of suggestions into a fast-moving debate. Participants divided into teams representing the 11 districts of San Francisco, each with unique community needs and conditions to rank. After many rounds of deliberation and advocacy, they arrived at 24 top syndromes or diseases. Finally, districts argued their cases to recover lower ranked conditions, which were put to a wider vote. The lively debates sparked discussions about what we teach and why, laying the groundwork for curriculum development phases ahead.

Ties That Bind

The new medical mind should be a series of growing, connecting, hyperlinked Wikipedia pages, according to Dr. Gupreet Dhaliwal. An evolving mental model fosters physicians who are dynamic thinkers, continuously optimizing and integrating their knowledge into larger, connected frameworks for approaching health. In the Bridges Curriculum, diabetes is not an isolated medical condition; rather it is also a window into understanding chronic disease, health systems, and costs. Similarly, pediatrics will teach our students the values pediatricians embrace, and include a holistic approach to patients’ families and lives. By building and refining students' mental Wikipedia pages, the Bridges Curriculum and the UCSF 49 will forge networks that link symptoms to conditions to clinical values to inquiry.

Next Steps for the UCSF 49

The proposed list of 49 core syndromes and disorders will be circulated for feedback from the broader UCSF community. Join us in finalizing the UCSF 49!